Sunday, May 22, 2011
Turkey on the Platter
Early in the morning the phone rang and it was the landowner north of Fort Calhoun. "I have found you a trophy to mount or hang on the wall." I do not do either, but he was so excited I played along. A group of hens had been hanging around a piece of pasture right next to a field he was planting. Right behind them had come a big tom and several smaller birds. He recommended that I get there at least by 8 AM to get set up as the birds came out of the woods around 9 AM.
Deciding not to make a mistake, I went that evening and set up a tent blind in front of a pile of timber. The forecast for the evening was no wind and no rain. All I had to do was show up, get in the blind and wait for the birds to show themselves. Turkeys are somewhat creatures of habit. I have found on the farms I hunt, they seem to run in about the same areas.
Next morning I was in the blind by 8 AM and started the waiting game. Just as predicted, out of the timber to the east the hens appeared and started their pecking and scratching. They stayed right along the edge of the timber and initially did not work my way. The tent blind was about 50 yards from the tree line. My concern was the direction they would go. If they came straight toward me, I was going to have a good shot when the big guy appeared. Moving either right or left would take me out of the picture as the distance would increase. Fifteen minutes went by and off to my right he appeared. It was 9:45 almost like it was predicted. He was outstanding, and showed himself off by strutting and puffing himself up for the hens. Of course they paid no attention to him and seemed more interested in eating. Strutting turkeys are really into themselves and fun to watch. This big boy was no exception.
Slowly, the hens worked their way toward the tent blind. The big boy stayed just off to their left, my right. A close friend who has shot a lot of turkeys told me when the toms are chasing hens, they have no sense at all. That sounded familiar. The blind faced straight east. It was overcast, but it was starting to break up. I did not want the sun to shine into the tent blind. If that happened, they could possibly see movement. I put on some ear protection because gunfire would be extra loud in the blind.
At about 25 yards and with a 30 degree angle to the blind, I eased the barrell to the open window. My tent blind is low, so I was down on one knee after moving off my folding chair at the back. When he was just in the right area, bang was all it took. Meat was on the table. The hens took off like a scalded dog, yelping, running and flying back to the safety of the timber. The landowner heard the shot and came down to take the picture.
This was the longest season I have ever had. I have never spent so much time in the field without results. It was worth every minute.
Now it is time to get serious about fishing.
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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank Great sales at each of these sporting goods stores. Shop online.
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