A Plan Comes Together

The day before Ohio's turkey opener was a nasty day with 40 mph winds, so roosting birds was a big bust!  That being said, waking up at 4 am with a feeling of being unprepared was a bit rough. Without any bird roosted, my game plan switched. Using all my pre-season scouting, I decided to go more with an ambush tactic. Approximately 10 days prior to season, I plowed a new food plot and the turkeys were loving the fresh dirt. I had trail cam pictures almost every day of hens and toms coming through a 25 yard-wide lane leading to my food plot, shortly after daylight most days. I decided to setup on that lane and not my plot because my plot is rather large and would be hard to cover with a bow and any turkey that came through the lane would be within easy bow range.

Being overcast and damp we never heard a gobble and things were starting to feel like we might have a long sit. Then at 6:45 am, 15 birds started filing into the neighboring pasture and 6 of them broke into full strut upon entering the field about 250 yards away. Things were looking up!  They were following the hens around the field for about 20 minutes actually heading away from our position.  I had the feeling the birds didn't read the script I had written in my mind... About then, the lead hen turned on a dime and started our way with all the toms in tow. About 100 yards out, the toms got side tracked with one another and let the hens get a head of them. Finally noticing their girls were leaving them behind, they dropped strut and started running to catch up, which sent my heart pounding, watching 6 big red heads running my way!

Woz & I had agreed that I would shoot the first tom that came in... I couldn't help myself—the first tom in was a sub-dominate tom and through the scope on the Tenpoint, I could see a big strutter coming up behind him. I'm certain Woz read my mind because just about then, I heard him whisper, I'm on the strutter!  As the bird started filing past and the two strutter's came in side by side at 18 yards, I settled the 20 yard dot on his chest.  With a "TWACK" the Tenpoint went off and I watched the Tracer nock blow through the big tom. He immediately felt the effects of the Spitfire Maxx and was struggling to get to the woods. The other toms, not knowing what happened, noticed the Boss was injured and started to flog him. In just seconds he was finished.  Giving it about 45 minutes for the other birds to move on out of the fields to avoid spooking them, I went to claim my prize.  What a prize he was! 24.2 lbs, 1.5" spurs and 10" beard.... One of my best birds to date and my first bird with a crossbow.

Hunter: Damian Riffle

Cameraman: David Wozniak