Compound Bows

The Misadventures of Miss Adventure

The Misadventures of Miss Adventure

by Janice Baer
Field Staff Coordinator, Minnesota

 

What hunting season would be complete
without some misadventures?

Certainly not mine!

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Archery Hunt 2011

Archery Hunt 2011

by Julie Hughes, ProStaff, Nevada

This four-week hunt represents a typical hunt season for me in Northeastern Nevada...

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Gettin’ Ready For Spring Turkey Hunting

Now that we are deep into winter, it’s time to start thinking about spring turkey hunting. It’ll make these “cabin fever” days seem a little more bearable.

Have you received your catalogs from Cabela’s, Bass Pro, or other such companies yet? If you have, it’s time to see if there are any new turkey hunting goodies that you think you might want or need.
Has your turkey vest seen better days? Could you use a new slate call after losing the companion striker? Have you always gun hunted turkeys sitting under a tree and now wish to try a bow from the confines of a ground blind? Perhaps a jake turkey decoy to go along with your hen decoy could be on your next sales receipt. Now is the time to dream... and buy.

Are all your turkey hunting clothes in good repair? Are they the correct size? Maybe you were diligent in your New Years resolution and you’ve lost weight. Perfect excuse to get a new outfit! Or if you’ve indulged a little more than you should have this past fall and winter, and your existing clothing doesn’t fit you, then it’s still a great excuse to buy a new outfit! In my view, either way it’s a win-win situation.
I personally hunt turkeys with a bow from my ground blind, so I am only concerned about wearing black clothing on my upper body, including a black facemask and black camo paint and black gloves. Your pants will not be seen in any way from inside a blind. And since turkeys can’t smell you, keeping your clothing scent-free is not an issue.
You will soon need to make sure all your gear is together (clothing, weapon, knife, etc) so that when you depart for the hunting grounds, you know you’ll not be forgetting anything. And for heaven’s sake, don’t forget your license!

Now is also the time to begin to track the turkeys’ daily movements so you know what their travel route is on any given day. What trees do they tend to roost in?

Take a drive around your hunting area before dawn and at dusk to hear or see where they may be roosting. Sound out an owl or bird call or other such call, to get a shock gobble from a close by tom. Even slamming a car door will produce a shock gobble so you can pinpoint what tree they might be in.

Is their first stop the neighbor’s cut cornfield for grasshoppers? Is their next stop another neighbor’s barren garden used for dusting? Do they then move on to the nearest oak savannah to search for last year’s acorn drop?

It’s a good idea to know where they might be on any given day in your hunting territory, this way you’ll have a good idea where you could set up.

I like to not only drive around the vicinity of my hunt, but to ask the people that live around the area if they’ve seen turkeys and if so, where and at what time of day. Any info I can get is greatly appreciated help.

Hopefully this has stoked your enthusiasm so you have a leg up come turkey hunting time this spring. Happy hunting!

 

Do you mind if i "super size" that?

Do you Mind if I "Super Size" that?

by Tammy Koenig, Staff Writer, Wisconsin

Giant hogs criss-crossed the forest floor of my dreams while my eyes searched for the perfect shot on a bristled razorback boar...          


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Coyote Buck: A lesson in predator management

An intrusive buzzing interrupted my deep sleep as the green glow of the alarm clock filled the cabin’s dark bedroom. Mid November not only brings early mornings in Wisconsin, but it’s typically the heart of the rut which will get any avid bowhunter’s heart pounding.

After surveying an arial map of the property, my Dad and I along with 4 other hunting buddies, selected our stands and headed out agreeing to meet back at the cabin for lunch and a “deer report”. Sitting on a small water hole on the north end of the woods, I felt confident that a big bruiser would come in for a much needed drink. Three long hours into the sit I spotted movement off to my left. I watched as an 8 pointer meandered through the downfalls, working his way towards my stand. The two year old buck needed another year’s growth so I wasn’t disappointed when he simply turned and slowly walked away from me, more interested in acorns than the water hole.

Climbing down at noon, I was puzzled with the lack of action in the woods, but it turned out to be the consensus. Three days of long, lonely sits left us all a bit bewildered. Where had all of the deer gone? It wasn’t uncommon to see over a dozen deer per sit just a couple of years ago. All of my hunting partners were reporting the same disheartening intel- the woods were very quiet this year.

