Monday, September 11, 2017

Up Close and Personal, Hunting Alligators

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The research was done and now the time came to fish or cut bait.  My wife Pam and I took off to Braithwaite, LA to hunt Alligators.  From Council Bluffs we headed to St. Louis and then down I-55 for our first stop in Memphis, Tenn.  This was an enjoyable drive and we had the opportunity to see country we had never seen before. That night we enjoyed some of the finest barbecue we had ever experienced.  

From this overnight stop we were off to Louisiana for our overnight stay at Chalmette, LA.  This was a great opportunity to enjoy some fine Cajun cooking and we took advantage of the local restaurants. After a good nights rest we were pumped and ready for the hunt.  

At the jump off for the hunt, we met our guide Fred and Grant his assistant.  This was very educational and interesting.  These two men were from Florida where they took tourists on air boat tours of the swamps in their area for bird watchers. When we were out on the boat, Fred was able to identify every bird we saw and tell us something about the specie.  This added to the adventure.  In addition he had previously been a commercial hunter of Alligators in Florida for many years.  There was plenty of know how with these two men and we became very comfortable.  

During the month of September they came to Louisiana to guide for the owner of Louisiana Marsh Adventures.  This is Alligator season in Louisiana.  We had the expertise of these men with guiding, the marsh area, and handling alligators.  This made for a great trip. 

The first thing I was required do was sign my license to hunt Alligators in Louisiana.  Then we were given an orientation of what would happen and how we would hunt the beasts.  A critical thing was the placement of the bullet in the gator to bring it to a quick demise.  


If you look where Fred is pointing his finger this is the spot where the bullet would be placed to kill the gator. It is about the size of a quarter. There is a moon shaped curved bone that goes over the head of the beast and the spot where Fred's finger is pointing is the spot.  This leads to the spinal cord.  When the bullet hits this spot the gator will crock off.  It sounded easy, but I was to learn how difficult it really was to get to that spot.  

Placing the round anywhere other than this spot would not kill the beast, and you may have a bigger fight than you had bargained for as it might make the beast angrier. 

Fred had a small rifle that shot a 22 magnum shell and that did the job.  This was the smallest caliber shell I have ever used to kill big game.  As I looked at the gun, I really missed my 30-06 and my 300. 



This is the air boat that took us around the swamp.  We were supplied with ear muffs to protect our hearing and life vests in case we fell out of the boat.  Grant told us just to stand up as the swamp was not more than waist deep  The engine was very loud and the ride was really exciting as we slithered over the top of beds of vegetation. 

Pam in the air boat. 
Just before I sat down. 
Grant getting ready to shove us off. 
Fred running the boat. 
We headed from the dock into the swamps.  We passed through a gateway that was built into a Levee separating the dock area from the swamp.  This was constructed after Katrina to prevent flooding in the future. In case of another hurricane the gates can be closed to prevent storm surge. 

Entering into the swamp, Fred explained how the gator were baited.  A quarter of a chicken is used as bait and hooked into a really big hook.  The bait is suspended above the water attached to a fiber glass pole with the line attached to a tree on shore.  They want the bait suspended high enough so that small gators cannot get at it and out of the water to avoid other creatures that would feast on it.  The picture below is not the best due to the sun, but it gives you an idea what you would find if a gator had not grabbed the bait.  Fred told us after the season was over it took two months before he could eat chicken again.




The line is tight at this location.  That means there is a gator on the end ready to be pulled in.  Fred said you can never know how big it is until you get it up to the side of the boat.  Sometimes big gators come to the boat gently and other times they raise holy cane and you never know what you have.  

This gator was not big, but what was interesting was a really big gator was holding onto it's body.  He was eating on this gator and had eaten almost all of his tail.  When he saw us, he let go and sank back down into the dark.  Fred said he was a nice specimen and he wanted to come back and check this location as the big gator may want to finish his meal. Fred said he could see bubbles rising from the swamp.  That meant it stayed around.

We moved through the bayou checking out the locations where bait was set.  In each case there was a small gator on the hook.  I would pull it in far enough for Fred to get a good look and then decide if it was worth keeping.  In almost every case it was small and Fred would say, "We have more baits to check and we will keep checking until we find a big gator for you to kill."

