Our friend Doug recently shot this 24lb turkey with a 14″ beard in Harford County, MD. Wow, what a bird.
For the first time in many years I missed opening day of turkey season. Fortunately for me I have no lack of friends that hunt and I got to live through two of my buddies that scored on opening day. With the excitement in the air I was up at 3am Saturday morning and on the road shortly after. Two hours later I arrive, got my gear together and made my way back into the woods. It wasn’t more than 10 minutes before the first gobble woke up the woods. There was one, then another, and another, it was a spectacular show listening to the birds up and down the river. I tried to work the birds but they really didn’t respond well and eventually after they flew down they faded off in the wrong direction. Things were pretty slow for an hour and then I noticed a hen go by on the ridge but she didn’t respond either. I keep calling softly every ten minutes or so and about another hour the hen made another appearance and came by at 50 yards. A half hour later I heard a gobble behind me not terribly far so I called softly again a few times and put my calls away. It was dead silent until I heard some faint scratching or movement from behind, so I got my gun into position hoping for the best. As I sprained my neck looking over my right shoulder I saw him creeping in dead silent so I knew it was go time. I readied myself as the bird got within 10 yards but had a few small trees between me and him. He stopped right behind the trees and started purring at my decoy. I seriously don’t know how he didn’t see me shaking, I guess I was lucky that decoy had his attention. I remained focused and watched him closely and as he made his way past the trees I through my gun up the first instant I could. BOOM!!! And he was on the ground, motionless I might add, but I was shaking with excitement. My 3.5″ turkey load at 10 yards was a little much for him to take, but hey at least he didn’t feel a thing. My first turkey hunt of the year had been a success.
I then proceeded to hurry home so I could share my hunt with my family. My wife loves to turkey hunt and was suppose to of been with me that morning so I was anxious to show her the bird. Sharing the success of my hunt with my family made the day perfect.
So two of my boys got lucky this morning and put down two beautiful long beards. It was opening day and these guys didn’t skip a beat as both hit there marks. I unfortunately wasn’t able to get out as I had to keep some appointments, but lucky enough to live through these guys this morning. My boy Peyton Emerson and one of my best friends was the first one to put a bird down as he called a hen over to his decoy and ole Mr. Longbeard got shot in the face.
Congrats Peyton on a great bird. Now while I was talking to Peyton on the phone we both heard a shotgun blast and it was our good buddy Rob that had just shot. Talk about good timing, geez I couldn’t believe the action I was missing. So I let Peyton go and about an hour later a picture popped on my phone with Robs bird.
Congrats to another great friend Rob Ballantine for putting down a tremendous gobbler. The boys had certainly made the most out of opening day today. I do wanna take a little credit for helping set up the blind Peyton shot his bird from, lol.
SHOOT EM WHEN YOU SEE EM!!!
With the so-called Arctic Vortex in place I bundled up and kept my donkey quest alive. The high the past couple days has only been in the teens with lows around zero but with some smart hunting I was able to outwit a couple smart old girls. Unfortunately for the deer the cold and their quest for food was their downfall. If you can brave the cold I can’t think of anything more rewarding than a good late-season bowhunt.
As a hard-core bow hunter I love to brave the cold and hit the stand during late-season and last night was no different. I slipped into my hang on about an hour before dark because I know the deer aren’t moving until that last 30 minutes. Right on cue at about 5 o’clock I saw movement in the thicket. Five deer slowly made their way out of the thicket headed in my direction. I slowly grabbed my bow and readied myself for the shot because I knew it was going to be all or nothing. As the deer got into range I was focused on the lead big mama doe. She was very smart had her ears out and was looking hard and finally after a 15 minute stare down she gave it up and my spitfire are it up. By the sound of the shot I knew I hit a little back but she only ran 30 yards and stood there. Right as I expected her to drop a dog came out of nowhere and ran all the deer away and there went my doe. Man do I hate dog walkers in the woods and why would someone be walking their dog so late in the evening. Anyway I got down recovered my arrow and what I suspected was true from the sign on the arrow. I decided to come back this morning and take a look. I hit the trail I last saw her take and not more than 100 yards there she lay. My shot wasn’t as bad as I thought, I entered near lung and came out the gut. What a great feeling it was to recover my big doe. I almost feel as successful getting a big old smart doe like that just as much as getting a big buck. Keep at it this late-season it can be very rewarding.
A few days ago right before the really frigid air moved in I was able to harvest my first deer of 2014. Always a special moment for me to have hunting season overlap into the new year. We have recently been hit with some really frigid weather and I always take the opportunity to go out for a nice chilly bowhunt. It was 18° that night with 20 mile-per-hour winds as I waited on stand patiently for an opportunity. Just as it was getting dark I looked behind me to see 3 doe headed my way. They slowly fed through and when I had my shot I delivered a lethal hit right behind the shoulder. She bound up ran about 30 yards stood there wondering what had just happened and within another second she had fallen over and passed away. My spitfire had hit it’s mark and I had my first deer of 2014 on the ground. Never do I feel more successful than when I’m bowhunting and cold weather.
To go along with the rest of 2013, New Years Eve had it’s up’s and down’s. I had planned to hunt that evening and everything was going as planned, got done work early, had a good wind for the spot, and the weather was perfect. As I reflected back on the year I couldn’t help but think of all the bad things that had happened, and I was so glad to see 2013 go. As dusk began to set in here came the deer, and I’m talking about seven of them. They fed in like roaches on birthday cake. I grabbed my bow and readied myself as this was going to be tricky. I love a situation like that, seven sets of eyes to beat, I do love a challenge. As the deer fed in I had some as close as ten yards and the longer this went on the more nervous I got. I had my eye on the largest doe in the bunch, and after nearly fifteen minutes I had the big girl at ten yards quartering away so after I made sure all eyes were down I made my shot. My arrow penetrated in front of the rear ham and exited the deer between the opposite front shoulder and the neck. In a split second I almost instantly shit down all vitals in that deer and that’s why she was dead before she hit the ground thirty yards from the shot. What a triumph to over come those odds and get it done on New Years Eve.
With my heart still pounding I hurried down out of stand, swapped my camera card, and made my way to the truck. I had party to get too so I was rushing to get this deer dealt with so I could get home and start the second part of my night. I got to the truck and began stripping off my heavy clothes, got my dragging gear, and went to get my knife from the back. Uh oh the back was locked so I went back to the front door, locked too, I then ran around the truck to the drivers side, locked…damn it. Well that’s not exactly what I said so use your imagination and you’ll probably guess right. I’ve done this before but never while hunting and never an hour away. I made a call to a locksmith service in which 15-30 minutes turned into 2 hours and quite a bit of money but they saved my night. As bad as that experience was, it was turned around that quickly as I discovered a new shooter buck while checking the card I had swapped out. I got home, got cleaned up and changed, grabbed my wife and we had a great New Years together. Now with 2014 in full swing I have another great buck to chase after till the end of January.
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