Sandy Brady of Reidsville, N.C., has been bitten by an incurable bug over the past couple of years: the sling-bow bug.
Brady set out this year with one goal in mind: to kill a turkey gobbler with a sling bow — a weapon that looks like an old Wrist Rocket slingshot, only bigger and more powerful — and to get the kill on video.
He reached his goal last Wednesday, April 25 — and then some.
Sharing a blind with callmaker Kimmy Hanks of Hanks Game Calls (who handled the camerawork), Brady drew down on a big Rockingham County gobbler at 9 yards and killed him, then found out exactly how big the bird was.
Weighing 23 1/2 pounds, with an 11 1/4-inch beard and spurs measuring 1 5/8 and 1 3/8 inches, the bird scored 76 points on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s scoring system.
According to Brady, officials with Chief AJ’s — manufacturer of sling bows, including the one he was shooting — said that’s the biggest gobbler ever taken with that weapon by a full 10 inches.
“Out of 42 years of hunting, I’ve never been this excited about accomplishing something,” said Brady, who had taken one gobbler previously with a sling bow.
Brady shot one gobbler on April 15, the second day of North Carolina’s spring gobbler season, but the bird got away. That week, he went to see Jonathan Brown at Boneyard Archery in Madison, N.C., and the two decided Brady should switch broadheads, going with a 4-bladed Muzzy.
Clad in True Timber camo, Brady was back in the woods last week, with Hanks in tow.
“Kimmy has been pushing me to get a good kill with a sling bow on film,” Brady said. “We went to a place that we hadn’t hunted before, but we’d been in there and heard one gobbler two days before. It’s a cut cornfield from back in the winter. We set up a blind.
“We got in Wednesday about 45 minutes before normal time to set out our decoys. We were hoping to get a bird close at daybreak, but we had one about 300 yards behind us.
“We heard a hen, and she started cutting, and we mimic’d everything she said. She flew into us, and it was a smoke-phase hen. She came within three yards of the blind.
“Then, the next thing I knew, Kimmy hit me on the knee and said, ‘I hear him drumming.’ I looked to my right, and I saw him step into the field, in full strut. He headed straight for the decoy and went around him twice. When he went behind the decoy the second time, I drew back.
“I really respect these birds, and he gave me the shot I wanted. He didn’t go 10 feet.”
Brady’s ultimate goal is to take a wild turkey grand slam — Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam’s and Osceola sub-species — with a sling bow, all on camera. He said he plans to be in Kansas in May to try a for a Rio Grande, then plans to go to Florida for an Osceola in 2019, and then to the midwest for a Merriam’s.
“I have had five longbeards inside 20 yards this year but have never taken a shot,” he said. “I can shoot a 50-cent piece at 20 yards with my sling bow, but I set a goal not to shoot at one more than 12 yards away. I respect the birds too much. This one was at 9 yards.”