Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Time Has Come to Fold My Tent

Getting up at 4 AM and heading to the farm north of Fort Calhoun was like going to say goodbye to an old friend. Only I and one other person had the privilege of hunting this ground, the landowner's neighbor and myself.  I hunted it for over ten years every spring and fall for turkey.  Since the farm was overrun with deer, I helped with depradation whenever that was required.  Several positive things took place with that part of hunting on the farm.   First, I did not have to purchase a Nebraska Deer Permit because I was on the depradation permit.  Second, a locker plant in Omaha took the deer for no fee and it was donated to the shelters.  I will still have a good friend there.

What can a person say when the birds move to a free meal.  Wouldn't we all do the same? 

The intent was to hunt two spots only and be gone by noon as there were things to do at home.  The same thing happened this morning as before, but there was always a chance.  By 8 AM, it was time to move to a calf corral.  The landowner rents out his pasture.  Starting June 1st, the place is teeming with cattle and calves. This corral is for calves, and I have no idea why it is set aside, but there is a calf feeder in it.  I've seen a lot of turkey passing through the area between the wooded areas.  They stop, scratch around and peck the ground like they always do, and then leave.  It was worth a try, but nothing came through. 

Next, I headed down into my favorite valley on the farm and was almost heart broken.  Here turkey and deer had been harvested almost every season. It is here that is one of the most scenic spots in this area.

I set up near a game trail and just sat and listened to the sounds in the forest.  If a hen had yelped or a tom had gobbled, there would have been some encouragement.  It did not happen.

I moved up onto the ridge line where the area is blessed with some beautiful tall and mature oak trees.  Here acorns litter the ground, and the deer and turkey frequent this spot continually.  I flushed up a young deer and made a slow steady movement toward the oaks.  There were no tracks of any kind and no sounds of hens or toms.

Stopping to spend some time with the farmer is a must.  Over the years we have become good friends, and I  still will come up periodically just because I can.  He told me he had been hunting for mushrooms the last few days and only came upon two turkey nests.  This is highly unusual. 

We both decided that a section of ground just beyond the house should be hunted.  That was agreeable to me since it was a chunk of pasture and timber I had never hunted.  It might hold a surprise.

I am out of turkey hunting ground, and that is a big NO.  You always want to have a good supply of inventory. Thankfully, another farm in Nebraska is available and two in Iowa.  It's not over till it's over.

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank
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