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Turkey Hunting

The Longbow Longbeard

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For the last few seasons, Terry has been successfully taking a longbeard on opening morning with his trusty stick bow. However, the 2011 season would soon prove to be a bit more challenging than previous seasons had been.

Unable to hunt opening morning, Terry headed to the woods on May 2nd to his favorite turkey hunting spot – a natural funnel between a small field next to a creek and a much larger field. Each night the birds roosted on a ridge just above the small field and as the day would break the woods would come alive with the sounds of turkeys until it was light enough for them to pitch down into the field.

With a lone decoy set up in the larger field just past the funnel connecting the smaller field to the larger one, Terry was set up and ready for a morning as he had experienced for the last four seasons.

As day began to break Terry heard multiple gobblers up on the roost. Terry let out some calls and got the birds fired up. He had four gobblers to his right and three gobblers to his left – it was bound to be an exciting morning.

When the first gobbler hit the ground he was on the wrong side of the creek, but he quickly started running towards Terry and flew right over the creek landing a mere three feet from him right in the funnel. Terry moved just a fraction of an inch and the bird picked him up and quickly disappeared into the larger field. With time running out before he had to head for work, Terry decided to get out of there and try again the next day. Of course, as Terry got up there were two more birds in full strut that had come in silence and the birds left as quick as they came.

The next morning Terry was back at it and this time had six gobblers sounding off at first light. Four of the longbeards hit the ground, shut up and chased after a few hens in another direction. Once the longbeards had their ladies there was no changing their mind – it’s tough to compete with the real thing.

Wednesday brought heavy rain and the birds were either silent or it was raining too hard to hear them – needless to say, it was a wash, pun intended.

Thursday brought clear skies and more rowdy gobblers. With three gobblers to his right and a group of hens on his left, Terry was smack dab in the middle of the entire flock. When the first bird gobbled Terry was shocked to realize the bird was roosted just 40 yards away with a second roosted in a tree not too far behind.

Terry let out a series of calls followed by a fly down cackle while flapping his hat to simulate a hen flying off the roost and just as he finished his calling sequence he heard one of the gobblers fly down. As the birds flew down into the field they saw Terry’s decoy and came charging in at full strut. With gobblers in full strut and their backs to Terry he drew back his longbow and aimed for the bulls eye. Fifteen yards later the bird was done.

It was a “long” season for Terry, but he was able to get it done with his stick and string again this year. Congrats to Terry on the ultimate challenge in bowhunting!

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Turkey Hunting

Spring Turkey Season Opens May 1 in New York

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Bowhunters take to the woods this spring after weary old gobblers in New York.

It’s my favorite time of year after deer season – the spring turkey season (probably because it’s the only other time I’m out hunting with my bow). Following suit of previous seasons, the 2014 spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York lying north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and the annual youth turkey hunting weekend is April 26-27. The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.

Not nearly as popular as deer hunting, there only 100,000 turkey hunters expected to head afield this spring. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can’t get excited about calling to a bird and have it respond and watch it work its way in. It’s a very interactive hunt.

According to the DEC, hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their small game hunting or sportsman license (if purchased before Feb. 1) or hunting license (if purchased after Feb. 1).

  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.
  • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day.
  • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow and arrow.
  • Crossbows may not be used for the spring 2014 turkey season.
  • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested.
  • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird.

One thing that caught my eye is that the state’s enacted 2014-15 budget includes language authorizing the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances. So while hunters cannot use crossbows to take wild turkey during the 2014 spring season, they might be able to in 2015. It will be interesting to see if the changes go through for next year and what affect that would have on the number of hunters taking to the field for turkey hunting.

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Turkey Hunting

Bowhunting Turkey in New York

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Teresa took this big longbeard on the opening day of the 2012 Spring Turkey Hunting Season in Orange County, New York. This is Teresa’s first turkey kill and she got the job done with a heart-pounding 23-yard shot. Congrats to Teresa on an awesome longbeard!

Did you have success this spring? It was tough with the warm weather we had in April before the opener.

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Turkey Hunting

NY Bowhunter Takes Turkey During Fall Archery Season

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Last Friday morning my cousin Ken had the day off to enjoy a day afield. He was set up in his tree well before first light, but the morning was really slow and Ken only saw one deer. The tall spike came down the hill 50 yards to his right and kept on walking to wherever it was that he was going.

With no rubs or scrapes in the general area, Ken and his father Nick decided to hunt a different area that afternoon. On the drive to their hunting spot that afternoon they spotted a flock of turkeys and ten deer out in a field just a few door down from where they would be hunting.

Ken headed to his stand at the top of the hill and waited in anticipation for the deer and turkey to leave the field and move back into the hardwoods. Around 5:00 pm the woods exploded with noise and movement and the deer and turkey came barreling through the woods. Shortly after, Ken heard a lady yelling at her dog who must have decided it would be fun to chase the deer and turkeys out of the nearby field.

Then Ken heard a single turkey coming towards him from the bottom of the hill. Ken got ready and drew back with the bird at 20 yards. The bird took two more steps and Ken made a chirping sound to stop it and let the arrow fly. The bird only made it a few more yards before going down.

Congrats to Ken on taking a turkey with the bow, that’s never an easy thing!

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