Minnesota - I want to start off by saying that I am relatively new to archery hunting. So I wasn't totally confident I'd succeed but decided to take on quite a challenge anyway this spring turkey season. Here in Minnesota, you can hunt the full 6-week season anywhere in the state if you're bow hunting. In the past I've always hunted turkeys on public land and without a blind before because for me, it's much more of a thrill to get creative with natural cover to hide from the sharpest eyes in the woods. That's exactly what I had to do in this scenario, only this time, with a bow.
I scouted my butt off before the season opener and knew of a few roosting sites as well as a few heavy traffic areas going to and from those roosts. Sunday was my 5th consecutive day of turkey hunting and although I had some close calls, I got busted several times as a result of having to seek out more open areas to hunt than I normally would have with a shotgun. It was time to think outside the box. After a long, full day of hunting, I visited the 3rd tract of public land for the day. This is the one I scouted the most and knew it extremely well. As I snuck along a known travel route, I accidentally bumped a huge gobbler. Luckily, he didn't fully alarm and fly off, but rather walked away with a quickness into the distance. While standing there briefly to think about how I could circle around and get in front of where he was headed, I suddenly came up with the perfect idea.
It was now about 5 o’clock in the evening and the birds would be heading to roost soon. I was standing along a known travel route and brush was very thick. I noticed a cedar tree that had a nice canopy just high enough for me to sit under and still be able to draw back my bow. Also, with the sun setting behind it, I'd be in heavy shade to keep me hidden. I quickly made a shooting lane perpendicular to the travel route and set out one hen decoy just past the intersection. At around 5:30, I texted my wife telling her that I had two birds pretty fired up but since it was late they may just go to roost instead of visiting me. Shortly after that, one thundered away at me and he was definitely coming closer. I softened the yelps and clucks and at that he responded again so I immediately went quiet and waited. I could hear him spitting when I finally spotted him through all the brush. He had managed to come all the way down the travel route and was just a mere 7 yards in front of me! I couldn't believe that I hadn't get spotted, my hiding spot worked perfectly!
So there he was, 7 yards in front of me spitting, drumming, and in full strut. It was truly exhilarating him being that close and at this point I didn't even care if he busted me or not. I was just thankful to have this incredible experience. I patiently waited for my chance. He would spit, drum, and then turn a bit towards the decoy. He did this about 5 times until his fan finally blocked his line of sight to me. At this moment I drew back, settled my pin, let the arrow fly, and the rest is history.
Hunting always creates epic stories, adventures, and constantly presents new challenges for us to conquer. I don't know what is in store for my future as an archery hunter, but I can guarantee this will forever be one of the most memorable hunts of my life.
Jimmy is also the author of a Wild Game Cooking Blog called Primally Wild dedicated to Paleo Diet friendly recipes, be sure to check it out at www.primallywild.com!!