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Stark bags his first tom with a bow

Alexandria's Dennis Stark shot this tom on opening morning of Minnesota's spring turkey hunting season on April 17. It was Stark's first turkey shot using archery equipment. (Submitted photo)

Alexandria's Dennis Stark showed a little patience on a morning hunt during Minnesota's turkey hunting opener on April 17 and was rewarded with the first tom he has taken with a bow.

Stark went out early on opening morning with his son, Durk, on a property near Durk's home.

"Nothing was happening, so about 9 a.m. he said I should come over to his blind across the field close to the pines," Dennis said. "He had to go back to his place, so I stayed in his blind with two decoys about 10 yards from the blind."

Almost an hour had passed when Dennis noticed three toms coming across the field about 100 yards away. The birds were heading to his left toward the pines he was set up near, so he gave a few calls to get their attention. The birds quickly took notice of the hen and the full-bodied jake decoy that Dennis was hunting over.

"The three longbeards started running right for the decoys," he said. "When they got close, they started to jump and kick the decoys. The one I shot was on top of the jake decoy."

Dennis drew his Mathews Z7 bow and released an arrow that found its mark through the vitals after hitting the base of the wing.

"When he was down, the other two longbeards came back to peck on him," Dennis said. "They do that because of their pecking-order competition. I called my son and he came to pick me up after we took several photos. It all happened so fast. So very exciting. Very thankful for the opportunity."

Hunters who use archery equipment for spring turkeys can hunt all the way through the full Minnesota season that ends on May 31.

The birds that call Minnesota home are of the eastern subspecies. Dennis went to South Dakota this week, where he bagged a Merriam tom with a shotgun, as well.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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