PSE’s Pro Staff Member Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland Tells about His New Zealand Gobbler with His Bow
Editor’s Note: Ronnie Strickland, known to most people in the outdoor industry as “Cuz,” is the senior vice president of Mossy Oak, and was one of the first outdoor videographers. Strickland enjoyed shooting tournament archery and also was an avid turkey and deer hunter. When Strickland first started hunting turkeys with a bow, the turkey decoy hadn’t been invented, portable blinds hadn’t come on the outdoor scene yet, and very-little information was available about turkey hunting with a bow. This week Strickland tells us about the first three turkeys he ever took with his bow.
“Toxey Haas, the creator of Mossy Oak, famed outdoor writer, Jim Casada, and I went to New Zealand to hunt turkeys,” Ronnie Strickland recalls. “I found that those turkeys over in New Zealand weren’t quite as sharp as our birds over here in America. I didn’t spend but one day taking a New Zealand gobbler. The New Zealand gobblers were very flock-oriented and gobbled a lot to a call. But they wouldn’t come-in, because they were always flocked-up. About the only way we found to take these birds was to try and determine which way the flock was going. Then we’d get ahead of the flock and find an ambush point, where we could get-off a shot when the turkeys came back. The turkeys in New Zealand didn’t have any predators – not even snakes or fire ants. So, you could crawl-around and attempt to maneuver yourself to get a shot without worrying about what was going to bite you, stick you or sting you.
“When I spotted the turkeys, they were on top of a hill feeding in the same place where a herd of sheep were. The turkeys were moving from left to right, east to west. Once I determined the direction the flock was going, I started moving with them, out-of-sight of the birds. Finally, I came to a big mound of dirt I could hide behind, peek-over the mound and eyeball the turkeys. As the turkeys started coming by the mound, I noticed there was one big gobbler strutting in the back of the flock. When the gobbler got within 20 yards, I was able to make the draw and take him. I noticed right away that these turkeys weren’t nearly as spooky as the national-forest turkeys I’d hunted in Adams County, Mississippi.
“Once my gobbler took the arrow, he flopped, fluttered and rolled-down the hill. Back then I still could chase a gobbler after I shot him. And, on this hunt, that’s exactly what I had to do. I hadn’t brought my arrow with the fishhook on the shaft with me on this hunt. I did bring a really-big broadhead, however, and I got a complete pass-through. As that turkey rolled down the hill, I was running as hard as I could to catch up to him for about 100 yards. Luckily, I caught up to him, before he rolled-over the edge of the big mountain where he was.”
Tomorrow: PSE’s Pro Staff Member Ronnie Strickland’s Texas Gobbler with a Bow
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