Intrepid Outdoors’ Challenge of the Hunt video blog series continues this week with the second part of Beau and Brian’s turkey slam in Wyoming.
It’s a story about a turkey hunter who traveled hundreds of miles from Ohio to Wyoming for his first Merriams Turkey hunt. Intrepid Outdoors producer Bob Lott was right in the action, filming this spring quest and shares it today.
Beau and Brian were eager to get after bird No. 2, so we immediately headed out for the afternoon hunt. Our plan was to set up near, but not too close, to a roost of what seemed like 40 birds that morning. We rode in on four wheelers and set up two Ameristep Blinds, one for Beau and Brian, and one for yours truly. The birds that had covered the hillside that morning were now off feeding and breeding away from the roosting site, but we knew they probably weren’t too far to hear our calls of sweet seduction.
The two hunters called with soft yelps, and an occasional cut, cluck followed up with purrs. Being a pretty aggressive turkey caller myself, this strategy of soft calls was killing me. Beau, loving to give me a hard time, was getting a kick out of my impatience. It wasn’t long before a gobbler answered their calls, and within 10 minutes, the bird was standing 5 yards in front of us. He took liking to the Flextone decoy, and walked in posturing like he was ready to battle. The big Tom was just about to beat up the decoy when Brian let an arrow fly in his direction.
There was a strange “smack” sound as the arrow flew low, missing the bird. The gobbler, having been given another chance at life, didn’t wait to see what the noise was, and scampered off. Brian was sick to see that he had shot through the blind, which deflected his arrow causing him to miss what would have been his second Merriams turkey in one day. After the miss, Brian told Beau that he was up next if another bird decided to come in. Well, that didn’t happen that evening, but the following night his luck changed.
The next morning had us just yards from closing the deal. We fell short of getting a big tom in within bow range, however. That evening was the last night for both hunters, so we needed to take advantage of having two shooters. We opted to set up the two blinds on opposite ends of the field below the roost site. I filmed Beau and Keaton Stevens filmed Brian.
The birds began feeding into the field about an hour before they’d all fly up for the evening, like clock work. Beau and I decided to call soft, letting our decoys do the rest. Brian’s strategy was similar, but his position in the field wasn’t as good as we anticipated. We hoped the birds would feed back into the field on the same path they left earlier that morning. This didn’t happen, so Brian was left with attempting to pull the birds away from their roost, which is nearly impossible.
Beau and I had birds heading in our direction, but it seemed a slight incline in the field was keeping them from seeing our decoy. They were headed up to roost and it looked like it wasn’t gonna happen.
We decided to really get aggressive on our calling, which got the attention of one lone gobbler. He slowly made his way toward the decoy, but at the last minute, the Tom turned and headed back the way he came. Beau had to make a move, so he got down on his knees, and decided he had one possible shot out of a small port hole in the back of the blind.
He ranged the bird at 36 yards, drew his bow, settled his pin, and squeezed off a perfect shot, hitting the bird right in the back dropping him in his tracks. Beau turned to the camera and had the happiest look on his. He immediately high fived me and went on to talk to the camera, explaining what just went down. Surprisingly though, his hunt wasn’t over just yet, the other four gobblers saw his bird flopping a little and ran down to beat on him.
This caused the bird to get to his feet and make it to the timber. Beau decided to carefully climb out of the blind, sneak to within 20 yards, and put a second arrow in the bird. This dispatched his second Merriams pretty quickly and the celebrating that was on pause for a brief moment, continued.
And although Brian didn’t get his second bird, the guys were pretty excited to head back home to their home state of Ohio with three Merriams long beards in the cooler. Beau had both of his birds mounted, and to this day, he talks about his first archery hunt out west for one of the most beautiful sub-species of Turkey: the Merriams Gobbler.
Tune in for this weeks episode of Intrepid Outdoors Monday at 6:30 PM ET, Friday at 3 PM ET and Saturday at 12 PM ET.