Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hung Up Toms

Up north to another location was the plan.  After hunting just north of Fort Calhoun for ten years, the realization came that it was the spot not the hunter that had brought me so much success.  Just knowing the ground and where the birds hung out and their habits had brought a lot of success.  Nothing is static in the world and change is always taking place.  The ground to the east had been leased to a hunting company, and they were feeding the birds.  We all would go for a free meal if it were offered.

This is the spot where for ten years I had excellent success.  The birds came from the lower left of the picture and to the right or upon the dam and the upper right.  Note the young doe in the middle of the picture.  She is looking the wrong direction. I am on her left.

This is the spot where I sat and pushed myself up against the big tree.  For now, gone are the days.

The only reason this ground was not hunted more was the Fort Calhoun location was closer to home.  The farm north of Tekamah held more turkeys and deer.  Crop land surrounded the land, but it was exclusive for hunting by the owner and his select friends.  The land held an abundance of really big toms and the jakes were very very plentiful.

I set up right along a fence line that is not visible at the bottom of the picture.  You can see the type of terrain with woods on each side of a narrow valley.  The birds traversed this area from one side to the other. 
I got to the farm just before daylight and set up the decoys in a valley that opened up to a pasture.  Timber was on each side and the valley opened up wider to the east.  It ran east and west.  The activity was brisk and hens were clucking and the toms were starting to gobble as it slowly became light. 

The Double Bull Blind was pushed tightly back into the timber.  As the dawn began to peek into the valley, the noise became louder.  There must have been eight to ten toms gobbling away.  Grabbing my slate call, I gave some yelps and then a constant flow of cluck and purrs.  Straight across from me came a tom.  Off to my right a jake appeared, looked at the decoys, then decided to move on.  He was right in range and would have been a 15 yard shot.  The name of the game on that day was Big Tom.

By 8 AM it grew quiet.  Then it started up again around 9:30.  The toms were everywhere in the timber.  It was just impossible to count the number of locations that were heard.  The yelps from my slate call would help identify my location.  More jakes came by, but they were given the opportunity to live another day.  I guessed that the toms would come within about 15 yards from me, judging by the noise.  Hwever, they did not finish.  Something was wrong.

When it got quiet, the decoys were re-positioned and the same thing happened again.  Close, but they did not finish.  Around noon I took a break and decided to come back late in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day for a nap in the woods after lunch.  It couldn't get any better than that.

Around 3 PM  everything was re-located and the waiting started.  It did not take long before more toms were heard gobbling behind and in front of me.  More jakes came by and they, like the first groups, were given a pass. How much generosity can a man have?  The toms would just not come out of the timber and stopped just short of my location.  I never saw one.  It was only by sound that their location was identified.
The tent is to the left and the decoys are spread out in front.  This is looking west.  As the sun moved lower it put the tent in the shadows and also made the decoys stand out.  Right at that time, I was ready to tell Pretty Boy he was fired.

By 6 PM my tent was folded, the decoys picked up, and I headed for home.

The landowner believed the toms were still on hens.  Later in the season hunting would improve after the majority of the hens were bred out.  My friend in Mo Valley felt I should use a crow call to identify roosting positions and then be there the next morning.  My good friend John in Omaha also wanted to add extra decoys, plus a tom that was mounted on a hen.  He had always had outstanding success with this combination.  It made the toms really angry.  It sounded like a great idea.  

Just a side note, it appears the mosquitoes are starting to appear, and I recommend the following product.  I own the ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent from Bass Pro purchased last year,  it is very effective.  When we have friends over and sit out on the deck, it is placed close to the group.  The comments have been very positive. Click on the link or the picture to price and order.
ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent - Olive Green - General Camping

Great sales going on at each of these outdoor retailers.  Free shipping available at select advertisers

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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