Ol’ Crimson was completely beautiful along with his red-tipped wing feathers.

I used to be bewildered as I nocked an arrow and daybreak spilled daylight onto the attractive Wisconsin panorama. Why? Nicely, I hadn’t heard a single gobble. For the earlier two mornings, simply after sunup, a gobbler had strutted proper right here, and I totally anticipated that he’d be roosted inside 200 yards of my setup. He wasn’t.

My 2022 turkey season started out west. Birds that will reply the calls however go the wrong way gave me a touch-go. With time operating out, I anchored one with the shotgun on a spot-and-stalk mission.

After that hunt, I returned to Wisconsin and acquired issues located for the state’s youth hunt. I yearly mentor younger children — normally nieces or nephews — with turkey searching, to plant seeds within the subsequent era. My nephew and my pal’s son each nailed huge, paintbrush-bearded gobblers earlier than midday on opening morning of the youth hunt.

With all of that behind me, it was time to give attention to what I really like most about spring: Bowhunting huge Japanese gobblers in my dwelling state.

My Method

After the drawing, Wisconsin permits turkey hunters to buy one leftover tag per day starting in late March. Every tag is for a selected zone and time interval. The state has been allocating tags this manner for a lot of seasons, and it’s been confirmed to maximise alternative with out overharvesting. Nevertheless, it’s necessary on a person stage to not harvest too many birds from one space or property. I’ve discovered that “conservative harvest” means I can return to properties each spring and have birds to hunt.

Since I can’t get sufficient of spring turkey searching, I purchase a number of tags. My technique is bouncing round and getting permission on a number of completely different parcels which might be far aside. I additionally hunt on public land. All advised, I hunt in two to 3 completely different counties each spring. Once more, the concept is to unfold my harvest throughout a higher space, in order that I’ve little to no impression on anybody space.

My technique with having access to non-public floor has allowed me to satisfy a handful of salt-of-the-earth people whom I in any other case wouldn’t have — people like Farmer Kevin. I hunted Kevin’s property for the primary time in 2021, and I bowkilled a chicken there on my first try throughout Time Interval F, which is the final week of the season.

In spring 2022, I deliberate to achieve out to Kevin to see if I may hunt on his farm once more, however my Time Interval F leftover tag for the zone Kevin’s property is in didn’t validate till Could 25, so I turned distracted by my earlier tags and form of forgot about Kevin’s place in the interim.

A Sturdy Begin To The Spring

My first archery hunt was a fast one on my neighbor’s property. After having a chicken skirt me on the primary morning, I observed a flock on the opposite facet of the highway. A glance by my binos confirmed that the flock was guarded by two toms. With no strategy, I headed for dwelling to get some writing performed.

I hunted that spot the next morning. Instantly after flydown, two mouthy gobblers hammered away as they marched proper to my DSD Decoys. Two got here in. One left.

Three weeks later and greater than 20 miles away on one other property, I had one other hot-off-the-roost hunt when two roaring gobblers dropped down into the sector and beelined proper to my decoys. I picked out the strutter and thumped him with my Mathews V3X. I used to be now two for 2 with the bow.

After two profitable shotgun hunts on completely different properties far-off from the opposite properties I’d already hunted, it was time to see what was shaking at Kevin’s place.

After I drove previous Kevin’s property early the morning earlier than my F tag began, I didn’t see any turkeys within the discipline the place I’d scored in 2021. Nevertheless, method again behind his barn on the opposite facet of the highway was a darkish dot the place a freshly labored grime discipline adjoined a lush alfalfa discipline. I pulled off alongside the shoulder of the highway and scanned with my binoculars. It was a lone tom in full strut. I couldn’t put my finger on it, however one thing about him appeared completely different. I selected a landmark, in order that I’d know the place to set my blind and decoys the next morning — if Kevin was cool with me searching once more.

I known as Kevin to ensure that I may hunt on his farm. He advised me to go forward, however he mentioned that he’d given another hunters permission to hunt, too. He additionally talked about that they’d requested just a few weeks earlier however hadn’t confirmed up but. In different phrases, he didn’t know which Time Interval tags that they had. I assured him that I’d again off if I noticed the opposite hunters.

Exhibiting Up At Kevin’s

As my headlights flooded the highway that cuts between the barn and different buildings and enters the sector the place the gobbler was strutting, they illuminated the taillights of another person’s automobile. I regarded by my binoculars and distinguished {that a} pickup truck was parked simply off the sector highway within the grass. Naturally, I assumed that one other hunter had crushed me there. Barely bummed out, I backed off and went with Plan B, which was to hunt on the opposite facet of the highway the place I’d killed my 2021 gobbler.

That is the setup that yielded me an eight-yard shot on the gobbler mentioned within the article.

