I thought we were hunting turkeys

sfhoghunter

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So I went down to the ranch this weekend to do a little hunting. I was down there the previous weekend as well, and had seen a few hogs, but they were all either too far, on other people's property, or it was too dark to shoot.

There are two parcels that I hunt, one of which is approximately 250 acres (not the 160 I had previously thought), the other one is 100 acres. All the pig activity from the previous weekend occurred on the 100 acres - there was no visible fresh sign on the 250 acres parcel. Since we were planning to hit the 100 acres for hogs on Sunday morning, on Saturday evening we decided to hunt for turkeys, since it was the opening day of Spring turkey season.

There were three of us - my brother in law Easton, his friend Seth, and myself. I had my bow, Easton had a shotgun, and Seth had a 10/22. I had patterned the turkeys in the prior weeks, so I knew exactly where they were going to be. We headed out at about 6:15pm, to give ourselves time to get into place before they came in to their roosting area. On the way out we saw a couple of strutting toms from a different group, but we could hear the patterned group gobbling away across the road. My brother in law and I decided to try to stalk the two toms, while the friend opted to stay and wait for the other group to cross the road and begin their evening display.

Easton and I blew the stalk, but we got into cover as close as we could, hoping they would wander back over after a while. Suddenly Easton turned to me and said 'that's a pig!' I looked to where he was pointing and sure enough, a group of 10-12 pigs was just across the road, heading our way. On the off chance they were going to cross the road to our property, I decided to try and get into an ambush position with my bow, so I took off at a hunched trot towards the pigs.

To my amazement, they did cross the road and popped up out of a culvert about 250 yards away from me! I was in the middle of an open field with nothing between me and the pigs. I waited, hoping they would get closer, but I was quickly able to tell it wasn't going to happen. My only hope was to back up and use the ridge as cover, and so reposition myself across their path. I started very walking at a very slow crouch towards the ridge, which was 150 yards away. I finally got back to the ridge without spooking the pigs, and I hightailed it into position. However, the pigs were busy rooting in the open field, and the closest cover at the base of the hill was still 150 yards away from them. There was maybe 30 minutes of shooting light left, so I decided to go for it, and try to stalk the pigs in the open field.

Just as I started down the ridge I spotted the patterned group of turkeys out near the pigs! Apparenlty, while I was backing up towards the ridge, they had crossed the road and were now busy strutting around in their usual place, which was in the open field directly between me and the pigs. I was done - I knew I didn't have a prayer with a bow, because the turkeys would bust me immediately once I left cover, and that would alert the pigs. So all I could do was sit there and kick myself for not having my rifle, and even more so for not having my camera! Turkeys and pigs, within 50 yards of each other, on opening day of Spring turkey season . . . and me sitting there with a bow, unable to get either one! It felt like one of those got milk commercials - I was simultaneously in ecstasy and agony.

At that moment of despair I saw movement 150 feet to my right, and looked over and saw Easton and Seth signalling to me. They had both independently decided to drop their turkey guns and sprint back to the house to retrieve their hunting rifles. Hooray! We were back in business. I knocked an arrow (just in case), and then settled back with my bow to watch the hunt progress.

Easton and Seth crawled into a prone shooting position. They waited for the proper moment, and then CRACKCRACK, they both popped one off at the same instant. One pig dropped in the field and the rest scattered, most angling away from us to round the end of the ridge, but two came straight up the hill between us. Now things began to happen really fast. I heard three more shots in quick succession, and the squeal of a pig. I could hear branches breaking, and I could tell that a hog had changed direction yet again and was awfully close. I started fumbling for my release, and less than 50 feet in front of me the branches of a bush started shaking violently, and then a pig came out at a run, straight towards me. Time dilated in that strange way it tends to do when you get a serious charge of adrenaline - things slowed way, way down, and at the same time everything seemed to happen all in a flash.

The pig shortened the gap to 15 feet in a couple of heartbeats, but meanwhile I had closed the caliper on my string loop and was drawing and raising the bow, although honestly I don't remember doing so. In that second all my hours of archery practice were forgotten - I was on automatic. This was about to be the ultimate test of my ability as a bow hunter - functioning on pure instinct in an instant of mind-bending adrenaline. At 15 feet our eyes locked for an endless moment, and without so much as slowing down the hog veered sharply to my right. I squeezed the trigger of the release, and watched the arrow as if in slow motion leave the string of my bow and fly straight and true, to pass a full foot over the back of the pig. The pig raced up the slope into some brush and was gone.

I looked away from where it had disappeared, and saw Easton and Seth walking over towards me. Congratulations all around, and I followed them down the hill on less than steady legs to retrieve the sow in the field and another one they had dropped at the base of the hill. It took about 20 minutes for the adrenaline to settle enough for me to be much help gutting and skinning. Final tally - two sows, about 110 and 130 lbs. The larger one was shot at 125 yards (ranged) with a 30-06 and a 7mm mag, and the smaller one was dropped at 40 yards, again with both rifles connecting.

Picture to follow this evening.
 



BDB

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Congrats on the hogs. I assume you meant 6:15 AM, or you were not in CA. Shooting time for hunting spring turkeys in CA ends at 4pm.
 

hatchet1

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dude, you must not live in california with that story,wish we could shoot 10/22's and after 4pm for turkeys
out of the roost,sounds like you may be from texas?
man i love that state

great story.sorry man,but ya know that turkeys dont come into the roost in the morning,their going out. ouch!
 

Kentuck

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Congrats on the pigs. Big No-No for turkey hunting after 4 and with the 10/22.
 

sfhoghunter

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Er . . . right. Misspoke a few times.
Anyway, I'll be sure to check my spelling/details better next time. Glad we didn't shoot at any turkeys.
 

Cold1nhand

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Great story thank for sharing.
But for the turkeys after 4pm well...
 


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