TRAILCAM FOOTAGE OF THREE BIRDS WE ENCOUNTERED THIS MORNING
It is said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”. If you’re a turkey hunter, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss a few you do take. Such was the case this morning.
If you’re not a turkey hunter I want to explain something …you may see turkeys in your neighborhood and can pretty much walk up to them but when it’s hunting season and you’re in the their neighborhood, the woods, it’s an entirely different ballgame.
Today was our first opportunity for me and my son Aaron to take part in an annual-family tradition. Our mission is to shoot a turkey at sunrise and make it to school on time.
This morning it looked like it was going to be a slam dunk. We had a long hike to a blind I set up last week. As we settled in, the trees around us erupted with gobbles. We anxiously awaited the sunrise and anticipated birds flying the off roost into our decoys for a quick kill shot.
The turkeys had other ideas. They kicked out of the roost and went the opposite direction and gathered on the high ground. Several toms and jakes were gobbling as three or four hens bickered back and forth. I was joining in trying to irritate the boss hen to get her to come down and investigate with toms close behind. After about 10 minutes of excitement the woods went quiet. Our blind is positioned between the hill and an area I know the turkeys like to strutt to so I thought if we waited them out we might get a shot. It wasn’t more than 20-30 minutes and we heard a few gobbles not too far away. I responded with some soft yelps and they hammered back…it was go time!
Aaron was already struggling with the emotional highs and lows from the first part of our hunt; I pretty much had to wake him up and let him know we had several gobblers within 100 yards all heading our direction. As two red heads peeked around the corner Aaron was ready with his crossbow in position. I made a few more helps to coax the birds a little closer…apparently too close. Aaron put the crosshair on a mature tom with a full beard and let the bolt fly…just over its back. Post-shot we discovered they were about 15 yards and he misjudged them to be at 20 yards. Aaron was dejected….he had just missed his first turkey. I reminded him that it’s not an easy shot with a crossbow and anyone who’s ever seriously hunted turkey has missed one. With a shotgun, it would have been a chip shot.
So we left the field without a bird. Aaron made it to school (almost) on time. As I drove home reflecting on the morning I was bummed he didn’t connect with that bird but realized it’s misses like these that fuel our passion and get us up at 5:00 AM on a school day without an alarm. The season is long and the birds are plentiful; it’s likely Aaron will have success in the next few weeks. In this day and age, a little delayed gratification will go a long way.