Monday, April 22, 2013

Georgia Turkey - Bow 'n Go

A week ago I read an article in Petersen's Bowhunting magazine titled "Bow & Go Gobblers" that addressed hunting turkeys with archery tackle without a ground blind. Prior to reading the article, that was something that seemed far to difficult to me to even try. But the way the article broke down the tactics it started to seem a lot like archery elk hunting. So two days later while chasing turkeys in the Cohutta Wilderness of North Georgia (which is also much like elk hunting) I decided to give it a try.

I had hunted with a shotgun the two days prior and been on a few birds but couldn't get a shot. The evening before, I found a nice clearing about a 30 minute hike from the truck. Sure enough, I spooked a bird off it as I eased into the open. After a quick scout around the edges I knew where to be the next morning.

Through the clearing were several good size trees and I started to think about the article I'd read. The real challenge in Bow & Go turkey hunting is the right setup. You need to be in a position where you will be completely hidden from the gobbler when you draw your bow. Those trees could help me do just that if I positioned my decoys just right.

The next morning I took my Bowtech Insanity into the woods instead of my shotgun. During the 30 minute hike I visualized where I was going to setup so by the time I got to the clearing it was simply a matter of setting up the decoys and waiting for daylight. I put out 2 hens and a jake between two large trees. My hope was that if the Tom came from either side, the tree trunks would hide me long enough to draw my bow.

Just after first light I made a few soft yelps on my slate call. Immediately I heard a gobble. After a few minutes I helped again, and again he answered, closer this time. That's exactly what you want to hear!

Before long, the bird came out into the clearing, and that's when time started to move very slowly. I noticed right away that he was a jake, but I decided if I could pull this whole thing off, I didn't care how big he was. The jake decoy was probably the reason he took so long crossing the field, but he literally backtracked every few steps. It seemed like it took him an hour to get to the first tree but it was really more like ten minutes. He would take a few steps, stop and strut, turn around and go back, then turn and strut again, then inch forward again. And as luck would have it, he stopped behind the tree to strut again as I drew. I was starting to shake when he cleared the tree and I was able to release. I never found the Easton FMJ after it zipped through him. My only thought at the time was nocking another one just in case. It wasn't needed as he ran a few yards and toppled over.

A jake isn't a huge trophy to be proud of but I am proud of what I accomplished in taking him, and the fact that it's my first bowkill turkey. So rarely does a plan actually come together the way you envision it, that I can't helped but feel blessed and happy to pull this off, no matter the size of the trophy.

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