Friday, May 31, 2013

Close, But He Got Away

To me the wild turkey is one of the most fascinating game bird ever hunted.  Their eyesight is phenominal, and you find them in flocks or hunting and pecking all by themselves.  I am always amazed when you see them on the interstate right next to the traffic scratching and pecking away digging up seeds.  Watching them scratch and peck through the same field they were in two days ago always amazes me.  They are constantly moving and scratching up seeds and other morsels to eat.  If you stop your vehicle, the parameters change immediately and off they go running or flying to the timber. 

Eleven year old Chloe with her 32 pound beauty.  Shot with a 20 guage, and look at her smile.
Harvesting a big tom in a group of several smaller ones is always interesting.  Sometimes they hang around, but not too close.  I have seen this several times.  After I  shot a big boy, the smaller ones got confused and didn't seem to know which way to run.  Also, when I stepped out of a blind, they stopped and looked back, then acted very confused about which way to go.  It was as if they just lost their leader, and leaderless there was no one to make a decision. 

Ten year old Taylor with a 25 pounder and a 10.5 inch beard.  She also plunked this dandy with a 20 guage.  The smile tells it all.
The fields in Iowa where I hunt are usually a challenge, but not much of one.  That is because the birds are very plentiful, and if I am not having luck in Nebraska, I can always hunt Iowa.  This year has not been a good season for me, but it is called hunting, not shooting.  I am not investing a lot of time going to different spots on the farm, but I cut my time short and only spend a few hours on the days I hunt.  The first problem with my Iowa hunting, is the hunter.  The problem with my hunting in Nebraska is that I like to socialize with the landowners.  The older you get, the more quality time you like to spend with people you have known over the years.  If I don't get a shot, so what.  Enjoyment of family, the outdoors and good company is what life is all about.

There are only two more days left in the Iowa season.   Therefore I was up early to head to a field bordered by timber on three sides.  During the walk, the toms were gobbling and the hens were yelping as they came off the roost.  It was dark and finding a place to hide was not easy as the scrub and fallen timber along the edge of the field blocked good spots. 

After I set the decoys up and pushed back into the scrub, I was not happy with my position.  I was just too exposed to the front.  Hind sight is always better than foresight. After looking back, I would do things differently on the next trip.

I began to call and the answer came back really strong.  Waiting about fifteen minutes, I called again.  Hopefully this was the "come up and see me sometime" call they were hearing.  Then they gobbled loudly.  There was not one, but two big boys. 

Out of the woods they came.  The call was dropped to the ground, and the boys were running toward the decoys.  It appeared that "Pretty Boy" was about to have a fight on his hands.  I liked that and have seen a decoy being attacked several times.  My hands were placed on the gun lying across my lap.  It is this kind of  shot I hate to make.  I needed to swing the barrell from left to right and at the same time pull the stock into my shoulder.  It was either move very quickly or start slowly moving right away. 

Carry-Lite Pretty Boy Turkey Decoy Set
Click on the link above or the picture.  I use this set, and on this outing the toms came running to do battle.

The two boys pulled up about 40 yards short of the decoys and one began to fan himself out and strut.  With three and one half inch shells, a touch is really possible. However, as I started to move the gun up to my shoulder, down went their fans and off they ran like two scalded dogs.  Something was not right, and I blame myself for possibly being too exposed.  Second, the gun should have been in my shoulder by the time they started to strut.  That was another mistake.  Third, my position should have been back farther in the woods and more upstream from the decoys.  That would have shortened the distance.  After all these years it is never quite right every the time.
Behind me is dense timber. Looking to the north is the tree line where the toms came storming out looking for a fight.  If they would have come a little closer, I would have gotten one.

The temperature was going to be in the upper 90s for mid May.  Another location was checked out, but no action took place.  So far for this turkey season in two states, not one shot has been fired.  I need to consult with friends about their experiences.
I should probably consult with Chloe or Taylor as they have had the best luck of anyone I have talked to this year. 

My wife and I really have enjoyed the pictures of the two girls.

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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