Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Does are Thick Along the Missouri River Bottoms


The farm ground to the west of me along the Missouri River had seep water on most of the crop ground.  Not knowing what the condition of the timbered pasture was, the decision was made to call the landowner. 

His comment was, "Where have you been?  We have a lot of does that have moved back into the formerly flooded ground on the west side of the levee, and no one is hunting the ground."  With that in mind, I inquired about the best location.  It was where I had hunted turkeys and deer in the past.

As I entered from the north end of the farm, I discovered that the seep water from the flood had not reached the pasture.  The timber to the north of my intended location did not get any water either.   The evidence showed a lot of deer had moved in when the water pushed them out of the river bottom on the west side of the levee. Deer tracks were everywhere.  Trying to pick a spot would be a chore.  There were runs coming out of the timber all along the edge of the timber.  The evidence showed the deer would come to the timber's edge, then turn southeast into a state reserve.  The majority of the reserve had been dry during the flood. 

There had been no rain for some time and the ground was really dry.  My plan was to set up midway between the timber line.  In that way a shot could be taken from either side of where my position was.  My back would be up against a large tree so I would be able to shoot to either side.

A full moon helped me find my way to the spot the next morning.  The first thing that happened was the woods behind me became very excited.  The turkeys were there by the hundreds and the hens were really vocal as they came off the roost to the ground.  The moonlight helped with the lighting as they flew right out in front of me about 50 yards from the timber line.  Hundreds upon hundreds of turkeys kept coming. 
That is the tree line where I will be hunting.  You can see some deer in the field I spooked when I was scouting out the position on a turkey hunt last spring.
Small flock of turkeys that came out of the standing timber to my right.

These birds must have been living on the west side of the levees in the timber along the Missouri River and were pushed into this area by the flood.  This location is a venerable meat market.  I know where I will be when Iowa turkey season opens, but it is a young tasty doe that will be harvested today. 

Right out in front of me the turkeys kept flying to the ground.
Slowly it got lighter.  To my left out of the timber stepped a nice small doe.  She was at least 150 yards out, so I decided to wait for a bigger animal.  With all the tracks, a hunter could afford to be picky.  She slowly moved southeasterly toward the reserve.  Soon additional animals slowly stepped out of the security  of the standing timber.  They were further out than the first one.  I waited.

By now it was fully light, but the sun was not up.  In excess of 25 deer had been spotted with the majority being does.  The feeling was that this might not be a good plan.  There had been plenty of traffic but nothing came out of the timber within a good shooting range for a muzzle loader. The expectation was that the majority of the deer would come out on my right and then move across my front to the reserve.  This plan was not working.

Finally the sun was fully up and moved above the trees.  The sky was perfectly clear and I was looking into the sun.  Time to go and adjust the plan for the next day.  I needed a cup of coffee anyway so headed for home.

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank 

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