The Hunt for the Grand Slam of Turkeys Plus One With a Bow By PSE’s Bill Epeards with John E. Phillips
Day 1: PSE’s Bill Epeards Hunts for the Osceola with His X-Force Bow
Editor’s Note: Bill Epeards of Goshen, Indiana, conducts 45 to 50 seminars per year, all over the country, on turkey hunting, whitetail hunting and dangerous game hunting. He has taken 12 Grand Slams of turkeys and 2 World Slams. Two of the Grand Slams have been completed using his PSE bows.
In my seminars, I encourage bowhunters to set their bows up for the game they want to hunt.
Many bowhunters set their bows at one weight and hunt all game with the same draw weight, but I don’t. One of the reasons bow manufacturers build bows that allow you to adjust the weights of the bows is so we can set our draw weights differently for various animals we hunt. When hunting turkeys, you need to set your bow, so you can hold it at full draw for a long time, if you have to do that. Sometimes a turkey will walk within bow range, step behind a bush or a tree and wait for a hen to come to him. The turkey will be within bow range, but you can’t take the shot. If you let the bow down, the turkey steps out, and you have to draw again, there’s a good chance the turkey will see you. Since turkey hunting requires a lot of patience, and you may have to hold your bow at full draw for a while, you don’t want to shoot a heavy bow. I normally shoot about a 63- or 64-pound bow when I’m hunting big game, but I turn the bow down to 60 pounds for turkey hunting.
On this particular hunt for an Osceola, I was hunting with Cody Worley. We didn’t use a blind, but we did use decoys. We had created a makeshift blind out of natural foliage. Besides my 60-pound PSE X-Force bow, I was using a Spitfire broadhead made by New Archery Products (http://www.newarchery.com) and the Quaker Boy Old Boss Hen turkey call (http://www.quakerboy.com). I carried a little stool with me to sit on, so I’d be high enough to draw and shoot. When we got to the area, the turkeys were gobbling on the roost, and we worked them for about 40 minutes. I started calling with a Quaker Boy slate call. As the turkey got closer, I put a mouth diaphragm in my mouth. A mouth diaphragm allows me to have both hands free to hold and draw my bow. The gobbler came-in and went straight for the decoys. Having decoys really gives you an advantage, since as long as the turkey is concerned with the decoys, he won’t be worried about you. When the turkey was positioned broadside to me, I aimed and took the shot right at his wing butts. The turkey dropped and flopped, and my hunt was over.
There’s one caution I think is important if you decide to hunt the Osceola turkey. Most of the time, you’ll be hunting them in the Florida wetlands where there are palmettos. Too, the property may be heavily forested. Often when a turkey gobbles, because the foliage muffles his gobble, you’ll assume the turkey is much-farther away than he actually is. Another factor I’ve noticed about the Osceola turkey is he gobbles much less than any of the other races of turkeys. Often, he will come within bow range silently. If I hear an Osceola turkey gobble at 100 yards, I’ll set-up immediately, because that gobbler actually may be within 50 to 80 yards. Just remember you really can be fooled about how far away an Osceola turkey is, especially if you primarily hunt other races of turkeys, like Easterns, Rio Grandes or Merriam’s.
Click here to get the Kindle ebook, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros”, by John E Phillips or go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
Tomorrow: PSE’s Bill Epeards Takes an Eastern Gobbler with His X-Force Bow