After four or five spots, we pulled in a really good looking beast.  Fred said we will remember this big boy and see if we can find something bigger.  He was estimated at 9 to 10 feet in the water.  He came to the boat slowly until the distance between his nostrils and his eyes could be seen.  That, I was told, was how you can tell the size of the gator.  We saw some gators swimming that were estimated at over 12 feet just by judging the distance from the nostrils to the eyes. 


Spanish Moss
 Looking at the canal we were on. 
Flying over the vegetation that was growing on the canal. 

This is the biggest gator we had seen previously that was hooked and we had passed him up to look for a bigger beast.  We came back to this location to harvest him after checking a number of spots.  He came to the boat slowly but as I felt the line he was really heavy. I handed the line to Fred and got ready to shoot.  I could not get a good bead on the sweet spot as the gator would not stay next to where I was standing. Fred was off to my left.  Also, I had the gun up quite a ways from the gator's head. This was not the correct way to make the shot.  This was not like shooting a scoped rifle at a big animal.  Right at the time Pam took the picture, I was doing poorly.  I did it all wrong and took a shot.  Even though it hit the gator's head, it did not kill it and suddenly it became really enraged.  I am not used to shooting iron sites especially at a moving target. 
 Fred told me to come to his left side and put the barrel of the gun close to his head at the right time.  The reptile was really enraged after I shot him in the head. He rolled and went back and forth. Finally, there was a pause and I put the barrel of the gun right above the spot and shot him. The small rifle was not heavy and I took the gun out of my shoulder and just held it with my right hand. All at once he went dead still in the water.  Fred kept him in the water and let him bleed out.  That way he would not have blood in the boat. 

There it is, calm as can be after putting up all that ruckus.  Fred estimated him at 9 to 10 feet.  He was maneuvered around until he was slid into the bottom of the boat.  All of a sudden his legs moved and it scared both of us to death thinking he was still alive.  Alligators, I was told,  have a lot of nerve endings in the extremities so his tail moved around also.  Fred taped his mouth shut and that made me feel better. 

Then he said, "I have two tags to fill.  Do you want to shoot another one?"  Now, I was not going to pass up another opportunity to shoot another gator and anyway we were having a great time.  We must have stopped at eight spots to see if there was a big gator there.  If there wasn't, we moved on to another baited spot, all the time looking at the beauty of the bayou and observing the many birds.

Pam and I helped Fred move the gator into the bottom of the boat.  He felt like smooth soft leather and the top of the tail and the body that I thought was an exo skeletan was nothing but smooth and semi soft hide. 

The next location proved to be thrilling as this gator from the beginning did not like being hooked and he was excited to get onto the boat.

This beast was really angry.  He tried to take off and dive down. Next, he was trying to roll.  Fred handed me the line and I could hardly hold onto it.  Slowly I got him up to the side of the boat where I handed the line back to Fred.  This gator had a real nasty streak in him and I was concerned that with all the commotion I would not get a shot.

As I started to put the bullet in the sweet spot, he rolled and the round went into the water. I missed and shot the water.  Fred said, " Take your time."  The gator was not going anywhere and when he stopped rolling momentarily, I quickly took the opportunity to shoot.  I had the gun at the backside of his head and let him have it right in the quarter size spot on the back of his head.   He went limp.  You can see that I am holding the gun with two hands and the end of the barrel is just above the gator's head.  I remembered my mistake after taking the first shot on the previous gator and learned a lesson.  That picture was taken right after the shot was made and you can see the blood coming out.  He was kept in the water to let him bleed out before he was boated.  

That made two gators and we had an outstanding morning.  First, we saw hundreds of birds then the beauty of the bayou plus the alligator hunting.  To show for our efforts, we got to harvest two of them.  My deal with the outfitter was to keep the gator head and hide.  I would have to wait for 6 months to get the tanning done or trade it out for one that was already tanned and prepared.  We took the trade, and that way we went home with a head and a hide. 

For meat, we bought some meat raised at an alligator farm rather than the meat from the bayou which would have been muddy tasting.  We were not interested in that.

Pam and I with the two gators. 
Fred and I with the two gators.  I am 6'3" so that gives you an idea of the size of the two of them. 

