First Turkey Hunt, for
both of Us
By Donnie Rodriguez
2004, Tammy (my wife) and I were at our archery club’s banquet. As the
event was winding down one of our friends,
Brandon offered to hold a
drawing to hunt wild turkey on his ranch in Menard Co., Texas.
Tammy and I both have
wanted to add a turkey to the list of game animals we want to harvest
together as a team.
We put in our ten-dollars and entered our names for the drawing. Our archery club kids were
called to draw the tickets
out of the plastic container. Names were
called one by one. About half way through the drawing Tammy had her name
called. Yeah! She is going on her first turkey hunt. Then the next ticket
came out and my name was called. Wow, we
both are going! We were pretty
excited and couldn’t wait until the weekend of April 16th. This
was going to be our first
turkey hunt ever!
We kept watching the
calendar and counting down the days…by Easter weekend our hunt was right
around the corner.
Thursday (April 15th)
we packed up our gear, after work, and were headed to Brandon’s ranch. We
arrived at the ranch
house by 10p.m., unloaded our things and joined our
other friends, Roy “Ol Man”, Steve “Flinger”, Hunter (Steve’s son),
David “Bowwiz” and Missy, around the campfire.
Around 1A.M., the few of
us that decided to stay up late decided to turn in.
Friday morning the alarm
sounded at 5:30. Tammy and I got up to shower before going out to the
stand. The weather
was very nice but windy. After donning on out hunting
cloths and gathering out equipment we headed to our ground blind.
We settled in and began
to watch as dawn awoke the sleeping animals. The Toms were gobbling before
sunrise and we
couldn’t wait until out first encounter with “Ole Tom.” We
could hear the turkeys gobbling behind us 50 yards. I tried to coax
turkey to come closer, but the wind was not doing anything to help us.
The wind was blowing at our backs and I don’t
see how they could hear our
We sat until 9:30 that
morning but we never saw a turkey come into our area so we headed back to
the ranch house.
An hour later we headed back out to make a repair to the
feeder. As we topped the hill and looking in the food plot,
stand was located next to, we could see a hen. Of course she saw us and
took off. We fixed the feeder and
cruised over to other feeders around the
ranch to make sure they were all working and fill turkey feeders.
We went to Brandon’s
blind and we ran off 5 good Gobbles. We filled the feeders and left.
We went back to the ranch
house, had lunch, and decided to take a nap. But first we needed to have a
“Ol Man” and his son “Flinger” had connected. Two birds
down, both were about 20 pounds and “Ol Man’s” bird had a
“Flingers” Tom had a 10” beard.
An hour or so later
everyone begins getting ready to head back out. Tammy and I sat until
sunset. Nothing, again! No
birds but plenty of gobbling all around us.
Tammy and I were a little
discouraged. I figured this was going to be a good spot because, during
the winter I sat there
and saw over 30 birds under the feeder. However,
nothing was coming in now.
We left empty handed
again. We got back to camp and our story didn’t change. “Ol Man” pulled me
aside and offered us
his blind for the Saturday evening hunt, if we didn’t
get anything the next morning.
Saturday morning came and
went with the same results…NOTHING!
We left by 8:30am and in
no time we were at camp. We were assisting in cooking breakfast when
others began coming
in from their morning hunts. Everyone got skunked. The
gale force winds we were having had grounded our birds.
After breakfast we
milled around. We headed to “Ol Man’s” blind and two gobbles ran off. We
settled in and sat from
11am until the heat was unbearable and left around
We didn’t see anything
after the two Toms ran off so we headed to camp.
As we approached camp we
saw that some of the hunters were fishing at the creek. We parked our
truck and walked
down to see if anyone was catching anything. They were
skunked and we didn’t feel so bad.
A couple of hours later
we were off to hunt again. We eased up to “Ol Man’s” stand and after Tammy
had a fight with
a cactus, we settled into the stand.
I helped my lovely wife
pick the embedded cactus thorns out of her backside (talk about a Kodak
moment) and as we
finished a hen walks up to the feeder 12 yards away.
Tammy is up to shoot
first. She is waiting for a gobbler. 15 minutes later the hen leaves but
is replaced by a bearded hen.
