Spring Strutters

By Steve Fernandez

First of all, we want to thank all of you for being CBA members, without all of you this awesome organization wouldn’t exist. We encourage you to share our organization with everyone you can. 

The 2023 season has come to a close, and if you're like us; we get the blues when we're not bowhunting. 

With that said, why turkey hunt with our bows? First of all , April is a great time to get out. Elk and deer are dropping their antlers, grass is turning green, trees are blooming and the sounds of the feathered elk are sound off.

Why do we call them feathered Elk? Well, if you’ve hunted elk during September you know how fun it is to hear bull elk bugle. A big ol’ Tom gobbling gives me the same feeling. 

It’s a time when you put your calling skills and hunting skills to the test. There is something magical about having game come into your calls for a close bow shot. 

So that’s why we call Turkey's feathered elk. When I was a youngster, I really wasn’t much for hunting turkeys. When my son Ty was a youngster he wanted to hunt turkeys, and that’s the time Turkey hunting became something very special to me. 

I'm going to dive into some of my most epic times in the spring and why you all should all try to get the family and friends out for a spring turkey bowhunt. 

It was a cool Colorado morning, my son Ty and I parked the truck. He was an excited 10 year old, eager for the hunt. It was still dark, and we started off with some owl hoots. 

Boom! Three Gobblers fired off. We both gave a high five and got our bows ready as fast as we could. We made our way down the mountain stream to get set up on them. 
When we move in the dark I prefer to use a red light, it seems to not spook game. With that said, the decoys were set and we were 200 yards from the roost set up. 

The feathered elk were hammering . Gobbles all over the high ridge above us. The sun had creeped over the top and the turkeys started flying off the roost landing close by. 

We began to call and soon we had four big gobblers strutting into the decoys. Our hearts were pounding as we saw them closing into the decoys. Ty goes to full draw. 

I’m literally shaking waiting for him to let an arrow fly. Ty hammers the first Tom, I get my Hoyt ready . The second gobbler comes back to the decoys and I hammer one as well. It was one of the most amazing day, we hugged and high fived. What an epic morning!

From that day forward I've bow-hunted turkeys as much as possible. 

We set up along the creak and took pics. I couldn’t have been a prouder father seeing the passion in his eyes. As we are walking back to the truck, Ty yells out “look Dad, elk shed.”

I couldn’t imagine the day getting any better, but it did. He found a big six point elk shed. That’s why the spring time is so magical. It's a time to shoot your bows, get out and hunt and enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather. 

If you haven’t called a big Tom in the spring, I would definitely start .Turkey hunting is one of the family’s favorite hunts. 

Now I want to tell you a short story about my wife Jess. She has the passion of bowhunting like any guy I know. It's in her blood. About five years ago, Jess and I got married. Her dad was an avid trapper and hunter, but she never got into hunting much. 

Well that all changed when she met me. Our good friends from Hoyt sent her her first bow. She's a lefty so it was cool setting up her first bow. She immediately became hooked. 

It was her first time that year to bow hunt. It was a spring morning in southern Colorado. We were on the river bottom, on a piece of land we had never hunted. It’s still dark, so I let out a locate call. 

Very similar to Ty’s hunt; we had birds gobbling close by. We packed in a ground blind on the Kifaru frame pack and started to set up in the dark with a red light. 

Jess is so excited, the sun is cresting the horizon, birds are gobbling like crazy. All of a sudden, a large group of turkeys flew down off the roost and were gobbling and strutting about five hundred yards away. 

I was hammering with my Phelps calls and finally  they saw the decoys, The big toms started making their way to us.  Jess is shaking. I’m shaking. The biggest gobbler runs right into the spread. 

I watched Jess draw her bow and hammer him. We were both so excited, high fives and hugs. After the rest of the birds drifted off, we got out the blind to look for her bird. 

Unfortunately, the gobbler had flown off the bank into some thick willows along the river. She went from excitement to tears in minutes. I think all of us bowhunters have been down that road. 

We began skirting the willows, and after maybe a half hour or so, I found him lying there with an Easton arrow and Ironwill Broadhead in him. The shot was textbook. I yelled for Jess .

She replied anxiously “Did you find him?!?” “Yes!” I hollered out. She ran over as fast as she could, and when she saw her gobbler lying there she let out a woohoo and ran over to hug me. It was an epic day with my wife! 

There are many different ways we bow hunt Turkey. A lot of times we run a ground blind, but one of my favorite ways is to use a Stalker decoy from a company called Ultimate Predator. 

The decoy is bow mounted, they make a strutting tom that covers your body when sitting down. They are extremely realistic looking, and I’ve actually harvested birds within 10 yards while using this decoy. 

If you are using a Stalker decoy, remember, safety is very important with this style of hunting. The decoy has orange safety straps so other hunters can easily identify the decoy is not a huntable animal.

This is an action packed style of hunting . We hope you all have an awesome spring turkey season! Look forward to seeing and hearing about your adventures!! 

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