After a hardy bowl of venison chili for lunch, I headed to the south end of the property to sit in a spot we call the ‘hard-to-find’ stand, situated among some thick brush and oaks. Three long hours had passed with only one forked horn buck spotted. With only 30 minutes of light remaining, I stood at the ready with my release clipped to the string. A slight crunch of leaves suddenly grabbed my attention. A brown body of a deer moved quickly through the thick brush as I pulled back my bow in case it was a buck.

Antlers appeared as the 8 pointer stepped into a small opening at 25 yards and I sent my arrow flying. My broadhead made a resounding thump, hitting the buck at a slightly quartering angle. The shot was a few inches further back than I had intended, but I felt confident the shuttle T broadhead would do its job as the buck went crashing through the trees. I waited the standard 20 minutes until climbing down and rushing back to the cabin to share my exciting news.

After dinner we donned our headlamps and began the search. Entering the woods at 7:30pm, we shined the leaves and quickly found a great blood trail where the buck had crossed an opening. Excited about the sign, we followed the trail for an hour before it started to lessen. Coming across a huge downfall, we searched left and right but the trail seemed to vanish. Backing out of the woods, we decided to resume our search in the early morning.
Resuming the search in the morning light Finding good sign
In the bright morning light we were able to pick up the trail where we left off. Scanning the downfalls, my boyfriend Jim spotted the 8 pointer’s rack lying among the branches. “There he is!” he shouted. Sprinting over to the buck, my excitement quickly turned to disgust as I realized the coyotes found my buck before we did.
A gruesome discovery Jana and half of the Wisconsin 8 pointer

From the amount of destruction, it was obvious that a pack of coyotes had dined on what was to be my year's venison. Elated to have found the beautiful buck, I couldn’t help but also feel disappointed in the waste. The answer to our question “What happened to all the deer?” was obvious. Along with back-to-back harsh winters, it was likely we were losing a large number of fawns to coyotes and other predators that have gone unmanaged on our property.
Happy to have recovered her archery kill, Jana poses with her 2010 Wisconsin 8 pointer.

Salvaging a portion of the backstraps, we fired up the grill that evening and enjoyed a wonderful venison dinner at the cabin. Raising our glasses in thanks for the harvest, we made plans for next month's hunt: a hunt that included a coyote call and a 17HMR.

 

Due Diligence

I stood there in what should have been a Kodak moment:  a brilliantly colored fall woods, the angled mid-day sun glinting through the trees, a walk in the woods for several hours, thanking God for strength and health and my many blessings and dragging a deer back to camp.  I had seen dozens of amazing looking mushrooms including a new growth of sulphur shelf on a large, dead oak tree that I later harvested.   Instead of feeling that euphoria of fall, I was feeling dejected.  I felt my eyes starting to water up but stuffed it back.  I hung my head looking at my bow against a backdrop of the mosaic of leaves on the forest floor.   I looked upward.  “Why?  Why, when given this passion for archery and hunting, and why when I prepare 110% for it, and why when everything goes right, does it end up like this?”

I’ve asked that question a hundred times about various things over my lifetime.  Today’s “Why” was not as grave as past queries, but I am serious about my bowhunting.  I come to it ready and confident.  I teach others about being fully prepared.   I have been blessed with harvests each year, but not today.

The evening before, I sat on the “black squirrel” tree stand.  I had been taunted by this wee black rodent for several days.  I have arrowed squirrels before, but ever since I saw my first black squirrel in Alabama, I have wanted to get one and have it mounted by my taxidermist.  They are very unique.  I had never seen a black squirrel in my ten years of owning my land.  The oak ridge was the black squirrel’s range and it seemed the center of that range was the oak tree in which my tree stand hung.  The critter never got closer than 30 yards, and I was not confident to shoot something that tiny at that distance.  And now there he was again.  I had debated whether to harvest him if given the opportunity, or let him procreate so I could have a herd of black squirrels and hence, better odds at killing one in the future.  That evening, the squirrel appeared, did his lap around me tree at 30-40 yards and was gone. 

