Friday, May 4, 2012

Turkey Success

Last year, Seth was on his way to winning a North Carolina state championship in lacrosse with Northwest Guilford High School.  Seth is just like any other high school teenage boy.   School, sports, work and girls occupy his time.  This year, Seth detoured from his routine.  Prior to the lacrosse season, he injured his leg.  Sports would take a back seat.  When one door shuts, another opens.

Seth’s family has loved the outdoors and hunting; particularly bowhunting.  Seth’s father David works with Gander Mountain.  Seth and his brothers have taken swans with the bow and bowfish regularly.  With the injury and the extra time Seth normally does not have, he figured this may be the year to hit the field during turkey season for a change.

Seth’s younger brother Matthew would get the first opportunity at a turkey this season.  Matthew is under 16 years old, allowing him to hunt during the youth only day.  Matthew had an exciting day, getting a tom to come in close for a shot.  Matthew used a guillotine broadhead.  The guillotine is specifically designed with four long blades used to cut the turkey’s neck.  Unfortunately, Matthew connected on the tom’s chest, and the arrow simply bounced off.

On the regular opening day of turkey season, Seth would get a late start.  The hunt was more of a spur of the moment decision.  Seth and his girlfriend Brittany would head to one blind and set up, while his father and brother Austin would set up in another.  He quickly placed the decoy his father had made and waited in the blind.

About an hour had passed as Seth and Brittany were playing games on the cell phones.  There was no action in the field.  It was getting late and boredom was setting in.  Out of the corner of Seth’s vision, he spotted some movement.  A strutting tom!

Brittany was beside herself.  She had never been close to a live wild turkey.  The noises were unique and strange.  The tom thumped, gobbled and flared his tail feathers.  He was not real happy to see the strange bird occupying his territory.  Seth too was overcome with excitement.  He quickly grabbed his Matthews Monster with 64 pounds of draw weight.  He was not using a guillotine like his brother.  He was using a Rage 3 blade expandable broadhead.  This is designed to fly true and open the blades upon impact with the target.

Seth drew back the arrow and released.  The bird jumped.  It was a clean miss.  Seth could not even recall whether he aimed at the bird.

Fortune was with Seth.  The gobbler just grew angrier and flared his tail once again.  It approached the decoy once more, this time attacking it without abandon.  Seth reached for another arrow to nock.  The dominant tom began ripping feathers from the decoy.  Seth’s mind raced with emotion, thoughts and concerns.  First, if he did not shoot this turkey quickly, his father was going to be furious.  The spurs were shredding the decoy.  Again, this decoy was made, not bought.

Second, this was his chance.  The bird did not scare off.  It was only 10 yards away.  This would be his first big game animal taken with the bow.  His girlfriend was beside him witnessing the hunt; experiencing the hunt.  The defining moment was now.

Lastly, he had to calm himself down.  Adrenaline could do strange things.  Accustomed to pressure from sports, including the pressure associated with winning a state championship, Seth’s adrenaline allowed him to think quickly and maintain control.  He took a deep breath.  He visualized the vital area available at the angle the gobbler was situated.  Then he released his second arrow.

The bird dropped.  No flutter.  It just dropped.  Seth started out of the blind.  The bird jumped, running…no staggering sideways.  The tom toppled over.  Its wings flapped as it tumbled.  Seth was not going to let the bird get away and then…

It fell one more time.  It was down for good.  Brittany had tears in her eyes.  Not from the death, but from the sheer excitement and emotion involved.  Seth assessed the situation.  It was over.  He had taken his first turkey.  He took it with a bow, with someone he cares about experiencing it with him.  He missed his senior year of lacrosse, but he made memories anyway.

The tom measured 7/8in spurs, 10 ½in beard and weighed 21 pounds.


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