Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Fort Calhoun Turkey Shoot or (I finally got one)

This has turned into nothing but work.  Hunting hard for two days and only getting one shot, and a poor one at that, has left me a little discouraged.  It all had to do with the preparation.  I was convinced I would harvest a nice Tom early on the first day.  It was not to be.

Heading back to Fort Calhoun, the plan was to skip the erosion dams completely and go to the ridges that ran east and west in the timber.  The landowner's neighbor had been hunting close to the stream on the west side of the ground.  Hunting with friends and family, he had only gotten one tom. This is the area he likes best and spends most of his time.

Gander Logo Orvis Logo
Outdoor Adventure Sale at

Late one evening, I hunted the area near the stream.  I saw no tracks or droppings, and decided this was not the place to invest a lot of time. 

Rather than drive to the edge of the woods on the farm, I parked at the landowner's home.  This would make a longer walk into the area I wanted to hunt.  No mistakes was the watchword.  Keep the vehicle away from the woods.  Walk quietly. A friend told me, the deer tell the turkey when we are in the woods.  I don't believe that.  I do believe if you spook a group of deer and they take off running through the woods, it alerts the other game.  For this reason, I focused on walking quietly and slowly.  Deeper into the woods I went.  Deeper than I normally go.

It was still dark, but making out spots to hide was fairly easy and I wanted to be as stealthy as possible.  The decoy combination was in place.  (Click on this link for information about the decoy set I used.
Carry-Lite Pretty Boy Turkey Decoy Set

The morning started to show a little light.  I could see that I was hiding in a good spot with good visibility, but a narrow range to shoot. The woods began to come alive.  The hens began to yelp and the toms began to gobble.  I could visualize the toms all puffed up and strutting around.  Showing off is what they do best.  Don't we all.

As soon as they came off the roost, I could hear their wings.  The toms began to gobble more and the hens began to yelp and perform more.  My confidence was high.  I gripped the gun and parked it at my shoulder.  Using a shooting stick, I parked the barrel on it and kept the gun shouldered.  I used the friction call and got some response.  It was still dark enough and I shook the gobbler call.  This produced some results, and here they came.  There were more than one tom and several jakes.  They did not like the pretty boy decoy, and strutted around and generally acted up. 

I was ready.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest.  I sat on the edge of the folding chair which I lugged down into the woods.  With my back against a large oak tree, and dressed in a leaf suit, I was ready.  This was it.  I did not focus on the biggest tom.  He was marching around acting like a fool and was not really close. The daylight was upon the woods.  Unfortunately, a good size jake was the closest.  Meat is meat.  Kaboom!  It was over in one shot.  I gathered up the gear and the bird.  Dinner was served. This was quite a morning.

One tag down, and two more to go.  I want to hunt Iowa, and come back after giving this ground a rest and hit it again.

If you have a great story and pictures of a hunt, send it to me and if we publish it we will send you at $25.00 gift card from Bass Pro

Good hunting good fishing, and good luck



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