Double Spurred Spring Gobbler
By Dave Conrad – Senior Fielld Evaluator
May 10, 2010 – 8:28:29 AM
|A BowTech and BullHead makes for one dead Tom.
The good Lord has blessed me with many great years of hunting. I hope that he continues to bless me with many more. Each hunt is unique even though some start off with the same routine. I guess that is what is so intriguing about each one. You never know what is going to happen and when. I say that because the opening day of Ohio Turkey season started off, well different from all others.
Because the previous week I had been on the road at my primary job, I wanted to see my two older children off to school. And besides, opening day usually finds the gobbler’s henned up so it wasn’t until 8:30 that I finally was set up in my blind. The property I was hunting had a track record of not getting action until 10 as I have taken 3 birds previously between 9:30 and 11:00. I saw one hen on my way sneaking from the woods up a small incline entering the field. On the opposite side the field leveled off as a fence line ran parallel with the field. I positioned my blind facing to the north with the east side closed so that the sun wouldn’t shine in and reveal any movement. The back of the blind was up against the tree lined fence row with a narrow deer trail that cut through it to my immediate left.
I set my decoy out, peg leg junior two (PLJ2), as I call him. My taxidermist did an excellent job with this jake in full strut. His name comes from a previous decoy we used with strings tied to two wooden pegs for legs. We utilized the strings in order to give the legs 90 degrees of movement. On this updated version we replaced the strings with a servo motor and controlled the movement via a radio transmitter, the same type you use for remote controlled cars. It gives it about 45 degrees of movement and hopefully will help lure a dominant Tom within bow range.
Seemed as though the morning was starting off within the blind on a bad note. I set up my video camera and hit the power switch, nothing. Seems like the battery that I thought I had charged the night before had different plans of taking the morning off. Disgusted I put the camera back down contemplating packing up and heading home. Well my passion for my favorite hobby would not let me do that. With my BowTech in my hand I readied an arrow. I wanted to try these broadheads and see what kind of job they did. They flew perfectly from my tuned bow and I had confidence they wouldn’t let me down.
I knew this ridge was used as a strutting zone so I decided to stay put. After two hours I still hadn’t detected anything close but I knew the field gave good visibility to any Tom looking for a hen. At 10:45 I gave a few excited clucks hoping to draw in anything within listening distance of the ridge. Ten minutes later I heard something strange but I couldn’t tell from what direction it was coming; only that it was close. I scanned to the right down an old logging road running through the woods away from the field, nothing. I scanned across the field in front of me through the opening of the blind to reveal nothing. A quick peek out the left of the blind and I thought I may have been hearing things. I turn my attention back out the front of the blind only to be surprised by a gobbler in full strut bearing down on my decoy. He somehow had made it through the fence line to the immediate left and behind my blind. When I peeked out the left side I was actually looking right over him focusing up the ridge. The noise that I had heard was him coming through the fence row. Now I know why hunters such as Robert Hoague and Wade Nolan wear Pro Ears. I would have never been surprised like that had I had a pair of them on.
Well I swung into action but I was too late for my decoy as the Tom jumped and spurred PLJ2 knocking him over hard and to the ground. As he stood there over his now pummeled victim I took careful aim and released. As the arrow made contact I immediately knew I had made a mistake. The Bullhead broadhead is intended to be used for either a head or neck shot. When I settled the pin I instinctively aimed for the kill spot on the body thinking I was using a standard fixed broadhead. The adrenaline rush and instinctive reaction should of cost me this bird but the broadhead was able to penetrate enough to break the Tom’s back putting him down immediately. I quickly jumped from the blind as I thought the bird may have just been stunned because the broadhead seemed to have bounced off. My quick arrival revealed the Tom was down for the count.
Upon inspection of this mature tom I was excited to see that I had taken a rare double spurred bird. I immediately tagged the bird, took a few pictures and was off to the nearest check in station for weight, spur and beard measurements. The gobbler weighed in at 21.6 pounds, sported a 10.5 inch beard and carried spurs of 1.25″ and .25″ respectfully on each leg. Surprisingly the bird sported a third nub on the left leg as well.
My success over the last few years has increased immensely due to incorporating a moving decoy into my arsenal. That is not to say that stationary birds won’t work as you can see by this hunt, but I would also like to point out that the lifelike decoy was the secret to the success. Good visibility is another key; my placement of this decoy on the down sloping side of a ridge gave great visibility to any bird coming into the field. The logging road on the opposite side allowed any bird coming into the lane also full view of my decoy. Random movement will also help in attracting birds. Although turkeys are known for great eyesight, movement helps them lock into your position quicker especially if on the edge of a ridge. So if you have never tried hunting over a motion decoy while bowhunting for turkeys, I highly recommend it.
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