Steve Bemke, MO
Friday night was my first trek into the woods since the Missouri archery season opened up 4 days prior. The temperature had reached into the 80s and the mosquitos were happy to see me. I sat perched over a bean field in hopes of having one of the many nice bucks on the trail cameras stroll by, but the night ended without a deer in sight.
Saturday morning, I switched things up and headed to a new stand location, known as the "hole stand". It overlooks a cedar ridge and is located just inside the tree line bordering an open clover field. The morning was warmer than I had hoped, and the mosquitos were in thick supply, yet I still was anxious to see what might come my way.
Early on, a single hen yelped down the ridge. I didn't think much of it and simply waited to see how things would pan out. The hen proceeded to softly help off and on as the morning slowly progressed.
I finally broke down and decided to reach into my pack and find my mouth call. I figured she was alone and looking for some company. Just as I reached into my pack, another hen answered close by just up the hill behind me. I looked closely, but she was no where in view yet. I slipped my call into my mouth and began to call.
Quickly each hen answered and one by one, more and more turkeys began to call below me. Everything from clucks, purrs, yelps and cackles. With in no time, I was covered up with a flock of hens running around the cedars, chasing each other and fighting as they established a pecking order.
All I could do is wait. The hens were 40-60 yards out in thick cover. My best chance for me to close the door was hope they decided to feed out into the field to my right. All of a sudden, a single hen had chased three younger hens through the woods closer to my stand. When they stopped, they slowly began to walk my way. My heart started to pound, as it looked like things were going to go my way.
Eventually, the hens walked to my right with in 20 yards of my set up. The cedars were thick so I had to wait until they got into the field where I had cut a shooting lane that would give me up to a 30 yards shot. After what seemed like an eternity, one of the hens was about to step into view.
I drew back my Hoyt and waited for her to walk into my 20 yard pin. As if she read the script, she stopped broadside and I unleashed my arrow. With a quick thwack! the hen rolled over where she was standing and fell dead on the spot. You would have thought she was hit with a 10 gauge, but I knew with my Hoyt bow and Rage broadheads, it was a deadly combination.
I became much more relaxed after she went down. In a single moment, I watched the other two hens begin to peck at their fallen comrad. My whisper quiet Hoyt left no indication I was there. I quickly nocked my next arrow, drew, and placed my pin on the next hen. Only this time, when I shot, the arrow slid right underneath her, all though she was none the wiser.
As I reached and nocked my third arrow, one of the hens picked me off, let out an alarm cluck and flew off. As soon as this happened, I let out a series of yelps to try and calm down the other hen still in the field. I hoped she would walk back the the downed hen, but instead she slowly began to work her way back into the cedars.
I had the smallest of windows to shoot through in one the cedars limbs. I drew back and held my sight on the opening. As the hen walked into view, I placed the pin on her wing and let go. This time I didn't miss. She went 10 yards and quickly expired.
A that point, I stood in part excitement and part total disbelief as I heart pounded and I began to shake from the adrenaline. It was a great way to start the 2008 season as I look forward to a promising deer season to come.
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