Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nebraska Turkey Hunt

When the call came in, "The turkeys are walking up and down the driveway," I dropped what I was doing and headed to the hills.  The hills are the ones at the edge of the Missouri River bottoms north of Fort Calhoun. 

I had just scouted the area based on the landowners recommendations.  They are back.  This has been my favorite farm for several years.  However, the hunting was spoiled due to a commercial hunting area to the southeast corner of the farm.  I think they bait them, however I have no direct proof.  Still, when the landowner called, it was time to hit the bricks and get into the hills.

They will come in flocks up his gravel road from the west where corn fields lay and a creek separates the land.  Then past the house and over the hill they go.  Where they go, I have no idea as this is almost like a cliff and impossible to walk, especially carrying a gun. 
I changed positions up and down the road to the house.  I have seen many birds along the road as I drove up.  Right now, nothing appeared.

Starting early, I positioned myself along the road leading to the house and every 90 minutes changed location.  The road to the house S turns  through the hills, but it's general direction is west to east as you go up.  They could come from the southwest, west or northwest, and I wanted to be prepared.  A hill straight to the north of the house has a deer run that drops right behind the landowner's home.   I have seen turkey droppings along that path.  If I started too high up the road,  I could miss the stroll altogether.  Covering your bases is the right thing to do.  After all, it is hunting, not shooting. 
Pushed back in the brush, I waited for the birds to stroll up the road.

I changed locations several times, but saw and heard nothing.  The one thing I was accomplishing was catching up on my reading.  Carrying my Kindle with me, I read as I sat there.  One book I was reading was written by my good friend, Ron Ross in Colorado.  Ron is the publisher and owner of Tidbits, a popular paper distributed along the front range.  He is a prolific writer, has a radio program on AM 1310 KFKA and was responsible for helping me write the blogs and open up the website.

Excellent information and I highly recommend Ron's book. Click on the link "Buy from" or the link below.

By the time I got to where the road turns north to the bottom of the hill, discouragement was starting to set in.  Positioning my self near a fallen tree, I waited.  Then from the creek below, up came a couple of small birds.  I said to my self, "Be patient, the opportunity is coming."  They were late.  It was 3 PM and they should have been walking up the road between 11 AM and 1 PM.  The order of the day is not to make one, not one move.  The turkey has vision like no other, will pick up the slightest movement, and will be gone before I can get the shooting stick to my shoulder. 

I can lay the gun on the downed tree, but look how tight the shots will be.  There is no room to swing and to make the shot, I will have to hold in an opening and let the bird walk into the target area.  This will not be easy.

They moved up the hill to the road.  When there was a small break, I began the very slow and gradual movement of mounting the gun to my shoulder.  The tree would block some of the movements.  The fear now was that the flock would be spread and some of the birds would come up from the creek behind me.  Finally, with gun up and laying across the log that was in front of me, I waited.  Then there came some more.  Right at the back of the pack were several great big hens.  No toms or jakes were visible, but shooting hens in Nebraska in the fall is legal.  There are lots and lots of hens.  Moving slowly,  the barrel was swung into range of the biggest one and in an instant she became dinner. 
There is nothing better than fresh turkey.

Off went the flock scattering to the winds.  This was a really nice big bird and will make excellent dining fare.  Friends that help my wife and I devour the game and fish harvested, find turkey one of their favorite dishes.

Hammacher Schlemmer

Bass Pro Shops

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank


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