April 18: Sergeant First Class (ret) Joe Haynes

As told by Sergeant Major (ret) Glen Simpson

19 April 2010, Kentucky, Clear, 40 degrees

Seek-out and harvest an early season Longbeard with archery tackle during the Kentucky season without being detected and without mission failure!


With my Illinois tag now filled it was time to head home to the “Blue Grass” state and get on those early season birds there. This was going to be a special first hunt as I was going to try and get my life-long friend and best man at my wedding his first bow kill gobbler! Some may not know but Joe has helped me out tremendously as my cameraman on several occasions during the filming of Dream Season 7 due to Ken’s work schedule. Now it was time to pay him back and so the story is written!

With mission orders in hand and the high value target selected we infiltrated the target location under the cover of early morning darkness. Selecting the ambush site we put the decoys out in hopes of luring the target into the kill sack for a close range shot to the head or so was the plan. Remember….the best plan will often go south on first enemy contact as we were to find out later that morning.

The morning was spent listening to far off gobblers speak the language that we all love and could only hope that one would finally make its way down to the food plot below. Well, at 1130 one finally did just what we wanted and spotted Old King Strut and broke into that familiar trot. Remember the orders…. make a quick one shot kill to the head with the Rage; however, the gobbler saw movement that he didn’t like just prior to the release and the arrow missed it’s mark by a mere ¼ inch! Not realizing what had just took place the bird started to walk slowly straight away offering the second most lethal shot you can take on a longbeard, “his back”. Taking his time, Joe nock’d a new arrow and sent one flying at lightning speed into the birds back downing the target within seconds.

Mission complete!
Until next time… waiting for helicopter extraction and follow-on orders.