When Sailor Reardon began hunting with her dad John three years ago, she chose a crossbow as her weapon of choice. It’s paid off for her with multiple species, including two gobblers she killed with a single shot from her 10-point Lady Shadow Ultra crossbow on March 24. The 13-year-old from Murrells Inlet was hunting with her dad when she downed the two birds.
“I’d never used a crossbow, so I did some research on what would be best and decided on that one because it’s very light and she is able to cock it herself. I wanted it to be something she could be completely involved in instead of me doing everything except pulling the trigger. She does it all herself and likes it that way,” said John, who has been sitting next to her on all of her hunts.
“She’s killed about everything with that crossbow that I’ve killed with a shotgun or rifle. Hogs, deer (including a doe, a 7-point, and a 9-point), a jake, and now these two gobblers. I have really enjoyed experiencing it all with her. You hear people say ‘you should have been here yesterday’ when talking about hunting, but she’s always here yesterday,” he said.
But three years ago, John wasn’t so sure it would work out to her liking.
“You just have to be so much closer to everything to get a good, ethical shot with a crossbow, and I told her that, but she was sure it’s how she wanted to hunt,” he said. “I think it’s actually helped because there’s never a questionable shot. She knows her range and she doesn’t shoot at anything unless it is definitely close enough.”
The hunt started the night before with a scouting trip to the Horry County land they hunt. After finding some roosting birds, the two came back the next morning and set up a homemade gobbler decoy.
The sun came up without much activity, but 40 minutes later, three gobblers came in quick and began going to town on the decoy, beating it up while Sailor picked out which longbeard she wanted to shoot. She fired a bolt with a three-blade Spitfire broadhead and her turkey immediately fell.
The bolt, which passed completely through Sailor’s intended target, hit a second gobbler, which hobbled around with the arrow stuck in it before crashing to the dirt. Then the third turkey aggressively jumped on the first turkey, which sprang to life momentarily before collapsing for good 20 yards into the wood line.
Both turkeys had 1-inch spurs, and one sported a 9 1/2-inch beard. They other had a 9-inch beard. Jimmy Hortman of Hortman’s Custom Wildlife Taxidermy in Pawleys Island will be handling taxidermy duties, making a double fan mount for the young huntress.