Later, as I was glassing the swamp edge, I saw a very large doe approaching, as large as many bucks I’ve arrowed.   I readied my bow for the shooting window before me at 27 yards and held at full draw.  I was practiced and prepared to 50 yards this year so 27 seemed like a “gimme” shot.  Everything was going perfectly.  She stopped in the distance, I let the arrow fly, she 180’d and did the death run back north on the swamp trail.  I slumped in my stand as the flush of adrenalin consumed me head to toe.   I pulled out my binoculars and saw my arrow in the leaves just beyond where the doe stood.  “A pass-through!” I thought to myself.  Most of my shots are pass-throughs.  I knew I had hit at the center of the lung area so finding her was academic.  I waited 15 minutes for good measure, descended from my stand, strode to my arrow and then, got the “uh oh” feeling.  The arrow had no blood on the fletching so it had NOT gone through the animal.  There was no way I missed however.  I pulled the arrow out of the leaves and saw a bowhunter’s worst nightmare:  it was half an arrow with bright red blood and hair on the broken stub end.  I looked around and saw a small tree near where I shot the doe.  She must have sheared the arrow off as she spun around.   The broadhead and other half of the arrow were still in the deer.

This meant no exit wound, a plugged entry wound and no blood trail.   It also meant, the doe was dead somewhere and I might not be able to find her.  I went up the deer trail along the swamp where I saw her run.  No blood.  I went another 25 yards up the trail, and saw blood on leaves and some drops on the ground.  I was jubilant, and decided since it was getting dark, I would just go up the deer trail and surely I find her piled up nearby.   No such luck.  I decided to go back to camp, change into lighter weight clothes, drive back on the ATV with my sidearm since this was bear territory, and look again.

By now it was dark.  I returned and walked back up the deer trail and discovered a huge bear scat, bear prints and a bear trail.  If the bear had found my dead doe, he might be territorial about it.  I decided to come back in the morning instead.  Since the low would be 43 degrees that night, the doe would not spoil.

Back at 8am, I began my search at last blood.  I found 60 yards of blood trail on leaves and branches at my mid-hip level which made the wound a double lung like I thought.  She had stopped once and there was blood on the ground.  After 60 yards, the blood trail just stopped.   I backtracked in case she had back tracked to go another route.  No luck.  I marked the blood trail with florescent trail ribbon to determine her trajectory.  No luck.  I went back to last blood and noticed there were four distinct routes she could have taken.  There were many deer tracks so discerning which were hers was impossible.  One trail went west to a pocket swamp; one straight ahead north; one went on the deer trail around the tag alder swamp; and the last one went right into the thick of the swamp which was full of water and impregnable by any human.   When deer do their death run, they mostly run down hill as their life energy dissipates, and often run toward or into in a swamp.   I did concentric circles around last blood, but there was no more trail to follow.  I did a grid search of my entire north 40.  I followed every deer trail that led to thick cover areas and searched every one.   I have arrowed dozens of deer on my land, and I know where they hide, and I know where they go on their death runs.   I knew she was dead somewhere, and if I didn’t find her she would be bear and raccoon food by day’s end.  I spent 5-1/2 hours searching for the animal.

Now as it neared  2pm, I knew I was out of options.  “Why?” I had asked myself.  I would have done nothing differently with the preparation and events of these two days.  Everything went right.  I am obsessive about being prepared and practiced.   I questioned if I didn’t pull enough poundage on my bow and hence the kinetic energy was not great enough for a pass-through at distances greater than 20 yards?   I wondered if my arrow had hit a rib so it had not passed through.  It didn’t seem fair.  That’s when I got a little upset with God and had a chat with Him.

I take the harvest of an animal quite seriously.  Oh, I get excited and do the yippee yell and the happy dance with a successful harvest, but I also offer up thanks for it.    I regard bowhunting, and my expertise for doing it, as a privilege.   And I have a due diligence when taking the life of an animal, to do so humanely and to recover that animal at all costs.  I hate to give up, but in this case, I was out of options.

Too often over the years, I see hunters who are not prepared, who shoot everything that moves, who are cavalier about killing and who don’t look longer than a few minutes for an animal after they shoot one.  When we teach Firearm Safety, we call them “slob hunters.”    Some give up looking for an animal after the shot, because they are afraid of the ‘boogie man’ out there in the woods.  Some can’t find or read a blood trail, or are just too lazy to look.  There is no excuse for lack of due diligence in searching for that which you’ve shot or killed.   We all want to find what we worked so hard to get.  It’s a matter of ethics.

I had to go home empty-handed this time, which is unsettling.  Each time I’ve been in that area of my land since, I have looked again, hoping to find the other half of my arrow, or a deer skull.  The ones that get away seem to be the ones we remember the most.