What a trip!  So much excitement in such a short period of time and we enjoyed every minute.  The plus was traveling around the bayou on an air boat and enjoying the outdoors, including all the birds and vegetation.

We highly recommend Louisiana Marsh Adventures. (https://www.louisianamarshadventures.com)
Sierra Trading Post

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Huntin Dem Gators

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Last winter when it was cold and miserable outside while sitting by the fire staying warm inside, researching and reading something interesting was the order for the day.  I enjoy the history channel  programs.  One program really caught my eye and it was called "Swamp People."  Hunting alligators looked really dangerous and took a lot of skill.  Getting hooked was easy and every week the program was watched with fascination.
American Alligator.jpg

On a trip with our favorite tour company in South America, alligator was part of the buffet among other things that were not very interesting.   A number of the people in the group tried it out, and it tasted really good.  I can truthfully say it reminded me of chicken.  It did not taste like chicken, just reminded me.  Locking the experience away, the research was started to see what would I have to do in order to have the experience of an alligator hunt.



I was amazed at how the locals of the area hunted these big prehistoric monsters.  It was assumed that they slipped quietly through the swamps and when eyes poking up were spotted, they blasted them with a high powered rifle in the head.  That is my preferred method of harvesting big game and most important dangerous game.  From Buffalo, to Hogs to Bear, never give them a chance.  Those animals can put a really bad hurt on you short of death.

They baited them by hanging a piece of chicken from a limb on a really bad and big looking hook and then periodically checked to see if the bait was chomped down on and the hook swallowed.  As the hunter approached the location where the bait was tied, there was no movement.  After the hunter picked up the line and started pulling it toward him, the water parted and the devil himself rose up to take a chomp out of the person who did this to him.  The fight was on.

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It was amazing how a person could hold onto those enormous gators.  I saw sizes up to 11 feet and they were really angry.  When the gator's head was in the right position next to the boat, it was shot with a small caliber bullet right in the back end of the head.  It was amazing.  The big animal went totally limp after all that ruckus it raised.  Hauled into the boat, these beasts were enormous.

I talked to my wife one day about going on an alligator hunt, and as she walked away to take care of some business, I am sure she said, "go ahead, I don't care."  To this day, it has been assumed, she did not hear me, or did not want to hear.  Anyway, the research was on.


Learning about your quarry and who they are is one thing that should be done before going after something of this nature.

The American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensi) is the largest reptile in North America. As I watched all the shows on TV, they looked greenish black to me but they are apparently black of color. The color of the water where the shots were made might have been the reason for the color  Big head, long tail, and a round body with short thick limbs make them easy to spot. That huge tail enables the monster to propel itself through the water. and the tail accounts for almost half the length of the beast.

Their diet is mainly fish, turtles, various mammals, birds and other reptiles.  There are approximately 5 million gators in the U.S.  Florida has an estimated 1.25 million with Louisiana second.  Based on the article I read, their range appears to be moving northward.  Wait till they get to Iowa.  When father winter sets into the prairie, it will all be over if they make it this far.

The big gators are very territorial and will defend their territory.  I don't know against whom, unless it is another big creature or a hunter.  They live in freshwater such as marshes, wetlands, rivers, and swamps.  Mating season is April through May.  I thought that hunting season would be during this time of the year, but not so.


The female will lay about 25 to 50 eggs and they generally hatch around mid August. What was really interesting was how nature determines the sex of the creature.  Temperatures of 86 degrees during incubation produces females and temperatures of 93 degrees produces males.  After they hatch, that is the sex they will become.  I am sure there must be other creatures of the wild that experience the same type of sex determination.

First stop was Florida, and a good place to begin the research and find an outfitter that would meet my requirements.  The state is plush with possibilities, and since Pam decided to go and we would be taking coolers and driving, we then focused on Louisiana.  This state is number 2 in population and the Alligator is the state reptile.  If you are on the east coast, go to Florida.  You will find an outfitter to meet your needs.

