Gave Hope a makeover. The rug and strike plate were wore real bad so I replaced them and the string was still the original and some broken strands that made real nervous so I put her new string on her and will get out to shoot her later tonight.
-------------------- TGMM Family of the Bow For hunting to have a future, we must invest ourselves in future hunters.
quote:Originally posted by Killdeer: Wonderful time of year to be out with a bow! Love the ladyslipper. You are a lucky guy to have habitat like that to hunt, and to know it as well as you do. Thanks for telling the story.
Remember the story? Get on with it! Killdeer
Sorry guys, the delay wasn't intentional. I was writing and realized it was 11:20PM and I wanted to get up early the next morning for my last hunt with Hope and after that I've been slammed. Been on the road for work and my new water heater broke Tuesday night, etc. Killdeer, I'm well aware of how blessed I am and am dreading the day my Great Aunt passes and the property will be divided. I just wish my kids could grow up hunting it like I did. Now where was I?
I'm in position and as it get's light I do a couple of soft yelps just to let him know I'm in the area. I get an answering gobble from the west - not where I'm expecting him to be. This gobbler sounds like he's on the creek that feeds the beaver pond. I can only hope he's an add on and not the gobbler I'm set up for. But all newcomers are welcome.
At 6:07 AM I look across the plowed field and see my intended target in the edge of the grass. Using the wingbone call I forgot the day before I gave a yelp. He gobbled a response. I yelped back and he gobbled again. He went into strut. The problem is he's over 100 yards away. I tried to snap a picture and the flash goes off, not smart. I'm still not used to the camera they included with the bow but it's small size made it nice to carry. That's the tom directly above the jake decoy.
He struts back and forth for a while and eventually starts heading my way, but not directly. He follows the edge of the field which takes him to my left. When he's about 65 yards away (about where the twig on the left edge of the picture bisects the grass edge) he starts to strut some more, trying to get the attention of my hen decoy.
I do a little purring on my slate call to reassure him. He moves into about 35 yards and goes into full display mode. I can hear him spit but not drum (I'm sure he's doing it but I just can't pick out the sound from the background noise of the dawning woods). At this point I try one more picture with the flash turned off. Too low a light and its blurred. I put the camera away and concentrate on the task at hand. I watch him strutting back and forth and resist the urge to call anymore. He's hooked and I don't want to spook him. I'm hoping he thinks the hen won't leave the jake. At this point it would be over if I was shotgun hunting but he had a lot of yardage still to cover before I could take my shot. He finally starts to angle my way. Each time he would reach the top of a row he would go into strut and then come out of it as he walked down into the furrow. Inflate - Deflate - Inflate - Deflate. It's fun to watch and his head is pure white by now.
He gets to the grass edge on the side of the field I'm on and he's about 20 feet to the left of my jake decoy. He goes into full strut and starts walking down the edge of the field. He looks like a walking McKenzie target and I'm picking a feather to shoot in case I get my chance. Still in full strut he walks just behind my jake. He gets to the row almost exactly center between my two decoys and straight in front of me. He turns his back to me and comes out of strut. I draw back Hope and pick a spot on his back. Sitting on the ground I have to cant the bow a little. I release....and feel a tug on my bow arm. I watch my arrow soar past the tom 3" to his right. He clucks and looks around. I slowly grab another arrow. He starts walking away slowly. By the time I have another arrow on string he's about 25 yards away and still moving. I resist the urge to launch another arrow at him. He's too alert and the distance too far. I call to him on my wingbone and he gobbles. I call again. He gobbles again. He goes into half strut but lets back down again. He's nervous. Something happened and he's not sure what. I call again and he gobbles again. He's still edging away. He get's about 40 yards away and starts pecking. I call again. He cuts off my call with a gobble. This continues for the next 15 minutes! I actually got a blister on my lips from all the calling I did and he always gobbled. I knew I had lost him but was just having fun. Eventually I got tired, and blistered, and stopped calling. I wondered if that other tom I had heard earlier was hearing all this and would come to investigate. He finally headed back into the grass where he came from and out of sight. I usually shoot my bow perpendicular but having forgotten my stool and torges seat I was sitting on the ground. If I had risen to a kneeling position I could have shot like I normally do but I was trying to stay below my blind as much as possible. This forced me to cant my bow. I have practiced shooting with a cant but what I hadn't done was trim my ghillie suit to accomadate a canted shot. The strands on my bow arm that are normally out of the way came in contact with the bowstring and fouled my shot. To correct this I used my arm guard, in addition to the arm guard that came with Miss Hope, to wrap my upper arm and gather all strands on my suit. I thought I had considered everything, clearing brush and test drawing for clearance but had overlooked this one item. No fault of Miss Hope.