 

Bear Hunt

September 1, 2010

It is with great anticipation that I await the fall season, because to me, it isn’t about the falling leaves, the changing colors, the beauty of the mountains and the bugling of the elk, although they all pump my blood.  To me, it is about pulling my quiver out and finding out which tag I get to hunt.  I shoot year-round with my Hoyt, so being prepared and accurate isn’t a problem.  I have 12 Robin Hoods (an arrow shot inside an arrow)! I’ve also taken a buffalo, big bull, deer and mountain lion to my credit.  But being a good shot and getting a good shot at a critter are two different things.

This past year, I had two tags.  I was fortunate to draw a deer tag and a bear tag.  I wanted to fill my deer tag first so I could concentrate on my bear tag.

On the opening weekend, we pulled the camper up to the top of the canyon and camped.  My husband and I hunt public land.  There were people everywhere.  I’ve never seen so many people!  I have a few favorite places that I like to walk.  So bright and early, we drove the four-wheeler even higher and Robert let me off the bike.  I hiked up and over the top.  I like to peek into the spots where deer frequent.  I saw a couple of does.  The other side was really steep.  My boots were killing me.  My toes were crammed and it felt and if I would have been better off with two-by-fours strapped to my feet.  I felt clumsy and noisy.  I kept falling down.  I didn’t see anything on the other side.  When I made it to the wheeler trail, I was there before Robert, so I started walking down the trail, but at least it was easier to be sneaky.  Robert got there a short time later and I got on the bike.  No sooner had I gotten on the bike when I spotted two really nice 4x4 deer only 30 yards away!  I jumped off the bike and went backwards down the trail.  The deer didn’t seem to notice.  Robert and I made a plan and we parked the bike and split up.  We made a stalk on the deer.  Two hours later, we joined up at camp. We went back a couple of times over the weekend, but we never did see those deer again.

We both had to go back to work on Monday.  We hunted hard after work.  I would come home from work and switch out from my dress and skirt and put on my camo in record time and be hunting within 15 minutes!  It was like that on my lucky day.  We spotted a nice 4x4 just east of our little town, and I was trying to get a shot at him.  There was another nice deer that was more unique than he was big.  He had a spike on one side that looked like an elk and the other side was a three point.  I had decided I would take whichever buck presented the shot.  It happened to be the three-point.  He was 40 yards away.  He was with another very small buck.  He finally presented a quartering away shot and I let my arrow fly.  SMACK!  He took off running hard.  It was the run that makes you think you hit him in the heart.  But I heard the string hit my jacket.  I waited for a couple hours before I started to track him out.  I could see eyes in my flash light and I started running toward them.  I got really close and found out it was a skunk!  All of a sudden, I was the one being chased!  I was really lucky that I didn’t get spayed!  I had to go back to the blood trail and start over.  I was able to recover my buck and took some pictures.  When I went to clean him, I discovered that when my string had hit my jacket, the arrow went right and hit his leg.  It had also severed both his testicles and his femoral artery.  My husband said, “No wonders he ran like you hit him in the heart!” I got lucky.  We loaded him up and took him home.  I made a mental note to make sure that didn’t happen again.

The bear hunt started one week after the deer hunt.  During the summer, I had already started my “stink” bait.  I took a bucket and put some meat into it.  I put a lid on it and let it sit out in the hot sun and ferment.  I knew that it would stink by now.  Opening morning, I took a burlap sack and the bucket of stink and went up the mountain with my first bag of donuts.  I had my COR permit from the division with all the proper bait station signage.  I arrived at the site where I planned to put my first bait station.  I got off the wheeler and packed the supplies through the dark timber to the perfect place.  I spent some time to gather some logs and build a “V” around a tree so that the bear would present me a shot.  Then I put the donuts inside the “V”.  I put my trail tracker camera on the tree.  I dumped the stinky goo into the burlap sack and tied it shut and then pulled it high into a tree.  Yes!  It stunk!!  I wanted to throw up!  It should draw bears from 100 miles!   Lastly, I stapled the sign on the tree and then left.  