I started out with lodges with all the amenities, but moved off of that idea as there were not many of them. Some really plush vacation spots were found, but I just want to kill an Alligator.  We are not looking for a week long swamp experience in an exquisite and expensive resort.  Most of what I found was in the New Orleans area and there were lots of options.  One was really interesting and I would have to book a year in advance.  At my age I may not be around next year, and so moved on to look at another option.  The hunt at this location was basically a day, with guide, boat, and lunch provided. When talking with the owner, he wanted to know how big a gator I wanted to kill.  Having no idea, I said one that is representative of the area, but at least eight feet.


There is a season in September when the beasts can be hunted.  Licenses are required and being an out of stater I had to buy the out of state license.  What was interesting was all of the outfitters charged for my wife to come along, and that was $250.00 extra.  She is coming with me as we intend to dine on some Cajun food, and she is in charge of the camera.  We are planning on killing one.

The outfitter we selected was Louisiana Marsh Adventure in Braitwaite, LA 70040.  Phone is 504-684 3432.  You can also locate them on their website at (www.louisianamarshadventures.com).  Ask for Mike. I found him very informative and helpful.

What Pam and I want out of this experience is to harvest a gator that is representative of the size for the area.  We also want some alligator meat, the head, and the hide.  I found out that I can buy a head and hide from Mike and take that with me home along with meat that is pre-packed and frozen.  Otherwise, head and hide would take some time to get tanned and processed.  We decided to come back with a hide and head that was on site.  That way we would not have to wait to get the animal back.

The hide will be given to a friend of mine that has a hobby of leather working.  He is looking forward to getting the hide.  The head will go on the mantel above the fireplace in our lower level.  Right above it is a picture of a very beautiful country pond.  The head will be very fitting there and make a good conversation piece.  We have friends that are looking forward to the meat.

Orvis


Good hunting, good fishing and good luck, Hank

Alligator Recipe

Ingredients: 

  1. 2 lbs. alligator tail meat cut into 1 inch squares
  2. 3 cups milk
  3. 1 cup mustard
  4. 2 tablespoonfuls creole seasoning
  5. 2 cups fish fry mix of some brand
  6. 2 cups pancake mix
  7. cooking oil
Directions;
  1. Soak 1 inch cubes of alligator in milk for two to three hours.
  2. drain milk and season meat with creole seasoning.
  3. Add the mustard to the bowl and stir the cubes coating well.
  4. Mix fish fry and pancake together and put in shaking bag along with the coated cubes.
  5. Shake the living daylights out of the mixture.
  6. Fry in oil until golden brown,  suggested temp is 375 degrees.
  7. Serve with slaw, your favorite high caloric french fries, Tusker Beer if available, and fish dip. 

Bon Appetit 



































Friday, August 11, 2017

Back to Webster South Dakota

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Wow, the weather just stayed rotten during the last weeks of May and the first of June.  Looking at a trip to the panhandle of western Nebraska was totally out of the question unless things turned a little more mellow.  My favorite haunt for the last 20 years is the Glacial Lakes region of eastern South Dakota.  So it was with deep intent that the study of the weather and frontal movements in that area began.
The fronts just rolled through with winds and T storms through the area.  There is always one thing that is constant and that is the wind.  It is either blowing or howling in the Webster, SD area.  I noticed there was an opportunity for a high pressure to move in for a few days and the forecast was for clearing skies and breezes, more or less, and probably more, from the south.

After church on a Sunday, the weather was studied for the last time and the decision was made to go in the afternoon and fish the next two and a half days.  The next problem was a room.  The motels were full, but I could stay at two different ones if I did not mind changing.  I was by myself so that was not a problem.

The drive up was uneventful except the cars, once I was in South Dakota, went by me like I was standing still.  The speed limit is 80 mph and the natives drive it plus.  As I was pulling the boat, I maintained a steady 70.  I need to point out that in the Sioux City, Iowa area on I-29, law enforcement places a remote radar detection device that takes a picture of your vehicle and license plate.  If you are going faster than the speed limit, you are nailed.  It has already cost me $65.00 so if you are traveling north or south in the Sioux City, Iowa area, pay attention to the speed limit.


Next morning after grabbing bait, advice, and 5 gallons of coffee, the boat was launched at the Kanago boat ramp.  Wind was right out of the east at about 5 mph.  The water level looked a little lower than it did last year.