After 30 minutes I call again on the wingbone trying to attract some other tom that had been interested by my earlier conversation with Tom#1, and from the general direction the first tom had gone I got a responding gobble. He was interested but he wasn't coming, she'd have to follow. Smart bird.
After awhile I moved on to an oak lot and once again had swans fly overhead. They must be migrating north as I doubt the ponds on the farm are big enough for them. I don't hear any more gobbles and after awhile I head to another field that toms often come to mid-morning to strut and dust. It's hot by now and although I see plenty of sign my calls get no response and nothing shows. My hunt is over for the weekend and I know it. I head back to the front of the property. My father will be back to pick me up in about an hour and I thought I'd try calling in an area I hadn't been in all week. After about 30 minutes I decide just to lie down in the shade and wait for my ride. It's a beautiful, almost summer-like day. A hammock would be perfect. But rain clouds are on the way. We leave and hit some rain on the way west to our homes. Two days later a tornado touches down within 5 miles of our hunting lodge and snaps the treetops and takes the roof off of a nice man's house who has let us hunt turkeys on his farm a few years back. It's the only damage in the area. Suffolk, my old hometown, didn't fare as well, with a possible 10 tornadoes hitting the area more familiar with hurricanes than tornadoes. I try to slip in a couple of pre-work hunts on Thursday and Friday. Thursday I go directly behind work wear I killed my shotgun tom. I see a couple of hens in the field in front of me and hear even more in the woods behind me. I also see a couple of deer kick each other. But no tom. Friday I went on to National Forest land to an area I've had close encounters with birds year after year but not this year. My last morning I go up the mountain behind my house and try some calling. I had over slept a little (stayed up too late posting ) and was late getting out in the woods. I wanted to get to a saddle before light but it was well light before I got there. The ground is torn up from turkeys scratching for that last acorn. My property goes to just at the crest. I have permission to hunt the adjoining property to my right and it also follows the ridgeline. I go that way until I come to a fenceline. Calling to the bottom below I get a gobbling response. It sounds like its in the cowfield below, probably well over 100 yards away. I can't go to him so I call some more. He sounds farther this time. I set up my decoy and sit down in a good ambush site. I've got on two armguards and I'm kneeling this time. Another gobble comes from below, this time sounding closer. I answer. After a pause another gobble, again fainter. He's struting back and forth, sometimes facing me sometimes with his back to me. Each time he gobbles I answer. Other than that I'm quiet, except for an occasional cluck like a feeding hen. (I'm not sure if my calling strategy is the best and those with more knowledge feel free to point out what I do wrong) After awhile I know I need to leave if I'm going to get Miss Hope to the post office before it closes. I head towards home, occassionally yelping like a saddened hen who must reluctantly leave her tom. He doesn't follow.
I enter my final journal entry and pack Miss Hope away. My son rides down to the post office with me and we send Miss Hope off to VT to continue the chase of birds. I really appreciate the opportunity to share this fine bow with others and the meaning she has for St Judes, a charity that has a special place in our hearts having been recipents of their care; spending our last days with Jesse there. Enjoy her and hunt well David.
Thanks for the stories Talondale. Well told and had me on the edge of my seat. Thank you.
-------------------- "A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke of his axe he is writing his signature on the face of his land." - Aldo Leopold - Posts: 678 | From: Sinking Creek, VA | Registered: May 2005
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quote:Originally posted by Talondale: I enter my final journal entry and pack Miss Hope away. My son rides down to the post office with me and we send Miss Hope off to VT to continue the chase of birds. I really appreciate the opportunity to share this fine bow with others and the meaning she has for St Judes, a charity that has a special place in our hearts having been recipients of their care; spending our last days with Jesse there.
Wow Chuck, I'm trying not to cry as I read your post.
Man, what can I say, except maybe, God bless you and your family.
Posts: 1282 | Registered: Feb 2007
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