Saturday, February 18, 2012

Turkeys, Turkeys and More Turkeys

I had to re-think my original plans.  It was obvious what had been planned was not going to work this fall.  With the weather changes that had taken place, it was believed that new parameters would now apply.

Early the next morning, I headed to a spot by one of the dams where I generally hunt in the spring.  It was dark walking down hill, and tracks could not be seen.  Temps in the early morning hours were in the 40s and it was more like early spring than the middle of winter.  I used an old cottonwood tree to lean against.  The turkeys soon woke up and the hens set up a cacophony of yelping and calling.  As they came out of the trees to the ground the fly down cackle was evident.  There were a lot of birds coming down.

One of my hiding spots.  Turkey would come up out of the timber to my right and head to the water. 
There was no indication where birds might show.  I mounted the gun to my shoulder and set the barrel in some shooting sticks just to be prepared.  They could have come down the hill behind me, or under the fence to my left. Being prepared was the order of the moment.  To my left was posted ground.

The squawking went on for 45 minutes and never let up, but no birds came into sight.  They stayed in the timber.  Then to my left, I heard a lot of racket as the noisy birds moved closer to me.  I sat very still not wanting to move.  Then there was no movement at all.  They sounded like they had stopped coming down the hill to my left.  I waited, but my backside was getting sore and the need to move around was prevelant.

After another 15 minutes, it was time to take a look.  Standing up was the wrong thing to do.  They were about 10 yards to my left and somewhat behind me.  They were still on the no hunting ground, but were slowly pecking and scratching their way toward me.  The movement took care of it. Off they went running and flying into the timber.  There must have been 50 birds all flocked up.

The plan shifted and it was decided to come back to the terraces and pasture area around 3 PM. That is the time when they usually come back from the fields and flock up near the woods.

Back to the hills again in the late afternoon, I set up in an area where the birds had been seen in big flocks.  This would not be easy, as I would not be well hidden and must not move one inch.  It is so amazing how you can drive down the interstate and they can be seen scratching and pecking right along the shoulder.  In the wilds, they can spot you at a great distance and then will split.  It does not take much movement to make them go. 
My back was up against a fence post with some grass around it.  I expected they would come up from the corn fields to the west and come straight toward me.  I have seen them make this track before.

Nothing showed up and I waited till dark.  Next day the same process was repeated.  But now, I was running out of time.  Trying another terrace did not produce anything.

On the third day, I went in the afternoon, and there they were.  The hills were covered with turkeys all slowly moving back into the woods.  After parking the truck, I planned to sneak up on some of the stragglers, but it did not happen.  The picture above was covered with turkeys and another hill north of it had the same type of traffic.  There must have been 500+ in each flock. 
This hill had been covered with turkeys late in the day.  The cedars at the top of the picture are on posted ground.  You can sit in front of a fence post, but when they appear, you cannot move until you are ready to shoot.

Where I sat the first morning.  The timbered area is posted, but they came for a drink and to traverse the area toward the cornfields to the right of the picture.

My favorite spot on this farm, but it produced nothing.  It happens.
I ran out of time and the season ended on December 31st.  The ground in the picture above has no snow and temps are running in the 50s during the day.  This was the first fall season that I did not harvest any fall turkeys.  Now the wait is on till spring for turkey, but hunting is not over with two muzzle loader tags for Iowa antlerless deer.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank

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