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Kansas Turkey Tag Out: When Preparation Meets Opportunity

by Steve Flores 10. April 2011 14:16
Steve Flores

In my last post I was getting ready to head out west on my first wild turkey hunt. To say I was excited would be an understatement. With that hunt now in the “memory bank”, all I can say is that Kansas was good to me and without a doubt it was a blessed hunt. However, my influence in the outcome was minuscule at best. Sure, I practiced with my bow and made certain everything was in order; you know….the usual stuff you do before a big hunt. But, beyond that I would feel like a hypocrite if I tried to portray my good fortune as anything other than surrounding myself with people who knew a lot more than I did.  

Greenhorn best describes this guy when it comes to bowhunting long beards.

When I met my guide, I was a little concerned. He was young and full of enthusiasm and I worried he might know as little as I did about chasing turkey’s with a bow and arrow. Thankfully, I was wrong; as his aggressive calling style and youthful “never give up attitude” proved to be a deadly combination.
When the sun came up on my first morning in Kansas I was greeted with a beautiful symphony of endless “gobble-gobble-gobbles”. Turkey’s were everywhere! With each subtle call my guide seemed to orchestrate the perfect invitation. As 5 jakes, 2 long-beards and a lone hen were seduced to within range of our ground-blind I knew it was just a matter if time before my new Mathews eZ7 would get to eat. 

The Mathews eZ7 proved to be smooth drawing and super accurate.

 Being new to the challenge of chasing turkeys with a bow, I can honestly say I wasn’t going to be choosey with my first bird. As soon as the opportunity presented itself I had every intention of loosing an arrow. To my delight, a certain “Jake” decided he would be the one. Just as he was about to reach full-strut my bow string jumped forward. The shot happened so quickly I almost didn’t see the arrow zip through him. His expiration proved to be just as fast as he was dead-in-the-air within a matter of seconds. With my first tag filled on a handsome “Jake” it was time to go after my first gobbler. 

My first turkey with a bow was a thing of beauty…even if he was a “Jake”.

 The NAP Gobbler Getter hit him like Thor’s Hammer.

Moving to a different location, Shane (my guide) and I settled in for what we hoped would be an eventful evening. Once again, his aggressive calling and persistent attitude paid off. With a handful of “jakes” showing mild interest in our setup before heading to roost, we were just about to throw in the towel. Then, a lone gobble ignited a glimmer of hope. Thirty minutes later, with shooting light fading, Shane had managed to lure my second opportunity within bow range.

 

With a change of scenery, hopes were high to fill my final tag.

Peering through the faint camouflage of the blind, I anxiously watched as the long-beard made his way toward our decoy some 15 yards away. When he paused and began to turn his back on his adversary, I drilled him with an NAP tipped, Easton Flatline arrow. Upon impact, the stunned gobbler quickly began to scamper across the lonely field. Hugs and congratulations quickly followed as we watched him topple over some distance away.

 

With a pounding heart I managed to seal the deal on my first gobbler…thanks largely to the efforts of my young guide.

Looking back now, if I can take credit for anything it would be: surrounding myself with a good turkey caller, having a buddy who was kind enough to envite me along on this hunt (and booking said hunt with a great outfitter), and taking along an awesome bow. After all, when it comes to successfully tagging turkey’s, what more does a greenhorn like me need?

If you would like to book your very own turkey adventure contact Rodney Kelly at Kansas Big Buck Outfitters. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey Down in Wyoming - My 2011 Touchdown Tom

by Jessica Edd 7. April 2011 13:30
Jessica Edd

With only ten seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and our team covered up deep in turkey territory, we decided to throw a hail mary pass into the end zone desperately hoping for a score and a two point conversion. After covering nearly the entire northeastern portion of Wyoming by driving from Buffalo to Sheridan to Gillette to the National Grassland, back to Sheridan and finally back to Gillette, fighting howling winds and horizontal snow, we knew we needed something big if we were going to score a turkey by the end of our hunt. Our high and long pass started with us on the turkey’s 10 yard line and though we scored our touchdown and found turkeys on a lonely section of state land, this attempt merely tied up the game with the defensively strong turkey team. After a personal foul in an incident with a porcupine, I decided we would be better off to get back into the hunt first thing in the morning, taking the game into overtime and us back to Buffalo for the night.

In the first minute of overtime we were able to find a group of at least 40 turkeys on private land but after asking for permission and finding that these were the wife’s “pets” that she enjoyed feeding, we were down again. Turkeys score. We got the ball back (college rules) by gaining access to the land just behind the turkey feed lot, but with them not wanting to leave their roosting trees, free food, and each other to cross the creek to our decoys, it was turkey’s ball.

Team Turkey and their cheerleaders ruling the field.

We moved on to another area that looked promising and was once again granted permission to hunt the private section next to a public state section. This, however, also turned out to be fruitless, as the turkeys were wise to our plays and stayed on yet another inaccessible private section. When the clouds started rolling in with a rain/hail mix and the winds picking up gusts, we knew what team the fans were rooting for. We knew we had to pull the last rabbit out of the bottom of our trick hat if we were ever going to score against these birds. Knowing we couldn’t access the land they were on to the west but also knowing they were being fed to the east, we drew up a center sneak play. Within less than an hour of calling hen clucks and a few tom gobbles, we started getting a response and knew the game was turning to our favor. The fans in the stands began quieting down, getting nervous, and we got the break in the roaring weather we desperately needed. The ball was hiked and with a pass that seemed to have minutes of hang time, it landed comfortably into the hands of an open receiver deep in the end zone and a beautiful double-bearded tom was down on the ground, less than 40 yards from where I sat.

Team Hunter scores an overtime touchdown.

10 inch doubled-bearded tom

Overtime was nearing the end and there was no time for a single point field goal. We needed our two points. The last ball in the last minute of the last chance overtime was handed off and ran clean passed the white line, leaving the defense stunned and confused, and another tom flapping on the ground a far 52 yards from my hunting partner.

Two point converstion!!!

Knowing the game was over and we had won against the favored turkey team, we roared in victory. Our long drive back was filled with talks of plays that failed and ways to make others better when we meet against the turkeys in the playoffs to fill our second tag for the 2011 turkey season.




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