Fishing was started just 100 yards from the boat ramp working a chartreuse jig and crawler in eight to twelve feet of water.  Getting more shallow put me into moss beds and coated up the lure.  At eight feet no moss was picked up.  Good returns on the fish finder showed plenty of fish in the ten foot area.  After working the area for about 45 minutes moving south east from the dock, I headed northerly to the first big island.
The southwesterly corner of the island and half way up I picked up small mouth bass. 


On the northerly side of the island and staying in at least 8 to 12 feet of water, I worked the jig along the shore.  Boom! The rod bent over and the line moved back and forth.  What was that?  There was only one thing that I was sure of that was on my line, and I was correct.  I started picking up small mouth bass.  They are fun to catch and they take off and run just like a northern pike.  Plus, you may have to work the catch around the boat to the other side as they have a lot of fight.  There is a slot limit in South Dakota and you can keep only fish under 14 inches or over 18 inches, and they eat really good.
As I moved up along the side of the island to where some timber sticks out, walleye were boated.  They were not big but were above the 15 inch range.  As long as the boat was kept in about ten feet of water, I got a lot of hits and now and then a fish.  As fast as it turned on, it turned off and I did not catch a thing.  It was time to move.
The northerly tip of the first island, and it was at this location walleye and small mouth bass were caught. 

I was on the lake at 6 a.m. and my energy level began to run a little low.  At noon I decided to take a break, enjoy some lunch, and check into my next motel, and take a nap if I could get in the room.

The wind was still out of the east, but picked up a little.  Putting the boat back on the trailer alone was a bit of a task, and fortunately a fisherman came over and gave me a hand.  There is always someone willing to help when you are alone.  I counted the boat trailers and there were 37 at this location.  There is another ramp north that I did not use this trip.

Back on the lake by 3:30 p.m., I fished the area of Bresky Bay and got nothing. I then fished the islands on the northwest area of the lake.  Not a thing was caught and not one strike was felt.  Moving down the northerly side of the lake, the old school bus point was fished for about 30 minutes.  The minute the boat got into less than 5 to 8 feet, moss was picked up on the bait.  The graph did not show much and I never got a strike.
Bresky bay.  You can always find it 


From here I headed southeast to the standing timber on the south side of the lake that protrudes out into the lake.  No runs, no hits and no errors.  The graph showed nothing and there was little time spent at this location even though years ago there was some really nice fish hammered.
This in the past has been a good location.  Just southeast of school bus point and years past fish were caught here. Water is about 15 to 20 feet deep.  

From this location the boat was moved into a bay that is surrounded by timber on three sides.  There is a buoy line that you are not allowed to cross as it puts you in a federal reserve.  It is easy to spot. There is a lookout tower on the south shore hillside.  Some sparse standing timber marks the buoy line.  I would love to fish that bay because no one is allowed to go in there and it has to be a regular fish market.  We will never know.
There is a poacher following me around.  That is the tree line in the bay the buoy line is just beyond the trees.  Over the years I have always had some good luck at this location.

Staying in the 8 to 15 foot range produced nothing.  The water at this location was a little warmer than the water back on the west side of the lake.  Also I was continually having moss problems.  After moving out to 20 feet,  hits were made and I picked up a nice walleye.  My limit was made for the day and it was time to head back to the dock.

Orvis

Good hunting, good fishing and good luck. Hank. 

text

Monday, July 31, 2017

Fishing a New Lake

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Last fall we had friends tell us about fishing Johnson Reservoir at Lexington, Nebraska.  Since it is only a 3 hour drive from Council Bluffs, IA we decided to give it a try.  The state of Nebraska in the early spring had put out a list of the top Walleye lakes and this was one of the closest ones to us.  The really good ones were way out in the pan handle of western Nebraska


Bass Pro Shops Gold Series 34''- 67'' Telescoping Handle Landing Nets
I use this net with good success.  It is really deep and they don't jump out.  Buy today from Bass Pro by clicking on the picture or the link above. 

The weather had been horrible in the spring and fishing would not have been very good.  Cold temps with lots of rain and wind in the central part of Nebraska would not make it worthwhile to make the trip.  When we got into the first week of June, temperatures changed and there was a series of high pressure areas through the mid section of the state.  We decided to give it a try and my wife, Pam, said she would come along. This is the advantage of being retired.  You go when things look good.  You do not have to wait for a weekend and hope you won't get blown or rained off the lake.

