5:30am found me in my popup blind with my neighbor-friend awaiting daylight. It looked to be a beautiful spring morning and the toms were already gobbling! I had a cameraman at my side and my bow in-hand. Hopefully the turkeys and read our script!
We called to them a little while they were still roosted. They showed no interest. Distant gobbles told us they went the other way. So we waited.
About a half hour later, my buddy struck out some more calls on the slate. GOBBLE-GOBBLE!! And closer!! They were on their way over it seemed.
Ten minutes later we saw our first bird of the morning. It passed through an opening too quickly for me to tell what it was, but it’s path looked to be bringing it within bow range shortly. My suspicions were confirmed a couple minutes later as 5 red-heads popped up over the ridge at 25 yards. One of them was fanned out, spitting and drumming. “Here we go!” I thought. The camera was rolling as I readied my bow. My heart started to race.
But a few more steps identified all those red heads as jakes. I let them pass as they strutted and gobbled just ten yards from us. They hung around just a few minutes and started working off to the east, when a couple large fans caught my eye…”Toms!!” There they were…the big boys. THREE of them!
They decided they didn’t like that blob of a blind sitting right on their strutting grounds. Although in shotgun range at 50 yards, I had no bow shots. The blind blends in pretty well, but with a rising sun behind us, I think we were silhouetted a bit. They didn’t spook but they weren’t coming any closer. Hens that they were with dictated their every move. Eventually they moved off and we spent the next hour watching glimpses of them through the woods from 70-100 yards. Occasionally we would call to try to get their interest in case they or the hens lost interest and wanted to check out something new.
As time passed, the birds seemed to grow more comfortable with the popup blind. Soon the jakes started coming over to check out the sweet calling and before we knew it they were in our laps. Next came the hens and you KNOW what that means! Here came the big boys!
With so many birds around, I couldn’t get the windows of the Double Bull closed on the other side to open the opposite side without being silhouetted inside. They were behind us now and we’d simply have to wait for them to come around in front of us.
Five minutes later the 3 big toms were 10 yards from our blind, but they were still sealed off from us. We waited. The hens had already walked out in front of us at 15 yards. It was just a matter of time and I’d be posing for pics with my latest archery turkey!!
As if they weren’t close enough, the birds started walking even closer. At five yards I almost felt I could shoot them from the hip! They started walking single file around the left side of the blind. Me being left-handed meant I had to shift way over in my seat to get a shot angle. The blind window opening on that side wasn’t huge, so I picked my opening and drew. Seeing me draw, my cameraman knew he wasn’t on the bird and would have to raise the camera up over the window. He had had to resituate on the ground in front of me since I had to twist way over to the left. I settled my sight picture on the opening 2 feet ahead of the bird and waited, but as he stepped forward the bird picked up the camera movement above the window and quickly ran back a few feet and to the left. I had no more shot!
The birds knew something was up so they would come no closer. They circled around behind us again and evacuated behind us to our right. We’d been oh so close!
Later we called the jakes back on top of us and the big boys even came back in to about 45 yards in the thick woods, but still no shots. This was a great action-packed morning and we’re feeling pretty good about future hunts here….