My First Turkey
A turkey is something I had wanted, tried, and worked for, for 3 long years. And finally it all came together during the 2015 spring season. In Pennsylvania, youth hunters can hunt the Saturday prior to the season opener. We went out in the early hours of morning on a mission for a turkey. We dragged all our gear, including my TenPoint Lady Shadow, through the early morning mist back to the blind. We all squeezed into the blind and got settled. We were sitting above a creek in a group of pines. We sat until daylight and picked out trees at the 20 and 30 yard mark for references.
Not long after that, a gobble rose up from the pine trees ahead of us. That really spiked up my heart rate! We started calling back and forth to it, and it didn’t take us long to realize that there were 3 different turkeys gobbling. They all flew down about 40 yards to the left of us and started coming closer.
A Jake came out from the right and behind the blind, surprising us all, but at that time there just wasn’t enough camera light. The Jake joined the flock, and they all made their way in front of us. I was breathing like I was hyperventilating and my heart was about to jump out of my chest. We were all shocked that they didn’t run the other way because I was breathing so hard.
By this time there was enough camera light, but not a camera view. I was sitting in the middle of the blind with my dad to my right, and my cameraman to my left. There was a clear path in front of me with 3 tag-able gobblers in the center of it. I had a perfect shot on any of them at 25 yards, but I never received the camera okay that I could shoot. There was a tree in front of the cameras view of them but not mine. They all scurried away after getting across the path, alive. I was a little disappointed, but my hopes would be raised a week later.
We went through the whole process of getting up early and getting back to the blind a week later. We sat at the corner of a field this time. It was a lot warmer this Saturday, and I wore a long sleeve shirt instead of the layers I had had on before. We waited until daylight again and picked out a rock placed in the field at 30 yards. I knew I would shoot only at anything from the blind to the rock.
It didn’t take long this time either for a gobble to come from the woods behind us. Those turkeys must have been taunting us because a Jake came out from in front of us (behind the 30 yard rock), and went the opposite direction. It never gobbled to us so we never knew it was coming. It went off into a group of trees and brush that jutted out in the field. The same turkeys behind us kept on gobbling but never showed us a feather.
Next thing I knew, the same Jake that had gone into the brush came back. I was so excited! “This is it,” I told myself. The turkey took its grand old time coming in closer. This didn’t help my heavy breathing. I happened to glance over at my dad, who was behind me, and I had to laugh to myself because he didn’t have a face mask and was sitting there with his mesh Ford hat over his face, watching it all unfold.
Once the young turkey saw our decoys placed 15 yards in front of us, he was coming full speed to us. He passed the 30 yard rock and I knew I had him. The Jake passed one of the decoys at 15 yards, slowed down his pace to almost a stop, but I beat him to it. At 15 yards I got not only my first turkey with a crossbow, but my first turkey ever! He dropped with only a few flaps of his wings after the shot. The first thing I heard after the bow went off was my dad yelling “You got him!”. That brought the biggest smile to my face.
We had turkey the next day for dinner, and it was delicious. I honestly like wild turkey better than the farm raised ones you buy at the store for Thanksgiving. Maybe just knowing where the turkey came from and that I taken it myself made it taste better.
I now love turkey hunting. I always did, but actually getting one was just the icing on the cake. My TenPoint came through again and got me another kill. But this is just the beginning for this year. Those gobblers better watch out because I’ve got a fall tag burning a hole in my pocket!