Turkey Grand Slam with a PSE Bow – Pt 2
Off to Nebraska to bowhunt a Rio and Merriam with Calamus Outfitters. It is the Middle of May and the birds had been pretty vocal and responsive to calls based on feedback from guys from the ranch. As luck would have it some weather came in and shut the birds down. Also, every long beard we saw that first day was “henned up”. We had our work cut out for us to get a bird into bow range and on film. We did find an awesome Merriam the first day we were going to target the second morning. Tip – “There is fine line between being aggressive and pushing the envelope to far. If you can make a move on bird, go for it. If you can be patient and have a better set up for bow kill the next day consider that. I rolled the dice but decided to wait to hunt him next morning.“ We got set up early early on this Merriam the second morning in a ground blind. As the day started to come to life we heard him gobble his head off, so all was looking good. Well, we thought so until we had a mature hen start “putting” at us from no where. She finally calmed down and we continued to hear him gobble. Over the next 30 minutes he finally began to work his way into our set up. We softly called with a few yelps and purrs to let him know we were here. He finally came in our area but never to the decoy. The hens he was with skirted about 50 yards from the decoys and he was taking the same path. He began to put on a show about 40 yards from blind and slowly worked his way towards the hens in front of the blind. My camera man Dillon and I were waiting to see if he would commit or if he was going to continue to get farther away. Finally, he got about 35 yards away but hung up, so I decided to take a shot. He was in full strut facing me and let the arrow go…Well, I missed! I shot right under him! He jumped up and ran in a circle but went right back into full strut. I quickly nocked another arrow and made sure Dillon was on camera. He said yes and I shot again this time hitting him. The shot was a little forward at about 40 yards. It was a hard hit but not in my preferred area of the bird for an instant kill. We knew he was hurting because he was slowly walking and then laid down. I gave him some time and he was done a few minutes later. He was one of the most beautiful birds I had ever seen or shot. When I got to him the whole that he had in him from the Swhacker was MASSIVE! He was about 20lbs. with 9 inch beard and inch spurs. Just solid Merriam! Again, the PSE Revenge did not let me down……
That night we did some scouting and located a Rio and made plan for him the next morning. We had a bird roosted in a lone tree about 200 yards in front of us thinking he would go to the birds roosted to the south of us. We anticipated he would pitch down and come to us before going under a gate to get to the other birds. That is exactly what he did except my guide had us set up more for a shot gun than bow. We set up in pitch dark and before I could do anything to adjust this bird would have seen us . He was already on the ground running toward us. I drew my bow but had to shoot through the gaps on a steel gate that had barbed wire strung in between the gaps or openings. The bird got to 10 yards and I was at full draw. I did my best to shoot through a very narrow opening of steel and wire. Well, you can imagine the arrow hit the gate and hunt was over and slam was in jeopardy. Needless to say I was highly frustrated at the outcome. When you are that close and come up short in that way it is tough. I literally had to go back to ranch pack my bags and head to the airport to catch my flight. It was a long 5 hour drive back to airport.
The ranch owner knew how close we came and invited me to come back if I could squeeze out two more days. Well you know I was going to do anything I could to make this happen. Due to understanding wife and family I was able to literally SQUEEZE two more days out. After watching my nephew graduate from West Point Military Academy over the weekend in New York, the next day I jumped on flight back to Nebraska. Dillon who is the guide and was filming me, targeted another Rio in the same area were we missed one a few weeks earlier. We made a plan and moved our ground blind in an area that would not spook the birds. For some reason the turkeys in this area DO NOT like ground blinds. We tucked in away in area that was not in plain sight, set out (4) hen decoys and a jake. After an hour or soo and some soft purrs and clucks I got a nice Gobbler to come in. He was nice bird that gave us a great show. The challenge was he only had 2-3 inch beard and we could not see his spurs. The alfalfa was too tall. This bird did not have the other characteristics or body language of jake. He had big body and full fan. Knowing there was better bird in the area I passed on him. Well, the show then started when we had (3) hens come in and get beyond mad at our decoys. The were fighting them, fanned out and strutting around decoys. That instantly brought in (4) jakes, then more hens and then more jakes. We had 20 plus birds right on us for 45 minutes. It was awesome.. Well a few minutes later the big tom shows up on the edge of the fence from the woods and works his way into the pasture. He stayed out about 45 yards with few hens. This was the Rio I had been waiting on! As hard as it was not try to shoot him at that range I decided to see if he would commit in towards the other birds on decoys. It boiled down to what a few hens were going to do as he was on them for most of the time. They decided to come in and fight the decoys and he came with him. He got to 25 yards at the decoys and was strutting around a few times. I drew my bow and told Dillon I am going to shoot him. Once he turned broadside I smoked him at 25 or so yards and he dropped in his tracks. This Rio was huge at 23-24 lbs. 10 inch beard and 1 1/4 spurs. The Turkey Grand Slam with Bow was complete!
Overall, one of the most rewarding experiences in my hunting career. Six states in three months. To have friends and family cheering me on along the way and to not give up when things did to work out, I feel very blessed and grateful! Again, this trip took some planning and the help of Scoutlook Weather.com was essential for me to determine the best days to get in the field to make the most of my time. I now love to use Scoutlook for Turkey Hunting like I have used it for deer hunting. I like the hourly weather, scent cones based on wind direction, solunar tables, moon up/moon down information and barrometric pressure data it provides. It is a great all around resources for hunting, fishing and even golf. I trust Scoutlook Weather more than any other weather website on the internet!