I waited until the next day to sit in the tree stand.  I could hardly stand the anticipation.  Finally, my moment had come!  I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.  As I sat there waiting for the bear to come in, the silence was unnerving.  The chipmunks and squirrels were having a hey-day.  Every time, they dropped a pine cone, my heart rate bumped up another notch!  My daughter sat behind me with the video camera.  We waited five hours and nothing.  We went home empty handed.  The trail tracker camera said the bear came in nine minutes after we left the tree stand!  I waited two days and went back.  This time, my husband sat behind me with the camera.  His plan was to wait until 6:30, if the bear didn’t come in, he was leaving and making a lot of noise.  At precisely 6:30, that is what he did.  He planted the camera on the chair where I had been sitting and aimed it at my donut pile.  I stood up and hid behind the tree and stayed in the tree stand while he left and made a lot of noise.  Almost ten minutes later, here came my bear.  He didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned that I might still be there.  As soon as he slid that front shoulder forward toward the bait, I pulled back to full draw and let the arrow fly.  Perfect hit at ten yards!  He did three somersaults and a back flip and ran from my view.  I heard two humongous deep breaths and then silence.  No death moan. I waited for a while and then called my husband on the cell phone.

We wandered around for a little while and didn’t find any blood. We decided to go back in the morning and look when there was better light.  I couldn’t sleep.  If the $10 lighted nock would have stayed lit, I probably could have seen it from my tree stand, because that bear didn’t go 30 yards and my arrow was standing straight in the air!  What a glorious morning!  What a great bear!

 

Doubler from a Double Bull Blind

The crisp morning air was charged with the sounds of spring turkey.  From the blind’s pitch-black interior, the calls from a dozen longbeards could be heard echoing throughout the canyon.  Sitting in complete darkness, heightened my senses and my anticipation grew with every amplified gobble.  The eerie feeling of sitting alone in the dark woods was something that I have grown accustomed to from many years of bow hunting whitetail deer. But this hunt was different in many ways.  Not only was I pursuing turkey from a ground blind, but for the first time in two decades of hunting, I had company in the form of a cameraman.  With only the dim glow from our headlamps, we each got situated for our perspective shots.

I had hopes of capturing my first bow hunt for turkey on film among the hills of Nebraska, home to the beautiful Merriam turkey.  I’ve had success with my bow over the last 17 years with deer hunting but only recently did I discover the allure of turkey hunting. Luck has definitely been a friend of mine in the woods of Wisconsin. Three years ago in my first attempt at a Wisconsin Eastern turkey,  I triumphed.  There’s nothing like dropping the hammer on the old 12 gauge within the first 30 minutes of light.   When the exact same scenario occurred during my second spring season opener  I thought, “Wow! Turkey hunting’s a piece of cake!”.  My luck ran dry however when my third year went by without the slightest glimpse of a bird.  So when a friend of mine extended the invitation for a filmed hunt at the Gobble-N-Grunt Outfitters in Nebraska, I couldn’t let the nine-hour car ride stand in my way.

Shadows began to appear as the morning light made its way into the canyon.  We were situated in a Double Bull Blind on the edge of a creek bottom.  Protected by the rolling hills, we were confident that, despite the forecasted windy day, the turkeys would be using our front yard as their strut zone.  After spending the previous evening scouting out this area, we knew that we had set up camp close to their roosts.   Cameraman Jim Kinsey, a professional videographer and the Director of Photography for the Magnum Hunt Club, was ready for any scenario that might come our way.  By using a high-end microphone, Jim could pick up sounds inaudible to the naked ear as he listened to the first of many birds pitch down.

With our realistic Hazel Creek hen decoy, ‘Hazel,’ positioned in front of the blind, I got excited as our first visitor appeared.  A bearded hen walked through and found our decoy interesting as she paraded in circles around ‘Hazel’  making a cooing noise.  At the same time, we spotted a bird in full strut coming in from our left.  My heart began to race as I clipped on my True Fire release and got into position. Just then I heard the whisper, “Stand down.  It’s only a jake.”  The young bird, seemingly curious, came trotting in. Jim recognized his two slightly shorter tail feathers, a sure sign of youth.  We watched the jake contemplate his next move.  After a ten minute stay, he finally decided she just wasn’t his type.

An hour of light had passed and a few distant gobbles could still be heard.  We tried some attempts on the slate call but the woods had quieted down from the earlier concert.  The wind had picked up, possibly causing the longbeards to hunker down.  Another lone hen waltzed in to check out the competition.  She stood right next to the decoy preening her feathers.  Losing interest, she eventually meandered off toward the creek bottom.