She looks and asked me, “Should I shoot it?”
I quickly tell her that is up to you. But I’m thinking I don’t want to get
for anything if you shoot the hen and gobblers
from the brush behind us.
Tammy holds out. She
turns and looks to the right and blurts out,
“Oh MY GOD!” I look out one
of the windows of the ground blind
and see a red head bobbing, behind some
small brush that runs
along the fence. The Gobbler looks huge, but I can’t
else. As he clears the bushes I can see he has a 12” to 13”
He is an old Tom and wanting to be on our side of the fence.
old Tom just paces the fence. Two other Toms come out
and both fly over
the fence and begin eating grain we poured out.
Ol Tom keeps pacing back
and forth. He finds a hole in the fence
but he is big that he can’t get
After about 10 minutes
Tammy decides that she will shoot one
of the other gobblers, on our side
of the fence that is feeding
less than 10 yards away. He gives her an
opportunity to take
a shot. I steady the video camera on the Tom. As I
could see the turkey turn.
I then heard Tammy draw her Renegade Alpha-1 bow. She steadied the Copper
John Sight pin on the bird’s chest. She
pulls her trigger on her Tru-Fire
release and sends her Beman 400 carbon arrow that is tipped with a
90-grain Muzzy 4-bladed
broadhead and grasshopper sailing!
Frame 1: Arrow is released and is visible Frame 2:
Arrow is flexing during flight
Frame 3: Arrow is almost there Frame 4: Arrow
penetrates and Lumenok is lit.
The turkey is hit just under the wind bone and feathers fly everywhere.
The Tom jumps and flaps his wings. I kept
rolling video for a couple of seconds more and stop.
I stopped filming and
bailed out of the stand. The Tom is in flight and I loose him going over
the mesquite trees.
I run but he is gone!
We look for a few
minutes and then review the video. Other than the wind not being broken it
was a good hit.
Tammy was a very
upset and heart broken since she lost her first ever turkey.
We get back in the
blind and I tell her to get her stuff ready. I wanted her to get one
But Tammy tells me to get
my bow and stands up. I wanted her to get hers first but I wasn’t going to
say no to the offer.
In a short time I
was in position. The turkeys start towards the fence but hang up 40 yards
We tried to call but they
were not coming any closer.
I looked out of the
window to my left and saw three gobblers walking to the turkey feeder. I
picked a good one and positioned
myself in a good kneeling shot.
Tammy gets the video
camera ready and begins filming. One of the turkeys moves from left to
right and sticks his
head in the barrel to pick up some grain. I thought
when he does that again I will shoot. Now’s the time Tom is
he is broadside.
I draw my Renegade “NugeBow”, steadied my Copper John Sight pin on the
left wing which covered his chest.
I open my fingers and release the string; sending my Easton XX78 2315
shaft tipped with a 100 gr. Muzzy 4-bladed
broadhead and grasshopper towards the long beard.
Off the string Frame 2: In flight Frame 3: Almost there
Just before impact
Frame 5: Impact
Frame 6: Penetrates breaking
the wing bone.
He falls Frame 8: Nothing but the 12 ring.
Thwack! Feathers fly
everywhere…a repeat of just what happened 20 minutes ago.
bird jumps straight up and when he hits the ground he doesn’t move
anything but his
head. Then all of a sudden the two other Toms that were
with him start attacking him.
I thought he might run off trying to avoid
his attackers and started after him. As I
unzipped the blind the two other
birds take off. I retrieve my bird.
I told Tammy we should
stay and see if they will come back, but she was ready to
leave the blind
and continue looking for her bird.
We loaded up our gear and
headed to camp to try and find some extra eyes
to look for the turkey
Tammy shot. After getting to camp we showed “Flinger” the
tape and he
agree it was a good hit. We hurried out before dark to look more for
Tammy’s Gobbler. We looked for 30 minutes more but still nothing. After
almost stepped on a 6’+ rattle snake we called off the search.
We headed off and began
taking some pictures of my bird along with the bird “Flinger” shot.
After the photo shoot we
were ready for the mudbug (crawfish) boil and campfire chat.
Sunday morning was
uneventful and by 9:00 A.M. we ended the hunt, clean up and head home to