The lake is really close to Lexington and the the town has a population of ten thousand plus.  It is a good size community for central Nebraska.  There is plenty of good restaurants and lodging is good plus there is plenty of opportunity to park a pickup truck with a boat.  This is important for a fisherman that does not want to rough it.  Read my book "How to Hunt Like a Gentleman," available through Lulu and Amazon.  In my old age I have become soft or I just like to have comfort when I go hunting or fishing.

We checked on line the availability of place to buy bait and there is only two.  The first one is a gas station and convenience store.  They have everything you need.  The second is on the west side of the lake.  They have good advice.  You can always drive down to Elwood just a few miles south of the lake and they pride themselves they sell Arkansas shiners.  A smaller minnow with a streak of silver down the side.  I have to admit this bait produced better results. 

We drove out in the morning.  On the west side of the lake is a fish cleaning station and a boat ramp that is really great.  The facilities are owned by the state and you need to buy a Nebraska Park Permit.  The permit is issued for each 24 hour period that you are on the lake.  We had planned to fish the afternoon and evening, the morning and then home.  One permit was all we needed.  The boat ramp is very good and you can launch from either side.  The ramp drops quickly into deep water so there is no problem of getting the boat off and back on the trailer.  I have fished alone at a strange lake before where the ramp was in shallow water and I have made a horse's backside of myself getting the boat off and on the trailer.

The ramp is at the inlet from a stream for the lake.  We were told to fish about 20 yards from the inlet and on the opposite of the lake.  We were also told there was an 18 inch slot which is a really nice fish. 

There is Pam fishing diligently.  What is amazing is when she pulls out a book and starts reading, she catches a lot of fish.  The secret to taking you wife with you is a good motel, good food, and a good book to read while they fish. 

There must have been ten boats all jigging or still fishing from the dock.  We found an opening and started fishing working jigs recommended by the bait shop.  At this location we did not pick up a thing and decided to move over to the easterly shore line and work a drop off that weaved the length of the lake.  The center of the lake is deep.
Boat ramp to the left, inlet to the right.  When we first got here there must have been 10 boats.
We did not see anyone catch anything and neither did we. 

Wind was south westerly and so the fishing as the sky clouded over picked up for us.  We worked the red and white jig in eight to fifteen feet of water.  We picked up fish.  That part was good, but the walleye were in the twelve to fourteen inch range.  This is a good sign which means they are spawning and the lake is reproducing.  We also picked up white bass.  Now, we both like the meat of white bass after you remove the red meat from down the lateral line.  Here again the fish were small and we pitched them all back.  As of the afternoon and evening we did not boat a keeper fish, but we were busy taking them off and putting on another shiner.  A successful day is catching even if you don't keep any. 

As evening approached we pulled out and were both starved.  Also, the shade from the clouds came and went and we got a little thirsty.  Always take plenty of water.

Off the lake we headed into town and on the west side of the road is a Mexican restaurant.  If you like Mexican food, it was outstanding.  I do not remember the name, and it was not a chain, but the food was plentiful and really great. It is the first Mexican restaurant you come to, so you can't miss it. 

The next morning we hit the lake early and wanted to be off before the weather hit.  The forecast was for rain and wind and at the time we put onto the lake there was northerly flow and we had a low overcast.  We skipped fishing at the inlet and headed over to the east side of the lake and began to jig where we had caught fish before.  It was still somewhat hot, but nothing like it been the previous day.  Catch and pitch was what was going on, and then it totally turned off, and the temperature went down a little.  This must have been the frontal passage and it was time to get on the road. 

We got off the lake and covered the boat in the parking area and headed back to C.B. The timing could not have been more perfect and the rain began to pour and it came down in buckets.

We caught fish, but I believe this lake is fished really heavy as there is housing almost all around it.  If you want white bass, this is probably one of your better choices. 


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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck, Hank.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hunting the Grocery Store in Iowa


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After great success at the Nebraska location, it was time to move to the Iowa location just a ten minute drive from my home.  This farm has it all.  Water to the west, woods and pasture in the center, corn to the south and more wood to the east.  This is turkey heaven, and 90% of the time there was great luck either for a tom or a big jake.  Meat is meat, and I will take whatever is available.  After all, wild game is the perfect food.

