There was one thing, however, that constantly piqued my interest for the forthcoming season--lots of turkey sign in Oklahoma. I didn't see very many, but the long, three-toed tracks in the roads, scratchings I in the woods and the occasional distant gobble or the whop-whop-whop of big birds flying up near dark, close, but not visible, had me thinking evil thoughts about the coming spring.
As I write this, turkey season is quickly approaching, and I have been keeping an eye on them since last winter's dismal, gray woods Jr have slowly turned a bit green. Trees I are leafing out and the ever-present nasty green briars are sharpening their leg-snagging hooks. Oh, I hate those things; maybe because they trip me up all the time so I can fall into a whole bundle of it. That makes it very tough to get up.
The way I prefer to hunt turkeys is to get after them, not sit around and I wait for one (though that really does I work, it's just really not my style). I I've done enough sitting and waiting for deer. Now it's time to "run and gun" as the chasing technique is called, though to be honest (and somewhat contradictory), hunting from a ground blind with decoys is probably the best way to bowhunt Mr. Meleagris Gallopavo or any of the other subspecies one is after. I guess I just like to get after a bird that is gobbling his fool head off, close the distance (preferably late in the morning) and knock his beard in the dirt when he come slipping in.
I'll gladly shoot turkeys with a bow or shotgun. It doesn't really matter to me. My run and gun technique is a lot tougher with a bow than with my short-barreled, three-inch magnum packing a load of No. 6 shot. But it's a lot quieter, too! Several times with my bow, I've had more than one shot at a big tom that hadn't quite made me, but usually one shot is all you get. The victory is in the encounter, not the killing. I've heard that said more than once and it really is true. Maybe it's because I've killed way more than my fair share of turkeys, but if I can see him before he sees me and watch him strut and drum with his head turning crimson and white and the sun shining on his iridescent feathers, that is truly sufficient--most of the time!
Over time, I have learned there is one no-no in turkey hunting, regardless of whether you are hunting with a bow, gun or grenades. That most important thing is to never call too loudly. For an example, keep it down to audible levels just around your voice innear whispered conversational tones; a turkey's ears are incredible.
Lord only knows how many good hunts I blew by calling too loud. For instance, last season I got on a bird fairly late in the morning. He was walking back and forth on a ridge, gobbling about every fourth step. He was hotter than a firecracker! It took me a while to ease up the ridge, mostly 'cuz I don't go anywhere very fast anymore. But eventually I was in a location where I could hear him drumming, which is inside of 50 yards! Out of breath, I waited, got my heart rate down below attack level, found a perfect place to hide, nocked an arrow, sat on my knees facing the most logical area he would show from, stuck my diaphragm in my mouth, slobbered it up and let out a series of hen yelps I instantly knew was too loud, I could actually hear him running away! I think what happened was he could hear me walking through the pine needles, figured I was a turkey and headed my way, and I thought I was walking as silently as a ghost.
Wary as they are, turkeys seem to be just plain ignorant around a ground blind. I have had big gobblers standing within mere feet of the blind's window on repeated occasions. For beginners, kids, ladies and those with more brains than I have, a ground blind is the true answer to bow bagging a big ol' torn. Doing it my way is stupid.
I can't help it if I'm stupid.