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5/21/2020
Publisher’s Note: As referenced in the May-June 2020 print issue of On Wisconsin Outdoors, the Ellis column Memorial Day-Trading it all… directs the reader to this website for stories of Americans in battle during World War II and Vietnam.  Posted in the April 30 Ellis Blogs on this website Tanks in a Mine Field is the eye witness story of 709th Tank Battalion gunner John “Mike” Kunnen during the bloody battle of t...
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Rob and Fred Schaffhauser’s 2007 Spring Turkey Hunt

by Fred J Schaffhauser

The Plan:
Rob and I were gonna hunt out of the same blind and shoot two longbeard turkeys even if it took ALL DAY.


The Weapons:
Rob with his new "Black Ice" compound bow by Diamond (Bowtech). Rob was set on taking 50 yard shots and often remarked ".....This is better than a shotgun 'cause I can shoot up to 50 yards"

I, of course, not being one to bring a knife to a gunfight, brought a suitable weapon for the task; "Bruiser". Bruiser got its name from what happens when I shoot it. If I were technically correct I should have named it "Smash my face and give my shoulder a 6 inch bruise OMG what was I thinking" but that was way too long of a name for a gun. Just an FYI.....IF you decide to shoot a 3 1/2 mag turkey load out of a shotgun you should probably do it with a shotgun that weighs more than five pounds. This gun is about as silly as a howitzer handgun.

What Actually Happened:
After getting into our blind 20 minutes before shooting (4:45am) Rob and I settled our gear and started listening in darkness for the first gobble of the morning. A flash of lightening scared the chocolates out of us and a few minutes later one gobble sounded off in the distance. We both heard it at the same time. Then a double gobble from two separate Toms sounded off not 100 yards away; then another from a different direction. We were only interested in the pair that was close. They were close enough to see in the trees if you knew where to look. We were sitting on the east side of a square 120 yard field.

At legal shooting time (5:07am) a lone hen that we didn't hear fly down walked parallel to us 60 yards away and walked through the fencerow and out into the next field out of sight. We hoped that the other birds of the morning wouldn't follow the same path. Soon it started to rain. For a good 10 minutes or so it rained pretty steady and then it stopped. One by one we heard the birds fly down from their roosts but they didn't sail into the field and come running over to our decoys like we had hoped. As a matter of fact they didn't even fly down into the field at all. Shortly thereafter I saw two heads marching into the field, then the square black bodies and long beards! They unfortunately were on the same path as the hen and despite our best calling.....ahem.... they only came within 40 yards and although "BRUISER" was up to the task, Rob felt it was bit too far for Black Ice. (actually Rob later said "wow, 40 yards seems allot farther than I thought. I'm not gonna shoot more that 20yds" to which I replied "well.... duh") Rob knew he wasn't going to take a shot at them and gave me the go ahead to take one but I wasn't just here to shoot a longbeard.... I was here so we could shoot a "DOUBLER" even if it took ALL DAY!

Shortly after the Toms left, a group of six jakes came marching on the same path as the two Toms. By this time it was 5:30am and Rob and I had amended "the plan". NOW, we’re gonna shoot any legal bird that came in range of "BRUISER" so we could get the heck out of that blind and get breakfast.  Just then we heard two birds fly down but after waiting patiently forever ( 2-3 minutes) to see if they were coming our way we decided they flew down somewhere else. Rob decided to stretch out and get some sleep after our LONG morning hunt. I was fumbling in my pack for another hunting device to stick around my neck (the binoculars, rangefinder, crow-call, camera, video camera and slate call weren't enough). It was now 5:40am.

We had already been hunting for ALMOST AN HOUR and as you could imagine our patience was running thin. Before settling in for a nice long nap Rob took one more look out of his side of the blind and proclaimed "There are two birds coming straight in". Apparently the two birds that flew down minutes before were actually coming our way. Rob got off of his back and found his bow and I grabbed for "BRUISER". As the turkeys approached, the lead bird was to be mine and Rob would shoot the trailing bird with his bow. Unfortunately my bird came in a lot quicker to the decoys and I had him nervously, at 8 yards, for some time. Finally I heard Rob shoot. I immediately assumed he had missed (because that's the kind of guy I am) because the birds didn't take off immediately. I kept a bead on my bird and right in front of me a chartreuse fletched arrow attached to a turkey came blowing past me from left to right. I leveled the red dot on the back of my birds head as he ran away and POW! After the assault from Bruiser I regained consciousness just in time to see my bird and Rob’s bird motionless in the corn stubble.

Spring turkey hunting Wisconsin spring turkey hunting
Fred and Rob Schaffhauser ended their synchronized turkey hunt with firearm and bow with these birds.

Conclusions:
Rob and I have no patience. I guess you really can shoot a turkey with a bow. I'm glad I only have to shoot "Bruiser" once a year. What an incredible hunt! I need to go rub some liniment on my shoulder.