Archery season opened on Friday, and while I went to work, my buddies were already sitting in their treestands. When quitting time came, my truck pointed north in order to leave the blazing desert sand behind and before dark, it climbed the bumpy forest road to camp. The guys had seen a couple of doe here and there, and some had seen turkeys through the ponderosas, but their turkey tags had been filled during the spring hunt. After a few very slow seasons with a couple of blown opportunities, I was itching to get into my stand in the morning.
I beat daylight to my hunting blind and when I checked my phone it read 5:00. After organizing my few essentials, I settled into my seat to wait for daylight. My stand sits about 50 yards off a large water catchment on a faint trail, and as I sat peering into the ever lightening dawn, I told myself that whatever came first, turkey or buck, I was going to put it down. (The fall season in Arizona allows for any turkey, male or female, to be harvested.) Around 7:30, I look up from my book to check a noise I heard, and sure enough a flock of turkeys working through the forest in front of me poking at the ground and putting to each other. I waited patiently as they made their way through my shooting lane. After a quick scan, I could see that all the birds were female, so I reared back and sent an arrow into the closest one. To my surprise, the bird dropped where it was. Half expecting it to jump up and run/fly away, I quickly nocked another arrow but the bird laid still. My first Arizona Merriam’s turkey and who would have thought I could make it happen with a recurve.
By the time I had cleaned the bird, put her on ice, and made my way back to camp, it was going on mid-day. I had too much energy to go back and sit on the same stand that I had made so much noise on that morning, so I strung up the fly rod and hit one of my favorite streams. A great end to a unforgettable day in the woods.