There’s a good chance you’ve seen POV videos of gun hunters “reaping” turkeys. This system features a hunter hiding behind a turkey fan as he or she crawls toward a field-dwelling gobbler. For obvious reasons, extreme caution must be used whenever you pretend to be a game animal or bird. In addition, you should check your local game laws to see whether it’s legal to stalk turkeys on your favorite turkey tract. Of course, never try reaping a turkey unless you’re on private land and 100 percent sure that another hunter isn’t in the area. Period.
While reaping is predominantly a gun-hunting technique, that doesn’t mean archers can’t modify the system to work for them. And I’m not talking about crawling around with a turkey fan in one hand and your bow in the other. Let me explain.
Each spring I purchase an over-the-counter nonresident archery turkey tag for eastern South Dakota. I bowhunt 160 acres of outstanding turkey property, and while I own several pop-up ground blinds, it’s often too windy to keep those blinds in place on the prairie.
A couple years ago, with the reaping method on my mind, I tried hiding in plain sight. By that I mean I didn’t wear camo from head to toe for blending into the prairie. Instead, I dressed in a camo hat, facemask and pants, but I wore a black shirt. Keep reading and it will all make sense.
I expected turkeys to enter a picked cornfield at a certain high point on the prairie, so I set up my ambush 8 yards away from the most likely spot they’d slip under a barbed-wire fence. In front of me, I placed two Primos B-Mobile strutting decoys. I hoped to shoot between the two tail fans. Off to my right, I staked a Flextone Funky Chicken jake decoy.
This point is important: I was sitting butt on the ground (a stadium-style seat with back support is mandatory), and the dekes were right on top of me. I left just enough room to draw my bow. The way I figured it, any toms or jakes that appeared on the field would see a cluster of birds, and my black shirt should look like the body of turkey. Strong winds would keep my decoys turning a bit and perhaps help hide my movement, too.
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
As the photo at the top of this page shows, the system worked to perfection. Two jakes steadily walked up to confront my three decoys, and I simply sat still and waited. When the jakes slowed their approach at 8 yards, I drew my bow. They were looking directly at me and saw my movement, but because of my black shirt, I looked like either the body or tail fan of a gobbler. A split-second later, I dumped the closest jake at 6 yards with a 125-grain Magnus Broadheads Bullhead, which is designed for head/neck shots.
Springtime weather can often be challenging during turkey bowhunts, but don’t sit on the sidelines just because winds are blowing 25 mph or more. Find a field turkeys are using regularly, dress the part, surround yourself with turkey decoys and hide in plain sight. You’ll feel silly at first — I know I did — but it’s an incredibly fun and effective way to kill a windy-day wild turkey.