The first stop for the morning was a location south of the pasture and woods. I would hunt here if all else failed and there was no score.  This was a picked cornfield and the birds always hang out here after coming off the roost.  The location selected put me facing straight west.  With the timber and sun at my back, I would have a good hiding place.
There is the funky Chicken decoy waiting to sucker some big boy into a fight.
Click on the link below and check it out at Bass Pro.

flextone Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy

I was set up by 07:30 a.m. and everything was in order with two feeder hens along with the Funky Chicken decoy.  Having tried this experience twice, it was obvious the Funky Chicken decoy suckered in the boys.  Next year I am going to bring a camera along and get this experience on tape.  The big boys just can't handle having this guy hanging around.  They want to kick the living tar out of him.

When my wife and I had hiked through this area, there were always plenty of turkeys so there was a lot of confidence.  Settling in with some fallen timber around me and waiting 20 minutes to let the woods settle down, the hunt was on.  The birds began to sing and I could hear the squirrels running around.  Deer came out of the woods and never paid me a bit of attention. Cutting loose with a couple of yelps and some clucks and purrs on the call,  gave some big boy out there a message there was a willing hen waiting.
The two feeder hens were put out with Mr. Funky.  The manufacturer recommended this combination of three decoys. Funky Chicken along with two feeder hens was all you needed. 

Seven hens came out of the woods to the south of me doing what turkeys always do.  They scratched and pecked at the ground.  Passing withing 10 yards of me, they paid no attention that I was even there.  This was a good sign and gave me confidence that the hiding place was well concealed. The disappointment was in not seeing a tom or even a jake with this group of young ladies.  The question was asked, "Where are the boys with all these ladies hanging around?"

Sitting there till 11 a.m. produced nothing and I went home.  As I pulled into the driveway, my wife was out watering her flowers and came over immediately expecting to see a nice specimen of a turkey.  That was a disappointment. Now the plan was to go into the pasture north of me in the evening prior to the birds heading to the roost.

Winchester Long Beard XR Magnum Turkey Shotshells


Winchester Long Beard XR Magnum Turkey Shotshells
This is the shell I shoot.  I shoot 3.5 inch # 5 shot.  When shooting a really big bird you need all the power you can harness. Click on the link or the picture to buy from Bass Pro. 

Afternoon came and went, and I headed back over to the pasture that was north of the previous spot.  The birds historically had worked from the west to the fields, pastures and timber in the east of the farm.  The one concern was keeping track of the cattle in the pasture.  They always stayed pretty much together, but my wife and I take our blue grass cuttings weekly over to them.  This must be like cocaine to a cow because when they see the black truck they all come running.  This time the truck was parked close to the edge of the timber.  A couple looked up, but then went back to grazing.  I have had them follow me.

As I walked back to the east end of the pasture, a couple of jakes and a few hens were spotted, but nothing of any size.

The funky decoy and the two feeders were set up and I took a position against some timber on the opposite side of the electric fence surrounding the pasture. On site by 5 p.m., it was a beautiful evening.  After letting the woods settle down again and waiting until I could hear the sounds of the forest, everything was ready.  The call went into action with a couple of yelps, some clucks and purrs to let one of the boys know a woman was in the woods.
There he is, the Funky Chicken decoy attempting to sucker some unsuspecting turkey into a fight. 


This time a camo folding chair was brought along and there was plenty of fallen timber to huddle into to keep myself hidden.  There is nothing like comfort when you are hunting. If you read my book "How to Hunt Like a Gentleman" you will see, besides harvesting game, it is good to be comfortable.

I hid right behind the electric fence.  In years past, birds had traversed this area.  Not today. 


I waited until 7 p.m. as the sun was on the western horizon and gave it up.  It happens and you don't score all the time.  It is called hunting, not shooting.  I have had a good season with a nice tom and the thrill of watching the Funky Chicken Decoy in action.

The balance of the season in southwest Iowa was filled with rain and there was no opportunity to go again.  As of this writing, it is almost time to start fishing.

Sierra Trading Post

Good hunting, good fishing, Hank. 




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