Can You Get your Turkey this Year – With a Bow, and Without a Blind?
Turkey hunting is a truly interactive experience – you set out the decoys just right, then mimic the sounds of a lonely hen by using a box call or a mouth call. You call in the big tom turkeys; they respond, and get closer and closer ….Now envision that scene, but without a 12-gauge in your camouflaged arms. Instead, you have a compound bow, an arrow with a broadhead or guillotine blade, and … no blind?For the ultimate challenge, according to accomplished archer Terry Bombeke, who was interviewed by Maine Sportsmanbowhunting columnist Chris Johnson in our May, 2018 issue, hunt without a ground blind. Bombeke explains that he carefully places a triangle of decoys very close by (within 10 yards of his position), and holds his bow vertically, with the bottom cam resting on his boot or the ground in order to minimize the amount of motion needed to draw back the bow. Then he waits until the tom’s back is to him – and goes for a body shot rather than a head shot, to increase the changes of a quick end to the hunt.“Anyone who bags a turkey in this way,” Bombeke told Johnson, “will be rewarded with one of the greatest thrills of their sporting life.”In addition to turkey-hunting gear, many Maine sportsmen are getting out their fly fishing tackle. Perfectly timed as a refresher course in proper casting is Maine guide Michael Browning’s “The Basics of Fly-Casting,” in which, through a series of vivid descriptions and sharp photos, Browning summarizes the three phases of proper casting as 1) correctly holding the rod; 2) practicing arm control and 3) mastering line control. Too many beginning anglers stare at their rod, he relates, rather than watching the line and how it loops and straightens. Browning debunks some theories and advances some others – and whether you agree or disagree, readers will enjoy his fresh take on the subject.On a similar vein of taking a complex subject and distilling it to its essence, Lou Zambello, in his “Freshwater Fly Fishing” column, presents “Simplifying the Mystery of May Hatches.” Rather than bragging about the hundreds of flies in his box, Lou prides himself on bringing with him the smallest-possible collection of caddisfly and mayfly patterns. Know when and how to use these flies, he says, and your trout net will not remain unused for long.Guest columnist Benny Holloway covers striped bass fishing; Jim Andrews (Self-Propelled Sportsman) brings his handsome dog Tucker along to provide ballast for the bow of his canoe; Joe Saltalamachia (Big Game) teaches us that a whitetail deer’s throat patch is as distinctive as a fingerprint, and can be used to help keep track of a trophy from one year to the next; and Kate Krukowski Gooding, who is quickly developing a devoted following with her “Wild Kitchen” recipes each month, presents a mouth-watering version of venison portobello mushroom meatloaf.Many of our writers helped to staff the Maine Sportsman booth at the State of Maine Sportsman Show, held at the Augusta Civic Center over Easter weekend. It was an unbelievable event – the “best ever,” according to many attendees and exhibitors.And our own Zach Fowler held court in the main lobby of the Civic Center, standing behind his “boat of reeds.” In the May issue he describes what it was like to straddle that boat and paddle out into icy Camden Harbor this winter.There’s one more story to be told about that hand-crafted vessel, but you will have to wait until the June issue. (Okay, okay – here’s a clue: the name of Fowler’s next article is, “The Final Hours of the SS Reed.”)So please enjoy the May issue as much as our writers and editorial staff enjoyed assembling it! If you’ve got something to say, write us a short letter to the editor (providing photos, if you’ve got them), and email everything to Will@MaineSportsman.com.Give us a call at 207-622-4242 – talk with Linda or Victoria in the office. Subscribe or renew your subscription, either on the phone or using the “Subscribe” link at our website, www.MaineSportsman.com. Keep in touch as a Facebook friend.And thanks once again this month to our informed readers, to our many distribution outlets and to our loyal advertisers.Next month – Fowler gets a sinking feeling; a tribute to the late fly-fishing great Lefty Kreh; how to select a used boat for salt-water fishing; and a preview of the Moose Lottery Festival in Skowhegan.Enjoy Maine’s spring – it seems like we waited a long time for it to arrive!Will Lund, editor