Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scout the Ground to Find Them (Turkeys)

They move around a lot.  You might have great shooting and multiple opportunities in one area and next year it totally changes.  It is time to scout out the three farms that can be hunted.  This means getting up really early on three different days and planting yourself in the woods in a good hiding place.  This also provides the opportunity to locate the place in which you want to hide. 

Sitting and listening.  This is what I do till daybreak.  When I can hear the hens and or the toms, a good spot may have been located.  When the toms begin to gobble, I use a friction call with a few clucks and purrs which gives me a good idea if they are going to be coming my way.  Primos has a new call you can strap to your leg.  I am going to buy one.  When the hunting starts, I want to be able to keep my gun up and still make some calls with the striker. Go to the website  under Turkey Hunting Gear. You will find one on page 3.  Click on the picture and you can go directly to Cabela's to purchase.  This looks like a great way to keep calling and  be ready to shoot when he steps into range.

                  Fishing Gear at Gander Logo Orvis Logo

The first farm down by the river showed a lot of promise.  Next to the Missouri River levee, there were turkey signs every where.  Moving east back into the woods, the noise became louder.  Hunkering down and mixing myself in the tops of some fallen timber, I made a few short clucks.  Immediately he answered.  Waiting and waiting, he finally appeared.  Not big, but his time will come at the opening.  Several more young birds appeared.  Opportunity abounded in this location.  Talking with the landowner, he had some business associates coming to hunt, so I ruled out those days.  This spot is still number 2.

Next morning a trip to Oakland, Iowa was made.  Talking with the landowner the night before, he had seen some birds, mostly hens, when he was feeding cattle.  Moving onto the river bottom a hiding place was found and the waiting started.  As light started to break, a few hens came off the roost and could be heard.  I did not hear one tom.  Wherever there are hens, there should be toms.  Making a few clucks and purrs produced no response.  Trying some additional sounds with the call did not produce anything either.  By daylight, it was time to leave. 

Talking with the landowner, he had not seen a lot of birds, but other farmers along the river bottom had.  What are a lot of birds?  It depends on who is looking, but it was believed that they roam up the narrow strip of trees that run along the river bottom.  This spot will be in reserve.

A third trip to Fort Calhoun was made.  Visiting with the landowner the night before gave me some fresh information.  The birds that had hung around his house were not coming back.  Also, coyotes were now common in the area.  Last winter during the fall season, one was spotted.  This farm had always been my favorite for deer and turkey, so it would be hard to give up.  He suggested I head south to the pasture that bordered the private ground.  A non profit owns all this timber and I would hunt the edge next to a erosion dam. 

Hiking down to my usual spot and hunkering down, I waited.  It did not take long.  Hens calling, toms gobbling, wings flapping, they came off the roost in hundreds.  As it got light, I saw a spectacle of hens and toms emerging from the woods heading up to the erosion dam.  There was a lot of discourse among the toms and they put on a show for me with all their strutting. 

This is the perfect spot for opening day. 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.   Hank

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