Back in February I remember sitting in my house, looking outside at 3-feet of snow piled up then glancing at the thermometer and seeing -18. No I don’t live in the artic but there are times I question my own sanity for living in Minnesota. This is the day I decided as soon as spring hits somewhere in the US and turkey season opens I’m getting in my truck and hitting the road.
Flash-forward to April and over 20-hours of driving later, I finally reached my destination. The hill country of Texas where the grass is green and the gobblers are in season. The first afternoon was simply a scouting mission since I had never seen the property nor hunted a Rio.
Most people assume that if you are bow hunting a turkey, especially with a camera you need to sit in a blind. I agree that would be a lot easier but I’ve never been one for taking the easy road. I like to hunt aggressive.
Day one proved to be a slow morning. There was a lot of gobbling in the distance but the birds were not moving to the property until mid-morning. So I continued to hunt, call, and walk hoping to find the first long beard that crossed onto the property.
Getting close to noon I finally got a response from a fired up bird. He was coming hard and I barely had time to setup. As a bow hunter I knew the most important thing would be finding a place where I could draw without getting busted. I would also need to draw early and hold it for a considerable amount of time.
Unfortunately this bird put on a great show, strutting back and forth but just out of bow range. There was a small drop off that was causing him to hang up. He was simply too lazy or unwilling to approach my little ladies that were so nicely spinning in the wind 30-yards below. Ultimately another jake came in and my gobbler followed him off, leaving me after nearly an hour of strutting, gobbling, and showing off.
By the last day of the hunt I had the birds pretty well figured out, they were hitting the property mid morning on a daily basis. As tempting as it was to sleep in, I still got up at o’dark thirty everyday just in case.
As the morning temps were climbing, a couple gobblers fired up a few hundred yards off. I closed the distance and got setup in minutes. After a few soft yelps, the gobblers came strutting by at 30-yards behind a wall of thick cover. Instead of approaching the decoys these two gobblers decided to swing wide. As the two toms passed behind a thick bush I drew hoping to get a shot when they appeared on the opposite side. After staying at full draw for what seemed like an eternity I finally had a clear shot.
The arrow zipped right through and the two-blade Rage left a devastating wound. As I approached the bird I saw he was a giant double bearded Rio that weighed in at 23 pounds. He boasted an 8 and a 10.5-inch beard with inch and a quarter spurs, but the best part was the way I hunted. Very few people get lucky enough to take a bird, with a bow, in a “run n gun” situation, but the hard work definitely paid off.