APPLETON — Turkey hunter Curt Vacek had an experience on the opening day of the South Dakota archery season for turkey that he jokes would be perfect for a video accompanied by the music of English comedian Benny Hill.
Only this was not so funny as it was exciting. Two tom turkeys came rushing to attack the strutting decoy he carried.
“Nothing I could do, but drop to my knees as the two toms rushed in and attacked,” Vacek posted on Facebook in describing the event.
Vacek is a wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Appleton. An avid hunter and archer, he took advantage of South Dakota’s earlier turkey season and ventured out with an archery tag. He narrowed down the location of where he was ambushed in the neighboring state to somewhere near East River.
He was carrying both his blind and the strutting decoy when the toms came rushing up a ridge to attack. He was caught off guard.
As he physically fought off the attacking birds, he struggled intellectually with the ethics of the situation. He didn’t feel it would be fair sport to just jab one of the toms with an arrow or grab its neck.
As the birds realized the futility of their attack and backed off, Vacek stuck his decoy into the ground and readied an arrow to fire. He wrote that he clipped on his release, rose up, drew his bow and twisted all in one motion while trying to spot a pin on the tom. “And ... I miss,” he wrote.
Too much adrenaline, he concluded.
This was the second time that something of this sort happened to him. On another occasion, he was hiding behind his decoy when just like this time, two toms came up a ridge to go after his decoy. He missed on that occasion too.
The experience on April 9 was followed by a better outcome the next day. Vacek returned to the field on Saturday afternoon with a jake decoy instead of the strutting decoy. Saturday, April 10 was the opening of the firearm turkey season in South Dakota, so he wanted to play it safe. He was set up conventionally with a blind and the decoy planted yards away when “this long beard came spittin’ and drummin’ wanting to kick Jake’s butt … ,” he wrote.
“I was still as excited as I was that spring day I shot my first tom decades ago. And no misses this time.”
He’s ready for more excitement by heading to the field for the Minnesota turkey season. He plans to set up conventionally in a blind, he added.