An Unexpected Surprise - Ol Tom, the Dominant Bird

An Unexpected Surprise - Ol Tom, the Dominant Bird      

Fall 2007 - Kentucky

Back when I lived in Kentucky, I was fortunate enough to be able to hunt on some property extremely close to where I lived (will leaves names out). I was 16 and dad had given me my first real bow before deer season started, a PSE (https://www.pse-archery.com/). I couldn’t have been happier with how the bow fit in my hand and how quickly I was able to pick it up and become accurate. Dad got it for me about 2 months before deer season picked up and I was a dead-eye out to 30 yards in no time.

I had practiced and practiced and was so ready to get out in the woods. I only used 1 pin and had it set at 20 yards. I liked only having one pin to focus on and learned my hold overs that way. Again, I spent 1-2 hours a day for nearly 2 months learning how my bow shot and what my hold over/unders were for 10 and 30 yards. I am not one to shoot distances too far – they call it hunting, not shooting.

The first Saturday of the season, I stepped out in the back yard right after lunch to put a few last arrows downrange with my Muzzy (https://www.muzzygear.com/) broadheads to ensure that everything was set for the afternoon hunt. I already had my gear packed up and in the Jeep before heading out. My drive took less than 10 minutes. I quickly set out on a walk down to the tree stand that my father and I had prepared within a large cedar tree. It was a sunny day fresh off a little rain from the morning.

There was one fence-line with a single row of trees about 75 yards from the woods that cut this large field right down the middle. I was about 100 yards down that fence line in the largest cedar tree, I sunk in tight and got my gear set up. The arrow was knocked and I was prepared for a full afternoon sit in early Fall Kentucky. I drew a few times to check my shot spots and picked spots that I hoped I would have a deer come through.

 At about 3:30, I was glassing up and down the woods line when I heard what I thought was the sound of a large group of birds flying through the sky coming from behind me, (we all know that sound of a large flock of birds flying by without making noise) so I turned. To my surprise, I had 5 large gobblers running down the hill right to the opening I was hunting.

I quickly dropped my binoculars from my eyes (thank goodness for those Vortex harnesses http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-binocular-harness-strap) and looked down for my bow. The beauty of a Kentucky deer season is that you can take gobblers, basically, through the whole season. I knew that I was in my legal limits to harvest one of these bruisers.  There was an obviously larger bird that was in the lead as the other 4 were about 5 yards behind this guy the whole time.

As he crept through opening into this field, the lead bird turned right and begins to head right in front of me. Picture perfect. My legs were shaking…

I’d never shot at a turkey with a bow before, but I did know the anatomy from being an avid turkey hunter. I nearly didn’t have time to get nervous as they closed the distance to my range in less than 10 seconds from the time I initially had seen them. There was no time for any cluckin’, gobblin’, struttin’, or even peckin’ for some worms because as soon as he came around that corner and stuck his head up from my cluck, I made with my mouth, I released my arrow.

To my absolute astonishment, I sunk that arrow straight through the wingbone and buckled that bird in his tracks. As my arrow stuck in the ground, pinning this bird, the other 4 gobblers began to scatter.

It wasn’t 10 seconds later that the other gobblers come back and began to jump and beat up on the one I had shot. It was extremely apparent that the bird I had harvested was the king of the castle on this property. I was able to have made a flawless shot. I was jumping up and down in my stand, yelling and yelling from excitement.

I get about 5 feet from the bottom of my stand and jump down – the birds are finally scattering as the Ol Tom had finally stopped floppin’ and as I get closer, I begin to truly realize just how big this bird was. He ended up being a double beard and easily the biggest I’ve killed (11.75”, 7.5”, 25lbs, 1.75” spurs). This bird would end up being one of the biggest ever killed in Kentucky with a bow.

This hunt was a major turning point in my hunting career. I was able to do this whole hunt from top to bottom by myself, with a bow and did the cleaning and gutting on my own as well. There’s always that “stage” in someone’s hunting career where they begin to take the responsibility over doing the things that the father or guide would be doing.

I’ve now got this bad-boy, in full strut, in the corner of my room.

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#cantstoptheflop #getmetoturkeyseason

2 comments

  • Great story!!

    Mastins Deer Scents
  • What a awesome story! Can’t wait to see what happens this coming turkey season!

    Monster Whitetail Grub

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