Spring has finally sprung and the thunder is rolling...Thunder Chickens that is!!! After a long winter and few hunting opportunities, Spring finally arrives and with it comes the excitement of Spring turkey season.
Opening morning was bone chilling cold, but despite that with high hopes, myself, Mikyla and Mike Jahnke all climb into the blind. Mikyla is up as shooter, I am on camera and Mike is caller.
We make a great team...
Turkey hunting from a blind can be challenging, double that when you are trying to capture the "moment" on camera. By 7:00 am we have a strutting tom called into our decoy.
I can see him and he is framed up perfectly on camera BUT Mikyla cannot see him. With the tom's keen eyesight and high level of awareness, she cannot move to make the shot.
All of us in complete anticipation await the moment when the big tom comes strutting out in front of Mikyla...
A moment that did not come. That is hunting, so close, yet so far away.
Shortly after our morning encounter, Mikyla made the responsible move and went to school on time, without filling her turkey tag.
With Mikyla at school, it was my turn on the gun and camera. Double time for me. :-)
Sometime later that morning, we call them in...four crazy jakes, strutting around, mounting decoys, anxiously trying to figure out what to do next when in strolls Mr. Long Beard.
Oh yeah, I am shaking, ready for my shot. I'm on the gun, camera rolling, everything is perfect, except for the fact that the four jakes had already laid claim to the decoys and they were not going to allow Mr. Long Beard to take up shop and strut around.
The chase was on...the jakes put the run to Mr. Long Beard and he was gone as fast as he came. When Mr. Long Beard tried to come back, he was again chased off, and a third time.
Opening morning turned out to be an action packed no shot opportunity hunt that was left me shaking with anticipation. This why we love hunting!
Time to re-group. For our evening hunt, Mikyla rejoined us and we came up with the plan that if one of the long beards came in, Mikyla would take the shot and if the pesky jakes came back, I would take the shot with my bow.
One way or another, we were bound and determined to tag a turkey.
Here they come...jakes on parade once again strutting up our decoys! This time, I am ready, bow in hand, I take slow careful aim and let my Easton arrow fly. With a perfectly placed shot, my jake is down less than 10 feet from where my arrow passed through him. SUCCESS!!! My first archery Rio!
I felt bad for Mikyla that Mr. Long Beard never showed up that evening, but we were glad to take home dinner instead. What a great way to close out opening day of turkey season.
The next morning, with a second turkey tag in hand, Mike and I set out in pursuit of Mr. Long Beard. It was cold. Really cold...36 degrees and our breath was the only thing that was to be seen.
No turkeys, no gobbles...no bueno.
Not even one of the remaining pesky jakes will come into our calls, possibly a bit wiser from the day before when I took one of their own out of the equation.
Shortly after 10:00am Mike and I decide to abandon our location to try another spot and we get all settled in at the truck to leave when far in the distance we hear it; Mr. Long Beard gobbling.
Like a flash of lighting, we were back out of the truck, racing to set up our blind and throw up the decoys. Mad chaos had set in and the adrenaline was flowing! I could literally hear my heart beating in my ears, but no gobble.
Here comes the doubts...did he see us, did he hear us, did we bump him or do we just need to have some patience?
The sound of a tom turkey drumming his feathers is absolute music to every turkey hunters ears. The sound of Mr. Long Beard drumming his feathers had my hands shaking and my heart pounding. He was close, really close.
My camera was set up and ready to record, aimed at the decoys, so of course, he strolls everywhere but up to the decoys. Mr. Long Beard makes a giant circle around us holding strong at 80 yards but will not close the gap to our decoys.
My guess at this point is that he is scared of the jake decoy given the beat down that he had received the day before. Mike and I came to the conclusion that he simply was not going to come into the decoys. We made our move, windows went up so we could move within the blind without detection.
Once the camera was re-set and we were in position, we opened a window with the hopes that Mr. Long Beard was still there. Thankfully, he was.
Now the waiting game...he was scratching the ground just over 60 yards from me, just out of reach for my Browning BPS 20 gauge.
Here he comes, ever so slightly towards us, just enough to place him within range and unfortunately for me, he stops and struts just behind a tree. No shot.
Waiting and hoping; finally, he takes those two small steps into the open and with one gentle squeeze to the trigger, he is down. Perfect end to a perfect hunt!!!
With my tags filled, I stuck around Southern Oregon long enough for Mike to fill one of his tags with this stunning Rio. Unfortunately, I had to leave before Mikyla filled her tag but the best of luck goes out to her. I am looking forward to getting photos of her hunt success.
When it comes to turkey hunting, it just doesn't get any better than this!! Thank you Mike and Mikyla Jahnke for everything!