Sunday, January 9, 2011

Turkey Time Day 3

Ouch!  The temperature was down to 8 degrees with a slight breeze from the south.  That made it all the colder, but I was off again to Fort Calhoun to harvest my second turkey for the fall tag. 

Three days ago they came out of the woods almost on time, so I was expecting the same type of experience. With all the clothing, I walked like the Sta Puff Marshmallow Man from an old movie.  Wow!  Was it cold and as I descended to the bottom of the hill it was even colder.  Cold air settles and it had really settled this time. 

Daylight came and I could hear a few hens starting to come off the roost.  The noise was picking up tempo, but nothing like it was several days ago.  Still I could hear the birds behind and in front of me.  As the sun came up over the tree line, several really big birds came out of the woods and slowly made their way up the hill to the corn fields.  These were really big birds, but as before, they were not within gun range.  More came out of the timber, but not in the general location they had shown themselves before.  Also, there was not nearly the yelping that they generally do this time of the morning.  I was concerned that maybe part of the flock had moved off to a different location.

There was quite a bit of noise behind me, and it was getting closer.  I was facing downhill with my back facing uphill.  This was the best position originally, but now I was not so sure.  I could faintly hear the familar sound turkeys make all day.  They made a low clucking and purring sound as they slowly moved about feeding.  I turned to the right and there were two not more than four feet away.  Two nice size hens and they  quietly walked down the hill.  I froze, started moving my hands to the gun, but they were really moving  and they flew right into the woods.  To make matters worse, two more jumped right after that and flew up the hill.  I sat without even firing a shot or even having my gun shouldered.  I continued to wait another hour, but with the temperature and wind, a person can only take so much cold and humidity.  It was almost 11 AM, so I headed out for a lunch break with the landowner.

After heading back to my spot, I crested the top of a hill.  There below me were several hundred turkey.  They had all come out of the woods after I left.  Where they came from I don't know, but there were a lot of birds.  I continued to move down to my spot, but this time I moved out along the fence line and sat in front of a fence post.  The sun would be shining on me, and that would help.  I could also turn to either side.  I was after birds that would be coming back to roost after feeding in the fields.
The fence post was on the left sticking out  where I sat down.  I was looking for birds to come from either side back into the woods to roost. 

This was my last day, and it was now or never.  I needed one more bird to add to the freezer.  Shooting time ends 30 min after sunset, so I was running out of time.  The sun dipped behind the hills, but it was still light enough to be legal.  Here they came.  They walked slowly down the fence line to my right.  There were five small birds.   I am right handed, so to get a shot, I would have to roll to my right, get the gun into my right shoulder, keep some sort of balance, and fire.  This was not easy.  The birds took care of the problem for me.  They walked off the levee and moved toward my front, going up the hill toward the woods.  This was perfect.  I very, very slowly started moving the gun to my shoulder, picked out the biggest of the group, and added meat to the table.  

By the time I got back to the truck it was dark.  A successful fall turkey hunt had been fulfilled.  Now I moved onto deer.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank

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