As my good friend Jay and I rolled through the farm land of Nebraska our excitement level shot through the roof. We counted more than 150 birds through our spotters on the drive in and another 150 on the land we would be hunting. This many birds can be more of a curse than a blessing, but we had a good plan put together and some great equipment. Best of all, we were finally hunting in 2011. This was a last minute trip, but we had high hopes. Any birds we could put on the ground would be a bonus to my 2011 Live Hunt season.
Now Jay and I are just a couple of backcountry athletes who like to take each hunt to the physical extreme, but hunting is hunting and it’s nice to take a break and sit in a blind every once in awhile. We figured with our “less than top-notch calling,” we would need to rely heavily on our shooting ability to bring birds home.
We arrived at the farmer’s land with just enough time to make sure our bows were still dialed in and ready for the morning hunt.
I have been shooting several bows in the last few weeks and decided on the Athens Afflixtion. This bow is a real shooter and I was shooting 4-inch groups at 80 yards. I was really looking forward to getting some blood on this thing and starting my 2011 season off on the right foot.
I was using an Ameristep blind with a hay bail wrap. I normally wouldn’t use the wrap, but with 100 hay bails behind us this was a no brainer.
Things heated up quickly on our first morning and we could see several toms coming from everywhere. I’m not sure how many gobbles we herd, but it was in the several hundred range for sure.
My partner was doing his best impression of Storm Shadow and I knew the turkeys were in big trouble. We had 22 hens, 6 jakes and 4 toms in front of us, so when Jay went to full draw I knew we would be filling out a tag shortly after.
Jay’s shot was clean and a big tom hit the ground. The turkeys had no idea what had happened and after a little commotion, they went back to feeding again.
As soon as the turkeys were out of sight, we snuck out of the blind to snap some pictures.
The next morning we decided to split up and set up another blind for me about 300 yards across from J. I snapped a few photos through my spotter of how well the “hay blind” blended in.
This tom seemed to be unaffected by any calling (or my calling at least) and stayed in the middle of the field for a few hours.
After hours of sitting in a dark blind I admittedly started to get a little bored, so I got pretty creative with keeping myself busy. I broke out the Benchmade knife and made myself an “apple lantern” … sort of.
Shortly after I created my masterpiece, things started to heat up again and birds started funneling under the fence.
The Afflixtion must have seen the toms and it was starting to get hungry.
I called several birds within range and I went to full draw.
I made a great 23-yard shot at a strutting tom and he never knew what hit him. Nightfall was closing in fast, so I snapped a few pictures and we headed back to town.
The next morning was cloudy and the action was slow, but we were able to call in a group of 4 jakes and J made another fine shot.
The way we set up the blind allowed us to sneak out of the back in case we needed to put a stalk on a bird. I got out of the blind and snuck down the hay bails as fast as I could and started calling again. The jakes turned around and started feeding their way toward us again. I made it back to the blind just in time to get to full draw and drop another Nebraska bird.
We didn’t do too bad for a couple Colorado big-game hunters.
Blood on the Athens! I think the Afflixtion is going to see a lot of this in 2011.
I loaded up the Kifaru Late Season and headed back to the truck.
As we headed back to Colorado, we got a good view of some of the deer we will be hunting this fall. What a great place to spend time with friends and take some animals home at the same time. I may not be able to come back to Nebraska to fill my 3rd tag, but this will be a hunting trip I won’t soon forget!
The first hunting trip for Live Hunt 2011 was a turkey bowhunt in the Cornhusker State. See all the action as my friend Jay and I kick the season off with a bang.