It was around 10:00 am when I looked over at Jim behind the camera.  He quickly flew upright in his chair and put his hand on his headset, signaling something exciting.  “Get ready!  I hear drumming!”   Jim peeked out his side of the blind only to see a big tom alongside a hen about 30 yards away.  Being positioned on the left side of the blind, I couldn’t see in that direction but the look on Jim’s face said enough.  This was the one!  With the camera rolling, I pulled back on my new Hoyt Kobalt in hopes of the big bird presenting a shot.  Suddenly, there he was in full strut, dragging his wing tips on the ground and drumming up a storm.  My heart was pounding strong as I had never seen a longbeard in full strut that close before.   Just then a big gust of wind blew up the dust around the old bird and I let my Rage broadhead fly.   We heard to the thud of the arrow and saw feathers fly as he flew up and made a big loop landing 30 yards away by a downfall.  “You got him! We got him!” Jim exclaimed as I sat shaking as if a Pope&Young whitetail just dropped under my stand.  The excitement I felt was obvious as my bow bounced on my knee from sheer adrenaline .  “Are you sure he’s down?  I’ve heard turkeys are really resilient!  Are you sure I got him good?” were all exclamations caught on tape.  The tom was down but we gave him a few minutes to prevent a last, ditch effort escape on his part.  Upon further inspection, my first turkey bow kill was not only a beautiful Merriam hybrid but an old one at that.  He sported a nice, full beard and long, sharp spurs.   I could not have been more excited but we didn’t have much time to celebrate as more gobbles rang out close to our position.

It was my turn to hop behind the camera in hopes of capturing a double kill on film.  With a turkey tag burning a hole in his pocket, Jim gave me a few quick lessons on the video camera as we traded seats.  I knew there were numerous birds still in our area but would a shot present itself; that was the question!

An hour had passed with little action.  The only calls we heard were from inside the blind, as the slate and box call produced no response.  We agreed that a nice, hot lunch back at camp sounded inviting so we stood up, getting ready to head out.  At that very moment the sounds of fighting longbeards could be heard off to our immediate right.  Like two kids playing musical chairs, we flew back down in our seats and scrambled to prepare for a showdown.  From a slit in the blind, I could see a group of five toms headed toward us through the woods.  It was apparent that they were not going to pass right in front of the blind but if they came out into another opening, Jim would have a 25 yard shot.  He pulled back his bow and I focused the camera at the opening just as two toms stepped out.  The arrow flew straight, striking the second bird plum center.   He ran a few yards showing signs of a mortal hit, disappearing into the creek bottom and out of our sight. 

“Follow me!” Jim leapt from the blind with his bow in tow.  The Rage expandable broadhead performed to perfection as we recovered the marinated arrow at the scene of impact.  Standing on the ridge, we scanned the woods for his downed bird.  Suddenly sounds of a brutal fight broke out across the creek.  I was unaware that when a longbeard is wounded, the other competing toms will commence an attack and finish the kill.  We raced down the ridge, through the creek and up the other side as huge pine limbs slapped us in the face.  We followed the sounds of the battle, belly crawling under the pines trying to get close enough to assess the situation.  Knocking another arrow, Jim stood up and drew back.  He spotted his bird laying on the ground as the other toms paraded around the body.  The deal was sealed as the second arrow struck, scattering the attacking gang.  Upon closer inspection of Jim’s bird, it turned out the nail in the coffin was actually the first arrow, causing a mortal wound in his chest.  After catching our breath and many high fives, we headed back to the blind to grab my longbeard and take some pictures of our successful morning.

Pulling up to camp, our big smiles spoke for themselves.  We had successfully gotten our “double” and shared our morning’s hunt over a fantastic home-cooked lunch.  According to James Brion, owner of Gobble-N-Grunt Outfitters, my longbeard was a 4.5 year old bird and the oldest tom taken so far that season.  His spurs measured 1.25 inches.

There are so many times when the shot just doesn’t present itself or the weather interferes with a hunt.  As all hunters know, it rarely happens as one might think it should.  I love the unpredictability of hunting but when it all comes together like it did that Nebraska morning, I couldn’t feel more grateful as luck was on my side once again!  And to be able to relive that amazing ‘doubler’ hunt while watching it on video makes it all the more exciting.

I replayed every minute of the hunt in my mind on the nine hour drive back to Wisconsin.  In my window, a big smile reflected back at me as I pictured the necklace I wanted to make from the impressive spurs I collected.  I laughed out loud while replaying images in my mind’s eye of belly crawling under thick pine trees trying to avoid losing Jim’s bird.  To think I almost didn’t go because of the long drive also made me laugh.  Rest assured, I am already marking my calendar for next year.