Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day Three, Where are the Turkeys

It was time for a meeting with an expert turkey hunter.  Two days worth of pounding the farm ground, timber and pastures had produced nothing.  In fact, my trigger finger had developed a horrible itch.  With two days of rain forecasted, the meeting was held at a rural diner over breakfast.  We are both up really early regardless of what we are doing. 

The first question asked was, "what has changed?"  Looking at the area it was exactly as it had been for ten years.  The second question was, "Are there any commercial hunting leases that have been set up?"  That required a call to the landowner. He told me a commercial hunting company had leased the timber to the east.  There were "NO TRESPASSING" signs posted along his lot line, but I never paid any attention to them as I never crossed the line.  Researching the company's name, we found they had built feeders in the timber to insure the hunters would have plenty of turkey and deer on the ground.  We also found it was really expensive to belong to the club.  Neither of us were interested in the baiting game, just the shooting game.   My friend told me this was a really tough deal to beat, as the feeders kept the birds on that property and foraging was not difficult for them.  Good grief, who would not go for a free meal!

My friend has experience in western Nebraska where a commercial hunting company had leased hundreds of acres from farmers in prime turkey country.  On his trip to western Nebraska, he had been skunked out while the leased area had shot a lot of birds.  This had been a yearly ritual for his friends and family.  Now it was over.

So, we plotted what I could do on the next available hunting day. 

As planned, I headed to my favorite spot on the Nebraska mountains.  (They are really just big hills).  I placed five decoys on a high spot where they could be seen below and from both sides.  They were really out in the open.  I placed my decoys closer to timber so there would be good spots for me to hide.   Also, my Double Bull Blind was placed about 20 yards back up the hill from the decoys.  It was right out in the open.  Again, my friend and advisor told me not to worry about it.  He was hunting in open fields with his blind right out in the open areas. He shoots a lot of birds.

Five decoys were set out:  three hens, a jake, and of course, Pretty Boy, the big Tom. 

All the above was done in the dark.  As the sky became lighter and well before daylight, the toms woke up.  They commenced to gobble, letting their locations be known.  There were a lot of toms.  Doing any gobbling or calling on my part was ruled out.  The plan was visual.  We wanted the toms to see the hen decoys, the jake, and of course the big tom, Pretty Boy.  This big decoy has sucked them in before.  When they came, they came to do battle.  It was a sight to see.  My trigger finger began to itch. 

I changed their position to make the big tom more visible.

Another friend had skinned a big Tom and built a decoy.  He stretched the skin over Styrofoam and added all the necessary appendages.  He told me that when the toms saw the decoy, they came in a pack to fight and do battle.  After he plunked one, he had to run the others off to save the decoy.  You can buy one like that from Bass Pro.
With the decoys.

Still, there were no hens coming off the roost. That really began to bother me.  Sitting in the Double Bull Blind allows a hunter a little movement. Plus, sitting on a folding chair is the better way to be comfortable.  In the past, having a good book along was a great way to relax, pass the time, and wait for some action.  Today was down to serious business.  Besides a big tom, it was the meat of wild turkey that was being hunted.  It is high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol.

With the blind above the decoys.
The dam is just below the weed line.  In the past ten years the turkey have poured out of these woods.  It is also a really great place for mosquitoes.

The day was repeated.  Should I try one more day here or move onto another farm? 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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