Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Turkey Time

I like to hunt fall turkeys in Nebraska.  Even though I live in Iowa, I like the way Nebraska sets up it's fall season.  It starts in September and closes the end of the year.  It gives you plenty of time to track them down and find out where they are moving about.  In the fall they flock up and the issue is not calling a big tom, but finding their routes where they feed.  Also in the fall you can shoot hens as well as toms or jakes, and meat is meat.

I hunt north of Fort Calhoun in the hills overlooking the Missouri River bottoms lands.  Woods, steep hills, flowing water, and crop land make this an ideal place for the birds to thrive.  This fall the landowner had rented his pasture and while he said come out anyway, I decided to wait till the cows were gone.  With a mild fall, the cows stayed a lot longer than I planned.  The owner did not move them until deer season started.  Nebraska is a rifle state, and I was not going to hunt or roam around the farm during the deer season.  I hunt deer in Iowa so my scouting that was done earlier in the year would not apply. Also the weather turned really bad by the time I was ready to hunt.  It turned really cold and the ground was covered with snow.

The first day I stayed on the north end of the farm moving around, sitting, listening, and waiting.  There was not a lot of tracks of either deer or turkey.  The landowner stated that they were not seeing many birds around the house and rarely saw any deer.  This was unusual.   Last fall when I drove up his road it was like running an obstacle course with all the deer and turkey running around.  Then the reason why came bounding out of the house.  They bought a new dog, and she loved to chase the birds and wildlife when they came near the house.  It was time to move down south.

As I moved into the terraced pasture ground, the presence of tracks became more prevalent.  This was more like what I had been used to seeing on this farm.  I came to a grove of trees and the snow was literally pounded down with turkey and deer tracks.  It was late in the morning, so I set up above the grove of trees and just glassed the area.  There was no sign of any movement either in the trees or beyond to the corn field.

The grove of trees looking west.  Notice the gun and chair.  I sat for about an hour on the other side of the tree but saw nothing. 
 I moved on top of the hill looking east and watched that area of open pasture to the next property.  This property is owned by a non profit organization and no hunting is allowed.  I think it is about a half a section of standing timber.  The birds move in and out of the area, but I saw nothing.

I then moved up to the top of the hill, and down the fence line bordering the landowners farm.  I can go south to his southern fence line, but I cannot go east as I would be in a no hunting area.  Tracks ran up and down the hill.  As I got to the bottom, the turkey had the snow packed solid. 

You are looking south along the fence line.  To the left is no hunting.  To the right is the bottom of a very steep hill and drainage dams are on the side of the hill.  The piece of wood in the left of the picture is part of a ladder for a tree stand.  The snow is packed from turkey tracks along the fence line.  I plan to be in this location first thing in the morning. 
 I sat and waited for about an hour, but saw nothing.  Deer came over the hill in front of me, jumped over the fence and moved into the no hunting area.  Turkey came out behind me and up over the hills.  I just barely caught them out of the corner of my eye.  More turkeys moved back into the no hunting area, but none in gun range.  This place is a regular meat market.

The plans are made.  Tomorrow morning before the light of day, I will be sitting right where this picture was taken. 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.   Hank

If you have an interesting story or a great picture of a successful outing, e-mail it and we can share it with our readers.

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