Spring turkey season is here and I have not done my homework and we all know if you don’t do your homework you usually fail but sometimes we get lucky and pick all the right answers and pass anyway. This is exactly what happened to us on the opener.
I usually know where the birds are roosting, where they are going and where they are coming from but this year I got behind. I plowed my food plot one weekend and did some work around the place and just didn’t have time to find birds. The cameras were showing a few here and there but I knew there were more around I just had to find them.
I hated to plow under such a beautiful plot but it wouldn’t survive the hot dry summer and had to be done so with that finished I got ready for the birds.
We had a late baseball game and 100 mile drive so that put us to camp at 1 AM, it made for a short night but I don’t sleep anyway because I’m already hunting in my mind.
I planned to be in a spot that the birds usually roosted but it was near a well that had just been drilled and I wasn’t sure if this had messed with their pattern. I had not done my homework but decided this was my best answer, it was a lucky guess.
I would be shooting my old late 90s model Hoyt Raider or Raider the Penetrator I called it. This is one of about a dozen old bows I shoot that I have gotten for free or really cheap and I love messing with them. I also had my friend Patrick along who doesn’t really hunt but loves hunting. He videos me running around acting a fool and hangs at camp with us and is good to have around a fire.
Anybody that remembers the old Double Bull T2 blinds knows they aren’t that big and we had two guys, a camera tripod and a really long old bow to get in it but I’ve seen it done before so we were gonna try it.
I set up in a spot that I had success last year and put my decoy at 8 yards because I only have a 20 yard pin on this bow so I figured if one hung up a little he would still be in range.
I rarely make a sound in the mornings until the turkeys do and just after light a gobbler fired off. The first gobble I’ve heard this spring and it’s a wonderful sound that makes me a happy happy guy. I gave a few soft yelps just to let them know I was around and two more gobblers sounded off and they were considerably closer. A total of five birds were gobbling now and I was sure that I could make at least one fall in love with me.
I never heard the gobblers fly down but it was obvious when they hit the ground because every sound I made they got closer. The problem was they were directly behind us and I was worried they wouldnt see they decoy for the blind and I can’t shoot out the back. As luck would have it they showed up in a clearing about 20 yards to my right. Being right handed this was an impossible shot so I could only hope they seen my decoy Henrietta.
Henrietta has been with me for years and Ive killed dozens of her boy friends but she never complains she stands there looking sexy year after year, gobbler after gobbler.
As the first Tom rounded a clump of trees and got to the dirt road he immediately started strutting and drumming. Patrick is not an experienced hunter but even he knew this bird was a stud. At 18 yards out in front of the blind he seen Henrietta and folded up to make his approach. I already had an arrow knocked and ready and told Patrick if he got to the decoy I would shoot him in the head. Ok I got a little cocky but I was feeling so confident at this point about the whole situation that I thought I could pull it off. Big Tom had other plans, for reasons known only to Tom he bailed out. He didn’t get this big being a dummy and truth be known he has seen Henrietta before and heard my calling, this bird is several years old so he’s been around a few set ups I’m sure. Either way he started off and I panicked a little. I tried to draw but realized he was gone and I turned my attention to the other gobbler who was still in the road doing his best come hither dance.
This is not a small bird by any means but he was not the caliber of bird that the other was. As the big Tom stood out at 40 yards and gobbled the smaller bird turned to him and noticed the decoy. He was in love and came straight in. I hadnt made a sound in several minutes and didn’t need to really. Remember I told you the blind was crowded, well I start my draw and I’ve got a camera tripod to manuver around and two chairs to get by, not to mention not stabbing Patrick with a broadhead in the process but I got it done. At full draw I moved to my right for the shot and the broadhead scraped the netting of the blind window and the bird heard it. He gave a quick putt and turned for the hills. Turkey hunting can go from perfect to disaster as fast as any hunting I know of and this was becoming a disaster quickly.
I only have the one site pin and when I settled it on the bird he was about 25 yards and moving away, I pulled up to the top of his head and gave him some lead and let the arrow go. I got lucky again, well it was mostly luck I do practice. The arrow hit the bird at just over 30 yards and entered at the hip and stuck out the front of the wing. Not having hit the hip joint or the wing butt the bird took flight. This is usually a bad thing but he was still carrying my arrow and I was sure he was dead it was just a matter of finding some blood.
