Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day Two of the Great Nebraska Turkey Shoot

Behold the mighty hunter.
He riseth early in the morning and disturbeth the whole household.
Mighty are his preparations
He goeth forth full of great hope,
and when the day is spent, he returneth
smelling of strong drink, and the
truth is not in him. 

I do not drink any alcohol while fishing or hunting, but I have been known to expand on the truth. 

Four in the morning came really early, but I wanted to move to a different spot on the hill overlooking the the dams at the bottom.  The plan was to set up along the tree line half way up the mountain and to the south. I would place the decoys about thirty yards from my hiding spot.  The movement of the turkeys had been toward that direction.  These were the plans in case there was bad news at this location. 
With the advent of dawn, the toms began to gobble.  They were really talkative and must have come down off the roost.  I counted at least eight different locations with two really close behind me.  Six were  announcing their location closer to the dams and hidden in the timber.  It was unusual that there were no hens yelping, clucking, and chattering like females do in the morning.

I hid back in the trees.  The decoys were to my right just on the top of the terrace.  There was a deep ditch behind me and fence line beyond that, marking the boundary line.  To the left of the picture and down about 300 yards is where the NO HUNTING area begins. 

As it became a little more light, my location was somewhat exposed.  I moved back into the timber behind some fallen trees which provided a better hiding place.  Easing my slate call into my hand,  I began to cluck and yelp to the toms.  They responded, but did not come out of the timber.  "Patience, patience, patience, and don't move, don.t move, don't move," kept crossing my mind.  My backside was getting very, very uncomfortable, almost to the point of pain.  Still they did not come out of the timber. By their sounds, they had not moved much. 

Still not one hen was heard.  Slowly they began moving to the east and deeper into the timber.  Now what?  This was my prize location and the sun was now fully up.  There were no sounds from anywhere.  It was time to re-locate. 

Across from my location and on top of a hill is a tall oak tree.  I had seen birds traverse this area many times. Therefore, I decided to move to this location.

I set up the Double Bull Blind under the oak tree.  With this added advantage, any detection of movement would be very limited.  However, with a leaf suit on, being detected has not been a problem.  One time, while taking a short nap, the noise of hens scratching and pecking woke me up.  There were five hens slowly walking by within five to six feet.  They never noticed me. 

Periodic calling did not produce anything.  There was no reason to stay after several hours in this location. 

I moved around the farm, visiting some of my old haunts with no results.  It was troubling to see that there were no droppings, scratching, or tracks.  The birds were just not here. 
In a valley where the birds traverse between wooded areas has alway had some action.  Notice how high the foilage is for the middle of April.  We should not have this type of cover until late May.
This road leads up to the farmers home.  Birds have come out of the woods and crossed over at this point to the next stand of woods behind me.
Birds will traverse this area stopping at the corral to peck and scratch.

This called for a visit to the landownder.  To my surprise, he had not seen any traffic like he had witnessed in the past.  The landowner has a big dog, and we both always gave the dog credit for keeping away the deer and turkey.  However, out in the timber or pasture, something should have been seen.

This called for a consultation with a turkey hunting expert.  His opinion has always been respected.  He should write for an outdoor magazine as he is great at this game. 

Good hunting good finshing and good luck.  Hank

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