By Tom Beasley
It was the turkey season opener in North Carolina and somewhat chilly for April. The previous month or so was a mad dash of preparation and adjusting schedules to get away and go.
I had placed a game camera in this location during the first week of March and got many pictures of a huge flock of turkeys with three nice toms in the bunch. At night, I managed to get some deer on film. They looked like creatures from outer space due to the flash going off and making their eyes glow.
I’d set my ground blind up well ahead of time so the turkeys would be used to it by opening day. The blind was positioned against a woods line and on the edge of a secluded field.
I had invited my friend Reid Taylor to hunt with me and also to act as my cameraman. We arrived on site well ahead of sunrise and were blessed with a very still but chilly morning. He organized our gear in the blind while I set out decoys.
In the first half hour of daylight, we heard a few hens tree-yelping, followed by two separate gobbles. Around 7:10 a.m., a hen pitched down over the blind. I captured this on video, and it is a sight to behold. Milling around the decoys for a few minutes, the jenny then eased into the woods.
Twenty-five minutes later, a tom appeared at 80 yards, feeding along the woods line. He did not strut, display or gobble. After a short 10 minutes, with my blood pressure peaking and nerves shot, he started coming into the decoys and went into a half-strut. I could tell he didn’t take too kindly to the jake decoy close to HIS hens.
I drew my bow just before he passed in front of the blind opening at a mere 10 steps. As if on cue, he turned and looked right into the camera. I took this as a “smile” opportunity and released my arrow.
The shot was true, and the gobbler expired 20 yards from the blind. I gave thanks to and high-fived my cameraman friend. This was my first turkey taken with archery equipment, and I was overjoyed.
Reid asked if I was going to retrieve the bird.“He’s not going anywhere,” I answered. “Let’s sit here and see if we can’t get you one now!”
I put the bow down, moved the camera tripod closer to me, and within 30 minutes, out popped longbeard No. 2.
The tom moved in cautiously to within 30 yards. I got the camera on him and told Reid when to pull the trigger. A shot rang out, and we had a double by 9 a.m.
God bless America and the privilege to hunt!