I found four wing feathers that had been cut and the ends of a few body feathers at the spot he was hit. He had flown over a tank dam so I lost site of him within a few yards. As we walked over the dam I could tell it would be a body search because any blood would be in the water and the bird had made it across. We walked around the tank and just started looking for a dead turkey because any blood now would be in the trees if the bird was in the air.
I caught a glimpse of white against the ground and was a happy man when I realized my gobbler was done. I don’t get too fired up over a kill but I was excited about this bird. It was a lucky hunt for sure, lucky I found the birds without scouting, lucky that Henrietta is so sexy, lucky to guess my yardage right, lucky to find a shot bird that took flight, and lucky that I had Patrick there to video the whole thing. I have killed a couple dozen birds with a bow and I don’t know how many with a gun but this bird was special to me, not only was he a real good bird but I killed him with a 25 year old bow that I found in the trash and with broadheads Patrick had bought me, too cool.
The bird won the beard battle but I won the war. I still have 5 weeks of season left and a couple “new” bows to shoot.
Since it was Easter weekend I had to go do Easter things and eat my mommas cooking. What could be better after a great hunt than a big plate of mommas cooking and hiding eggs in impossible places so I can go back after the kids leave and get them for myself?
We had pink deviled eggs, which I’m not sure the official ruling on the legalities of deviled eggs on Easter but hey they are pink close enough, and blue mashed potatoes that tricked my brain into thinking they wouldn’t taste like potatoes and ham and beans and cake and I don’t even know, just endless supplies of tasty grub. It was a great feast, a great weekend of bird hunting and its only week one. Sometimes you get lucky.
I normally don’t do this but I get asked all the time if I really eat all the things I catch and kill and the answer is yes. Yes I eat most everything, I usually pass on the coons although I have eaten them and I don’t know that I would eat a coyote but most everything else is made into something. I’m no Steven Ranelli by any means but I can whip up some good fast meals out of about anything I kill. Here’s what I did with the turkey and it’s one of my favorite ways to cook them.
How I clean the bird depends on how and where it was shot. A shotgun killed bird shot in the head can be plucked and cooked whole, a bow killed bird usually has some damage to a breast or a thigh so I just look at the damage and decide then. For this meal I took one thigh and one half of breast and cleaned it up and cut off the silver skin and anything I didn’t like. There was only major damage to one thigh so I have a good amount of bird left.
Please excuse these pics this is not really my thing but you’ll be able to figure it out I hope.
I like the thigh meat but it can be tough so trim it well and make sure it’s tender enough for you before you put it in the enchiladas. After its cubed I parboil it, I guess that’s the right word, I boil it with just a little salt in the water. This just helps tenderize it and will pull some of the blood out.
There is nothing hard about any of this except calling in and killing the bird. Here is all the ingredients I use.
After the meat is boiled I shred it but have found that it’s just as easy to put the cubes on the big cutting board and go to work with my cleaver. Your just trying to make little pieces so do it your way.
On the package of chicken taco spice is the instructions, I simply follow those until the meat is done. For half a breast I use one pack for the thigh and half breast I use two. Once the meat is done I melt a package of cream cheese into the meat, this is the filling.
I know it doesn’t look appetizing here but trust me it’s greatness. I always spray the pan with Pam then simply fill a tortilla with the meat then spoon in some green chile sauce and spread a little cheese inside, roll it up and place in pan. Repeat this until the filling is gone. I pour the remaining green sauce on top of the whole pan of enchiladas and spread a little cheese on top of that. The meat is cooked now between the boiling and cooking in the oil per the instructions on the spice package so you really just need to heat the whole thing up. Put as much cheese on top as you like and bake at 350 for what is equivalent of one inning of Texas Rangers baseball and they will be done. I make Spanish rice and beans sometimes or just go at the enchiladas alone.
I’m sorry my instructions and pics aren’t exact but I don’t cook from recipes really I just do what feels right then watch the people eating it to see if it was a success of not.
Good fast way to cook your bird and non game meat eating folks will never know the difference, trust me I served “chicken” enchiladas to a lot of folks that don’t eat wild game and they were just fine with it.