Fred Bags His Rio Grande


Fred Bags His Rio Grande

By Robert Hoague

Apr 17, 2008 – 5:40:55 AM


NOTE: this bowhunt is on video in at Fred’s Rio.

Beginning with the first outing, Fred Lutger hunted hard for a Rio Grande wild turkey gobbler at the Wade Nolan Writers Camp. I hung in there with video duty.

Our efforts had called up about 20 wild turkeys a day for the first two days — with jakes and hens being the only ones within bow range . The 3rd morning and afternoon was right on course.

7:00 rolled by and twenty minutes later Fred yelped and clucked to a distant gobble.  At this point it was a routine for any and all hearable gobbles.


Gooble !!!

Yes … the second gobble was closer.

Fred went to work with the mouth call and the slate. The gobbles came closer yet. I was already videoing.

Fred Lutger waits for the longbeard gobbler with his BowTech General at the ready.

Sometimes you just know that a gobbler is gonna come in for real. This was one of those times.

Fred saw him through a tiny slit in the back side of the bind’s mesh window. A huge strutter with a fat, long beard. When Fred told me he has seen the bird I quitely asked which side of the blind the Tom was on. Fred’s side was the answer.

Through the narrow mesh opening I saw the gobbler came into my view and lifed the camera and tripod up. But couldn’t see the bird in the view finder.

But he was on the move and I caught up with him as he walked on the opposite side of some nearby brush, now within 20 yards of us.

Here comes the strutting gobbler.

He had his eye on our mounted hen and jake decoys. And my video view finder was locked on him.

When he got to the two-track ranch road where the decoys were the gobbler turned left and started toward them.

The longbeard gobbler steps into the clear.

Fred drew and I framed up the Tom as he walked in front of us in full strut.

Fred released.

A frame from the video camera. The arrow is on the way.

Fred’s arrow caught on video as it passes through the gobbler.

The hit was good … but the gobbler flew.

The gobbler takes to the air.

And I held on him and zoomed back to keep him in the frame as he dissapeared through the trees.

The gobbler flys into the trees.

A minute later Fred checked his arrow. Blood was on it full length and we took up the trail at once. Blood was spattered around where the arrow made its impact and more blood spots were on the ground as the gobbler took to the air. And more was visible as we walked through the trees in the direction he had gone.

We quickly came to a fence that ran parrallel to the ranch road. I carefully combed the area between the fence and the road and Fred crossed the fence and started looking — in the thickest patch of cedar trees imaginable.

Fred realizes the gobbler has flown into the cedar trees across the fence.

Daylight faded and we reconnoitered.  We hadn’t found the gobbler.

Back at the lodge we discussed the situation with Billy Don. He said that his  Jack Russell tracking dog Tater had never tracked a turkey before. We decided to wait until the morning so we could see what we were doing in that thick jungle of cedar limbs.

Morning came…

Mike Jordan of ATSCO went with us to help with the search. Tater smelled the ground where the blood and feathers were. And he, with Billy Don in tow, immediately started working the trail with a purpose.

I saw a buzzard land in the cedars and walked toward it.

Robert !!!

Billy Don called out my name. Tater had found Fred’s longbeard. I went toward the sound and found Mike Jordan and Billy Don.

Mike Jordan pointed out some blood on the ground and rocks. Fred was a few yards ahead, hidden from me by cedar limbs. I saw a turkey leg laying on the ground and peered through the limbs to see Fred and the bird.

It was a real shocker.

Fred Lutger at the site of the recovery of his gobbler.

Wild hog tracks on the ground told the story. The hog had found the gobbler and … well … ate him down to the bones and feathers.

No fried turkey breasts tonight.

This bowhunt is on video in at Fred’s Rio and it shows this hunt from before Fred’s shot right to the live recovery. Go to Fred’s Rio…


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