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Long Bow Tom Turkey


By Paul Askew

Having filled my deer tag during the late archery season, I still had the urge to be out chasing critters and the only thing of interest was turkeys. I have had permission to hunt a small piece of property in Southern, Oregon for the last 5 years. The property has a creek on one of the Nice Turkey!property lines with several tall fir trees in which the turkeys roost. I have taken several friends and family members, most being kids, hunting on this property, and we were extremely successful the first 2 years.  However, I noticed by year 3 we had made a real dent in the male turkey population. There were still plenty of hens, but very few toms.

Last year in the spring I decided to give the property a break.  I only let the kids take 3 jakes off the property and did not hunt it at all this past spring. Other than a one day hunt last fall with my long bow, it had not been hunted in over a year and a half.

After driving past the adjoining properties on the way in and seeing a few nice sized flocks of turkeys, it appeared the decision to let the numbers grow back was a good one. I got to the property in the afternoon on Friday and met up with the land owner. She told me to use the Kawasaki Mule to take my blind and chairs up on top of the ridge where I like to set up. While driving the mule up top, I bumped a flock of 6 toms and several hens. I got the blind set up by 4:15 p.m. and decided to head back down the hill as it was going to be dark soon. As I dropped down the hill I noticed a flock of turkeys just below the large fir trees and decided to just sit and observe them fly to roost. I counted 27 fly up and there were already birds in the tree at that point. That got me excited.

The next morning, I was in blind a half hour before daylight and had set up the DSD hen decoy. As darkness gave way to light, I embraced the crisp morning air and enjoyed the variety of vocalizations that the turkeys started echoing just after the crack of dawn.

As soon as I heard the fly down cackles, I knew there were birds on the ground, so I did a few hen yelps and kee kee runs. It didn’t take long, and I had a small flock of hens moving toward the DSD. A couple of hens came up and pecked at the decoy offering me a 7 yard shot. I drew my Horne Brush Bow to anchor and focused just above the drumstick but watched as the hen flew up unscathed and saw my arrow buried in the ground. It was a clean miss. Disappointed, I watched the wary hens move off.

I let things settled down for several minutes and decided to do some yelps and purrs. I regularly looked out the peep holes in the windows of my blind and then saw a flock of 6 toms making their way to the DSD hen decoy. As the first tom approached, I talked to my self saying pick a feather. This tom was a lot bigger than the hen I had missed an hour earlier. I drew, anchored, aimed for a feather in the thigh area, and released. The Magnus Stinger 4 blade on a Gold Tip 3555 with a 50 grain brass insert did some major feather busting. The tom was down in 10 yards, and the other toms ganged up on their mortally wounded friend by kicking and pecking at him.

I was stoked to say the least. This tom has a 9 inch beard and ¾ inch spurs. I had missed a few shots on jakes and hens with my recurve and longbow over the last couple of years, and it finally came together! I feel very fortunate to have such a great and long standing relationship with the land owner. It really is nice to have a place like this to go. The best part is that this year ODFW allows for a person to harvest 2 turkeys in the general fall season, so I’m going to head back and try for a hen. With this tom on the ground, I will let the other toms walk as my family and I will enjoy calling them in next spring.