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[ 2010.04.26 ] Taking a breather?

Something weird happens when I have kids. For the first 3-4 years, things are just so busy that I kind of fall off the hunting bandwagon. I see the turkeys strutting and I see the deer feeding in the fields but the urge is just not there.

I am still shooting the PSE Diablo every now and then. I am sighting in the Remington 870. In the end I know it is unlikely that I will get out more than a couple times. Even so, those will be magical mornings and walking the fog roll in and watching the sun come up is second to none.


[ 2008.05.XX ] Turkey by Bow - Solo Calling

PSE Diablo, G&S Slate and Box Call, Primos Mouth Call, and Mossy Oak Camo

[ 2008.04.26 ] Mossy Oak Pro Staff

I've been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for a couple years now. It is really cool being able to represent the best camouflage company in the world. It all began in West Point, Mississippi, with a fistful of dirt. Obsessed with the notion of getting closer to critters, Mossy Oak’s founder and CEO, Toxey Haas, gathered up a bag of leaves, sticks and dirt from under his favorite hunting tree, walked into a fabric factory and dropped it on the counter. Facing an audience of startled faces he made a bold request, “Can you print fabric that looks like the stuff in the bag?” People snickered, shook their heads and probably contemplated calling security. Little did they know he was on to something big.




Hunting Activities
gathering food the old fashion way

What is Hunting?

Hunting is something that is hard to explain to those who have not grown up with it. It is being close to nature. it is experiencing the still of the morning, and calm of the afternoon. It is waiting for 10 minutes or 10 days for that moment. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes you come away empty handed. But always, you come back that day/week/season with something more than you left.

Past Turkey Success

Memorial Day comes. My last day in the Blind of my chosen spot. My faith in my choice is beginning to wane. My faith in my calling is shaken. Why have the turkeys forsaken me? Have I not bought all the right equipment? Have I not practiced my clucks, purrs, peas-peas, and playful hen series? Have I not watched all the Turkey Season run up shows on TV?

I awake at 3:30a, strangely energetic. I can FEEL today is going to be different. I go through the routine more quickly than normal and find myself heading out the door well in advance of my normal time. I walk through the woods to the field and begin crossing. Immediately a skunk decides to greet me. She plays the role of Rhino and charges me before retreating. It is almost like I am in Africa, except instead of the risk of a trampling, I'ld have to endure going to work smelling of 'nature'. We play that game for a bit as I try holding my ground while trying to act like anything other than a predator. It takes me a good 10 minutes extra to get around the lovely lady skunk and finally she decides I am no risk to her and she melts into the field headed into the other direction.

I settle into my blind, and I wait. Today I will be patient. More patient than before. Active calling has not brought the Toms out, so today I will be coy. Today I will be the reluctant hen.... shy even. As light breaks I start off with locator clucks. There is a gobble far off. I wait. I am shy. I am..... waiting. Every 15 minutes or so I put out a soft series of locator calls, switching between my GS Slate and the GS mini-box. After an hour I do one hard series. Each hard series, I find the gobbling response it closer, but slowly.

Around 8:00am I see the Tom. This time he has come in towards the top of the field. He stands with his neck stretched high. He calls out to the hen, "Come to me he says. See how magnificent I am." I ignore his advances. Slowly he moved along the woodline down in my direction. Then suddenly a neighbor starts his tractor and the Tom is spooked. He runs half way down the field and leaps into the woods. NNNNOOOOOOO!!!! My head slumps. My day, is it over? I raise my head and resume my series. Doing the same things that brought him into sight before.

9:00a comes and my wife text msg's me. The kids are getting a bit crazy and more moody than usual. How long will I be?
I answer back that I will give it until 10am and then head back through the woods, probably back to the house around 11a.
At 9:30a I've started to clean up the blind of snack bar wrappers and Diet Dew when it happens. A gobble EXPLODES behind the blind!
I lean back and move the flap on one of the windows on the blind. The Tom is about 20 yards away staring down the decoy. My heart takes off! I lean forward and start the camera, and I assume the kneeling stance ready for the Tom to clear the closed windows of the blind and come into my shooting lane. Ten minutes go by and nothing. Fifteen minutes. I lean back and look again to find the Tom in full strut. He is not going to commit.

My heart sinks for a minute and I make my decision. I have to give up on the hopes of filming the shot and work for the Tag Out.
I turn myself in the blind and peek out of the window flap. I have to lower the window in the back of the blind and take my shot. No easy task, but I am lucky that the Eastman Blind uses magnets to hold up the windows and the window facing the Tom does not have the velcro screening up.

I shift the bow to my right hand where I hold the bow upright by the Cam. I reach out and put my left hand on the left corner of the window. Peeking through the gap, I wait. As the Tom dances and prances I wait for my moment. The tom circles slowly, and the moment he covers his vision with his fan, I pull the left corner of the blind window. The Tom turns fast thinking he is hearing the hen rustle. I FREEZE! The tom is unsure why the hen is not coming in, so he puffs some more and continues his dance. He circles yet again after about 4 minutes and I pull the right side. He spins quickly and I FREEZE! My heart is pounding and my throat is dry. I am still partially hidden, as the center of the window is held up by a hook and loop. I slide my hand slowly up and grasp the clasp in my fingers and thumb. Turkey tom spins yet again and I flick the hooks, don't ask where that skill comes from please, and pull the window half the way down. I FREEZE! Now the turkey notices the blind looks different and is more wary. But, the wind is blowing gently and it is causing the decoy to move. He becomes distracted again and concentrates on the Hen. Another 4-5 minutes go by, and it seems like hours. Finally he turns his fan again and I get the window all the way down! My breathing is haggard, and my hands are shaking. I can not believe he has not spooked. I can not believe I am still in there.

So the window is all the way down, but the bow is not in my hands and my mask is down. MY MASK IS DOWN??!?! Crap. In the excitement I forgot to put my mask up and my pasty wife Northeastern mug is shining bright and I am silhouetted in an open window with another open window directly behind me. I am frozen. I am a tree. I am relying on my Mossy Oak clothes and hat to convince this Tom at 20 yards that I am nothing more than a big mound of vegetation. He turned and fans. I my mask up AND my hands on my bow, but the bow only half way up when he peers over his shoulder.

Now he is a noticing something is not quite right. While strutting he moved to the other side of the tree, moving behind the tree as he goes. As he moved behind the tree, I come to full draw! He steps out, one step... two steps. I hold a slight bit high and release. THUMP! The NAP Spitfires, launched from the PSE Diablo hits its mark and the turkey drops in his tracks. He shudders twice as I burst out of the blind and perform the Coup de grâce. It has been over 40 minutes of blood pumping action. Alternating between moments if extremely fast movements and minutes frozen in the form of a tree. It has been the most exciting Spring hunt yet for me.

It has taken me many a morning (can only hunt to Noon here in Maine), and was my last day in this spot. I was taken out of my game plan, missed my video, and shot out of a window that started off closed and ended up being the direction of my success. I can't say enough about what it means to keep at it. To keep going out, to keep trying different techniques. To be aware and to never consider the day done until your time is up.

Special thanks goes out to my brother who tagged out on a Jake earlier and forced me to keep trying. To Mossy Oak for letting me sit without 20yards of turkey and not cause him to run, and to Tracy at GS Calls for his awesome Slate and Mini Box Call. Lastly, thanks to PSE for making a GREAT bow in the Diablo. It just keeps on doing its job, chance after chance.



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