Week of 5-24-16

posted by Danny Trankler on 05.24.16

My 2016 spring turkey season has finally ended. Like most years, I feel like I did well and learned a lot, but I still feel I did not live up to my expectations. That’s the fun part of hunting. I love to set my goals high and see what it is possible to achieve.

Here is how my season ended: My parents recently stayed at my house and joined me on a couple turkey hunts. My mom had given up turkey hunting a few years ago when her arthritis got too bad to be able to safely use a firearm. However, with my invention of the pivoting Lead Sled sight vise that I use to help my 5 year old daughter shoot turkeys, I was able to help my mom hunt once again.

My parents arrived at my house on Friday evening. The next morning Dad and I went hunting to see if we could shoot a couple of Wisconsin birds. We split up to increase our chances of success. I put my dad in a known strut zone right next to the roost and then I headed further down the trail. As luck would have it, the tom that I was hoping Dad would shoot just happened to roost in another spot about 200 yards away. As for me, I heard another bird gobbling so I made a move to get within 100 yards of it on the roost. Since the bird was gobbling, strutting, and doing a perfect spit and drum I was convinced it was a tom. My heart was racing and since it was only about 30 degrees out, I was shaking uncontrollably. Things were going exactly as planned until the bird finally came into range. I was more than surprised to see it was not a tom but rather a jake. Since it was a perfect hunt and I have not shot a jake since my first turkey hunt 17 seasons ago I decided to pull the trigger. Although I was very happy to fill my tag, I have to admit that killing a jake is not nearly as fulfilling as killing a tom.

Dad and I then joined up and tried to help him shoot a tom. We had a jake in range, but Dad wasn’t willing to shoot it. That afternoon I headed back home to Minnesota to join my mom on a hunt. Mom and I got into the blind and strapped the gun into the Lead Sled. Almost immediately we could see the tail of a strutting tom about 70 yards from us. For almost an hour the tom strutted back and forth along the tree line, but he would not come to my calls. Obviously he had hens with him. Then suddenly my mom said “Get ready! Here comes a hen and he’s right behind her!” Within a minute the tom closed the distance and got into range. At that point I thought the hunt was over. Using the Lead Sled, we put the sights on the bird and Mom pulled the trigger. She missed! After a very quick recovery Mom was able to get a second shot and she bagged the tom. However, I realized I still need to modify a few things on my pivoting sight vise. Mom should not have missed that turkey on the first shot and I knew it was my fault! I guess I will have to make sure the sight vise is modified and ready for next season.

Although it was a short hunt, it was great to get out there with my mom and see her shoot her first ever tom turkey. As for Dad, he had a few more close calls but he never got the chance to fire his gun.

Overall I had a great 2016 season. I started in Minnesota with my first ever archery kill, then traveled to Kansas for the first time where I shot two toms, and finally ended the season with a tom and a jake in Wisconsin. In addition, I was able to help my friends and family shoot three more toms and a jake. It was an awesome experience to not only watch my 5 year old daughter shoot a tom, but my mom as well. The downfalls to my season are that I never killed a bird over decoys and struggled to call any toms in from a great distance. These are typically some of my more memorable hunts. In order to better prepare for next year I think I am going to toss out my foam decoys and buy a couple Avian X decoys from Cabela’s. The realism of these decoys should really help pull more toms into range. It feels good to already be planning for the 2017 season!


-Mike Versland


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