Issues have been quiet over there as I hiked throughout the grime discipline. I walked and known as and walked and known as. No gobbling. I made a decision to arrange anyway and name periodically for a bit bit, however to no avail. I retreated and drove by the sector I’d initially deliberate to hunt, totally anticipating to see a cheerful hunter marching off the sector with a gobbler slung over his/her shoulder.

As a substitute, the chicken was strutting proper the place he’d been the earlier morning, and I observed that the truck was nonetheless parked there. Confused, I pulled in to get a more in-depth have a look at the truck, and that’s once I planted my brow in my palm. The truck was dented and battered. It was unmistakably a farm truck that Kevin had parked and left there, not a truck belonging to a different hunter. “I may’ve killed that chicken this morning,” I muttered, as I headed for dwelling. All I may do was chortle at my easy oversight.

A Showdown With Ol’ Crimson

The next morning, I arrived at Kevin’s good and early. I unloaded my QuietKat e-bike, slung my blind, decoys, and bow onto my again, after which rode the farm highway into the sector till I used to be 100 yards from the place I wished to set my blind and decoys. I tiptoed the remainder of the best way, plugging the decoys into the grime and erecting my blind simply eight yards from the plastic birds. That brings us to the place we left off in my introduction.

Regardless that there was no gobbling, I knew I wanted to remain put. The chicken had strutted proper right here for the earlier two mornings. Would he do it once more?

A gobble interrupted my ideas half-hour later, and it got here from just under a hill within the alfalfa discipline. How issues can immediately change! I made just a few yelps with my mouth name to let him know that I used to be out within the grime, and he wolfed again. I didn’t make one other peep.

A QuietKat e-bike made for a fast, silent entry, and buzzing forwards and backwards with the chicken, blind, decoys, and bow was far simpler than on foot. Work smarter, not tougher, they are saying.

He appeared lower than 100 yards away from my blind, and the second he noticed my DSD Jake and Feeding Hen decoys, he dropped his breasts down and swaggered towards me along with his beard swinging forwards and backwards as solely totally dedicated gobblers do. I downplayed the encounter by whispering, “It’s only a chicken,” attempting to get some ice in my veins. Even after killing dozens of gobblers with my bow, I nonetheless get wound tight at any time when a gobbler is coming in scorching.

In lower than one minute, I used to be watching him at 20 yards and shutting by my peep sight. When he reached the plastic jake and commenced circling it, my pin settled completely on his proper wingbutt as he quartered towards me. Usually, I let toms beat up the decoy after which settle down earlier than taking pictures, however all the pieces was lined up so completely, and I didn’t wish to mess it up. Slowly, I squeezed my Spot-Hogg Wiseguy’s set off till the bow fired.

My arrow blasted virtually by the chicken. He ruffled up however didn’t know that he’d been harpooned as he walked on wobbly legs for 5 steps earlier than slumping to the bottom. Once more, I’ve killed quite a lot of toms, however I by no means tire of watching the present unfold at lower than 10 yards!

The Unicorn Turkey

Whereas taking just a few moments to soak within the late-Could sights and sounds, together with one other gobbler sounding off within the close by timber, I observed that my chicken exhibited uncommon plumage. So, I unzipped the blind and walked out to gather my prize.

Positive sufficient, the chicken’s wings have been extraordinarily brownish/purple relatively than the everyday sandy/grey on all the opposite gobblers I’ve taken in Wisconsin. Even the wing quills exhibited purple pigmentation. I’ve taken the wild turkey Grand Slam with my bow, and I definitely discovered it fascinating to take the Osceola, Merriam’s, and Rio Grande and see their variations in coloration. Suffice it to say that I discovered it much more fascinating to take this unicorn Japanese.

I’ve killed dozens of turkeys with my bow over time, however this one was essentially the most distinctive of all of them.

I shot plenty of pictures earlier than taking the chicken again dwelling to point out my spouse, Becca. She sees me convey dwelling a pile of turkeys each spring, however even she couldn’t imagine the weird coloration. I’m not into naming animals I hunt, however I believe I’ll name him Ol’ Crimson.

The creator, a full-time freelance outside author, printed his very first article ever within the Could/June 2009 situation of Bowhunter Journal. He and his spouse, Becca, stay in central Wisconsin.

Creator’s Notes

I bow-killed my first two toms of spring 2022 with my Mathews V3X 29. The day earlier than I went in after Ol’ Crimson, although, I used to be taking pictures some observe arrows and observed some inconsistencies. I imagine the bowstring crept, as my tune was off. So, I grabbed my Mathews V3 27 and took just a few photographs with it. It was lifeless on. I assume it pays to have a back-up bow.

I took out Ol’ Crimson with an Easton 6.5 340 Acu-Carbon arrow tipped with a Trophy Taker broadhead. I used a Spot-Hogg Quick Eddie XL sight, Stokerized stabilizer, and a Mathews UltraRest Combine MX. I hunted from a Realtree EDGE blind by Tidewe, and Dave Smith Decoys helped me get a slam-dunk shot at eight yards.

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