Robert “Sandy” Brady of Reidsville bagged an eastern wild turkey gobbler in Rockingham County the last day of the 2016 hunting season.
Although the bird weighed a modest 17 pounds, sported an 11 1/8-inch beard and 1 3/8-inch spurs, it nonetheless is a North Carolina and world-record for the type of weapon he used, a sling bow.
A sling bow is a sling-shot modified to shoot arrows and, according to Brady, an invention of John “Chief AJ” Huffer of Tuscola, Ill.
While hunting during February 2016 in New Zealand, Brady used a sling bow to drop two South Pacific feral goats, a wild turkey and a red stag with a 416-inch antler rack. Each species was a world-record with a sling bow.
Once Brady returned to the United States, the 48-year-old owner of Earth Stone Products and a pro-staffer for Mossy Oak and Hanks Game Calls hoped to bag the country’s first sling-bow-taken Eastern gobbler.
After hunting the entire season, he wasn’t able to bag his thunder chicken until the last day. He had two shots at longbeards earlier but missed.
On March 6, Brady spied a gobbler walking across a Rockingham County field. The hunter circled through adjoining woods to intercept the turkey when it abruptly changed direction, forcing him to change his game plan.
“I was 30 yards in the woods with a 4-foot-diameter oak in front of me,” he said. “He turned and came straight toward me, so I had to freeze.”
The turkey reached 30 yards from the edge of the woods then stopped, so Brady yelped with his mouth-caller.
“That’s when this bird and four birds I hadn’t seen gobbled at me,” he said. “One of them walked through the other four, headed straight for me, gobbling every step. My blood pressure went through the roof. From behind the tree, I drew back my arrow when he was 15 yards away.”
When the bird reached 8 yards from the oak, Brady peaked around the tree’s right side, aimed and released a 28-inch Easton carbon arrow with a 7/8-inch-cut Muzzy broadhead. The arrow sliced into the gobbler’s breast and exited near its tail.
“He did a back swan dive, flapped his wings twice and didn’t move,” Brady said.
The United State’s first sling-bow-killed gobbler weighed 17 pounds, had an 11 1/8-inch beard and 1 3/8-inch spurs.
“Tony Reaves of South Boston, Va., killed two jakes, one last year and one this year,” Brady said. “They’re the only other sling bow-shot wild turkeys in U.S. So I guess that kinda makes my turkey the world’s record, so far, taken with a sling bow.”
Brady, once a videographer for famed television hunter Tom Miranda, said he’d filmed many turkey hunts and killed turkeys. But using a sling bow rejuvenated his hunting juices.
“My personal (sling bow) shooting range is 20 yards, so that means I got to get close enough to (wild game) to hear ’em breathe,” he said. “It’s a real challenge. I can’t wait for deer season, and I think sling-bow hunting will excite other hunters.”
Because sling bows aren’t mentioned under legal archery equipment in the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Regulations Digest, a question arose about its legality. But Col. Jonathan Evans, the agency’s enforcement director, and Major Todd Kennedy researched the topic.
“(The WRC is) certainly not opposed to allowing folks to hunt with sling bows, but we will look at the rules to see if we need to make tweaks,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think (WRC) officers will give citations for using them.”
Kennedy said he expects sling bows as archery equipment will be added to state hunting regulations in the future.