This was actually my first year turkey hunting. My dad and brother had turkey hunted a couple years back, and they had assured me that it was an extremely tough hunt. It was tough, but it wasn’t quite as excruciating as they had built it up to be. They were right in the fact that it is really hard to stay hidden from these turkeys and that they can be difficult to pattern and find. Turkeys have much better eye sight then deer or elk and I knew that I couldn’t just rely on my camo to stay hidden from them. So that is why I bought a cheap ground blind and a slate turkey call.
The first day of hunting was pretty fun, mostly because I got to take along with me my wonderful wife. She doesn’t hunt, but she is very supportive in my hunting endeavors. It was really fun to have her along, especially when it was her idea to come on the hunt in the first place. I had scouted and scouted using online and GPS maps and found, what I thought would be, a good place for where turkeys would roost. We drove up into the mountains and hiked in to where I had previously planned. We got to a good place and sat in a little ditch that ran along what I thought was the roost tree. It turned out that this was just a regular tree. We stayed there for a few hours and then we got rained out. Even though we got drenched, it was still a lot of fun because I had my wife with me.
The second day I went out by myself and ventured off a little to find some more possible areas where there would be turkeys. It was a pretty uneventful day with zero turkeys seen. At this point I was feeling a little dejected.
I didn’t go back out for another week or two. I was a little disappointed in the lack of turkeys and I was questioning the place I had chosen to hunt. The only reason I was hinting this area was because I had almost ran over a bunch of turkeys near this place earlier in the year. Other than that, I had no clue where the turkeys were. However, I didn’t want to give up and I still had a feeling about that area.
With about a week left in the season, I was able to find some free space in my schedule to go out for a good evening hunt. I set up my blind, knocked an arrow, and started calling with my slate call. I wasn’t extremely in the right mindset for turkey hunting. I was leaning back, stretching my legs, and didn’t even have my bow in my hands. I just had it laying next to me in the dirt. I wasn’t focused and alert like I should have been. Then all of a sudden, I heard the quick flapping of wings and close-sounding gobble gobble. I jolted up, scrambled for my bow, and try to get ready for the turkey that was coming in. It was a jake that was about 55 yards to my right. Between him and I, there were some downed trees and a bunch of brush, so there was no clear path even if I wanted to take that long shot, which I didn’t. I still drew my bow back just so that I would be ready, but he saw me and ran off pretty quickly. I was still super pumped! I was excited that I had actually been successful at calling in a turkey, even if it was just a jake. Not bad for a rookie Turkey hunter.
After that jake ran off, I realized that there was a better set up about 30 yards ahead of me in some brush that was at the base of a tall tree. I ran up there with my bow and my call and started calling again. It wasn’t but 20 minutes later that another jake came in looking for the “hen” that was making all the noise. He wasn’t sure exactly where I was and was venturing off a little to my right. He had moved behind a patch of trees and was veering further and further away, so I called a little bit more to bring them back. He did a complete U-turn and came in on a line right towards me. Now I hadn’t moved my ground blind from its original position. I had to only moved myself and my bow and had left the blind where it was. This was probably a big mistake but it didn’t seem like the turkey could see me. He knew where the call was coming from, but it didn’t seem that he knew it was a human behind that call. He kept coming in closer and closer without hesitating or holding up even a little.
I was a little more prepared for him then I was the first turkey, and I had ranged several trees and other bushes that were around me. He had come right at a tree that I had ranged at 34 yards when I drew back my bow. He still seemed to not see me! I waited until he got to what I thought was 25 yards. I went through my steps, and aimed right for the center of his chest. He was still walking towards me on a frozen rope. I was comfortable at this distance and felt that this was a good chance for my shot. I let the arrow fly and… I shot low. Obviously this scared the crap out of him and he flew away in a confused rush. At first, I was a little ticked at myself for missing what should’ve been a pretty easy shot, but then I reflected on it and realized that I had just called in two turkeys within about a half hour of each other despite knowing hardly anything in regards to turkey hunting. I’m not trying to justify my missing the jake by trying to call it a victory. It wasn’t. I missed and that’s that. But still, hunting is about learning and growth, and I was able to learn a ton within just an hour of calling in both those turkeys.
In hindsight, I realized that the turkey wasn’t as close to me as I thought he was, and so I had ranged too low. Or maybe it could have been that I punched the trigger and had pulled the bow just a little bit down and that’s why I missed. Who knows? Either way it was super fun getting out there and turkey hunting.
I went back out the next day just for a couple hours because that’s all the time that I had, but I had no luck. There is still four more days left in the season here in Utah, but my wife and I are actually heading out of town early in the morning to go to California to visit family. So the season is over for me. I was only able to get out those four days but I loved every second of it. Hunting is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, slow hours, exhilarating times, unexpected twists, and everything in between. Now that the hunt is over, I am on to preparing for the hunts of the fall. I have an archery mule deer tag, and I will have an over the counter archery elk tag as well. Last year I wasn’t able to capitalize on my elk tag, but I have a really good feeling about this year. I can’t wait to get out there to scout and prepare for the season. I hope everyone else has luck in the coming hunts as well.