Hunting during the full moon sucks! The past four days of pursuit the rough and tumble landscapes of south central Missouri had given credence to that fact. We were hunting with Jim and Darlene Wilson of Ozark Mountain Outfitters and the dire circumstances were aided and abetted by a bumper crop of acorns and weather that was just a shade too warm. None of our hunters were seeing big bucks, although a yearling buck and a couple of does had been taken. One of our hunters had taken a turkey, but in general the hunting was very poor.
I had passed on a doe the first morning that had grazed within fifty yards and than a flock of turkeys that had come as close as thirty yards. In both incidences I was not comfortable taking such long shots. Although the crossbow I was using, a Parker Hornet Extreme, had preformed faultlessly on the range by slamming arrows into the bull's-eye on every shot all the way out to fifty yards, shooting at a living target was a little bit more serious.
On Thursday morning, I watched as a yearling buck wandered down the trail and passed the ladderstand I occupied. All that befell the unsuspecting creature was being shot with a digital camera a hundred times. By the time Friday rolled around, I was getting antsy and impatient wanting to put the Hornet into action just to see how it would perform while taking live game.
I was dropped off well before daylight at a little food plot surrounded by heavy timber. As dawn arrived from the east, it overpowered the fleeing darkness and blossomed into full daylight. The morning passed quickly as I sat atop my perch wondering if I would even get a chance to shoot this fine crossbow that patiently rested in my lap waiting to be called upon to do its thing.
Several hours into the day, I caught movement on the far side of the food plot. A flock of turkeys emerged from the heavy cover of the underbrush and slowly worked their way around the far edge of the clearing. I had ranged the large pine tree at the opposite end of the field at 50 yards. Too far to shoot, especially at a turkey considering how small the vitals are, so all I could do is hope that the birds would move down the field giving me a closer target.
The flock, numbering about twenty birds, worked its way to the other side of the plot and them moved back again. It seemed pretty obvious that they were not about to cross the food plot and as birds began to be swallowed up by the same brush that had burped them out earlier, I realized that my opportunity was about to dissolve into goose eggs. I thought about our experience on the range. The Hornet was right on the money at fifty yards from a bench rest. This particular ladderstand had a rail that went all the way around it that would provide me with a stable shooting rest.
I knew that the big pine which was now surrounded by feeding turkeys was exactly fifty yards so the distance of the shot was more or less locked in. This was the last day of the hunt and I was running out of time. I was using a Lumen-Arrows tipped with a Grim Reaper broadhead so there was no lack of confidence in my projectile. I reasoned is the worse that could happen was that I would miss and would have to eat a little humble pie and take a bit of good natured kidding about my marksmanship. I made my decision, I would take the shot.
As I moved bring my head and scope together, one of the birds went into fencepost mode. You turkey-hunters know what I mean. That’s when the bird stands at perfect attention, straight as an arrow and still as a rock while it studies you carefully with that incredible vision that is possessed by the wild turkey. And when it did that I moved the crosshairs to the hen’s chest thinking that position just took care of my up and down variances. Now it was just a matter of getting my left to right exact.
I steadied the Hornet on the rail and placed the smallest circle of the scope on the birds chest and slowly squeezed the trigger of the bow. The release came as a surprise, launching the arrow into the crisp morning air. The Lumenok lit into a fiery red leaving a trail as it arched over the little food plot completely disappearing into the dark copper chest of the clueless bird. The hapless creature dropping to the ground like a feather covered bag of dirty laundry.
Birds exploded in every direction as I quickly recocked the crossbow and loaded another arrow, but the only remaining sign of turkeys was their excited chatter from the thick brush as the said things like, “Did you see that shot?”; and “That was unbeleiveable! We’re never going to be safe around here if he doesn’t go home!”; and “Poor old Mable, he caught her looking!”. I am not entirely sure about the translations, but I think I am pretty close.
Bottom line is that the arrow entered the bird severing its spine from a distance of 52 yards. My first turkey with a crossbow with a shot that only could only make me smile. Thanks to great bow, arrow and broadhead combination, along with a stand that provided a steady rest I was able to make a perfect shot. It is amazing what one can accomplish when he has topshelf equipment and a bird that cooperates by standing fencepost style.
CROSSBOW: Parker Hornet Extreme
ARROW: 20” Lumen-Arrows
BROADHEAD: 100 Grain Grim Reaper
OPTICS: Alpen Pro 8 x 42 Binoculars & Model 119-10x32 Monocular
RANGEFINDER: Bushnell Yardage Pro
CAMERA: Sony DSC-H50
TARGET: Rinehart 18 to 1
Bye, Bye Birdie!