I have been chasing this bird on and off since the season began. He was pretty much roosted in the same spot almost night. He would gobble once from the roost, sometimes not at all, but I new he was there. Once he hit the ground, it was usually silence and he never showed any interest in my calls.
This morning, I decided to give him one more go but a light rain began to fall at daybreak. Since I was tucked in the blind, I was comfy waiting for the redbirds to sing. He gobbled once from his usual spot. There were a few other birds off in the distance gobbling.
About 6, I gave 4-5 soft yelps and put the call away. He did not respond. At 6:15 I caught the red head coming up over the knoll in front of me. I needed another 5 yards to get a good body shot with the crossbow. He stared and stared for a few minutes. My legs began quivering from adrenaline when he decided to pop up onto the bench I was on and turned broadside. Holding for the wing butt, the arrow was on it way from 20 yards and it buried right where I had hoped. He flopped off of the bench and I found him in the creek at the bottom. A soaking wet mess.
He is a great old bird. Wing tips gone. Breast feathers thinned out from fighting. Very light from the rigors of mating. 10 1/4 inch beard. Spurs both at 1.5
Shot him with the brand new BearX Fisix FFL. This bow just hit the market 2 weeks ago. Swhacker 2 blade broadhead, Lumenok, Muddy arrow.
Just as I wrapped up the pictures, the sky opened up. A tough year as far as hearing birds for me but patience paid off in spades.
Sorry for the drowned rat pictures. He was soaked.
Thanks for all of the kind words. I found several healed over shotgun pellets in the breast meat when I was cleaning the bird. Looked like size 4 or 5 shot. Someone got a crack at him over the past few years.