Thursday, May 14, 2015

Back to Fort Calhoun

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Turkey season opened in Iowa and Nebraska.  While I hunt both states, Iowa has the season divided into four seasons and you have to buy a tag for the season you want to hunt.  I like the last one because the hens are usually bred out by then and the toms become a bit more receptive.  Nebraska has one really long season, but I have to buy an out of state permit.

Calling my friend north of Fort Calhoun to see what he had seen on his farm was a welcome surprise.  The birds were back.  Not in great numbers, but he was seeing a lot of hens and a tom now and then.  Wherever there are hens, there are toms and he recommended I come up and give it a try.  In the past this farm was almost depleted due to the the private hunting preserve to the southeast of his place, but now the birds were coming back.  Plus, he has a neighbor who hunts regularly on his own place and was having some excellent luck.

RedHead Reality Series Remote Crazy Jake and Mating Hen Turkey Decoy Combo

RedHead Reality Series Remote Crazy Jake and Mating Hen Turkey Decoy Combo
Click on the link or the picture to buy from Bass Pro.
Arriving the next morning, I drove down to the south end of the farm and hunted a low spot next to the hunting preserve.  It was here that the landowner had seen a lot of birds hanging around and I wanted to try it out for a short period of time.  I sat down against a fence post that had some small cedar trees nearby.  I hunkered down there for 20 minutes just listening to the woods to the east.  Sitting still and taking a small nap would allow nature to settle down around me and the local critters would become more active.  

I gave a "come up and see me sometime big boy call," and then waited for about ten minutes.  I heard nothing in return.  Then I gave another.  An answer came back and I am sure he said, "I am coming my darling, be patient and wait."  So, I waited.  He called again, but this time no answer was given.  Then some light clucks were made, and this was slowly kept up for about 10 minutes.  I waited but there was not another answer, so I gave a little call and he promptly answered.

RedHead Reality Series Special Edition NWTF Box Call

RedHead Reality Series Special Edition NWTF Box Call
Click on the link or the picture to buy from Bass Pro.

Not wanting to make much movement, I  brought the gun up slowly to my shoulder with the barrel between my knees which were propped up.  After waiting again, the sound of his gobble was right straight at my 12 o'clock, but I still could not see him.  He would have to cross approximately 30 yards of pasture grass to get to my position.  When they get close and they gobble, they are really loud.  I waited.  After I gave some clucks and purrs with the slate call, it looked like he would step out of the woods and the hunting preserve at any minute.  

He gave another gobble and slowly I laid the call in the grass. My left hand took hold of the barrel and my right hand gripped the gun with my finger next to the trigger.  I still could not see him, but all he needed to do was to cross one flimsy fence line and he was mine.

Primos The Club XL Ground Blind

Primos The Club XL Ground Blind
Click on the link or the picture to buy from Bass Pro.
Now my arms were getting tired and my backside was getting really uncomfortable.   I could not hold the gun any longer in this position.  Slowly I lowered it, and the wait continued.  Not one sound came from the woods.  He did not like what he saw.  Maybe it was me up against the fence post that did not look right to him.  I wear a leaf suit, my face is totally covered, and have had birds walk right by me before.  Toms are a little more wary and this one would have no part of leaving the protection of the timber.  It was time to move to spot number two. 

Location number two was on a ridge that was lined with oak trees.  Both deer and turkey have hung out in this location.  An old turkey hunter once told me the deer tell the turkey where we are at.  In the fall the deer hunters say that about the turkey telling the deer. The landowner had cut a road down to the bottom of the ridge and a farm wagon was positioned there for the deer hunters in the fall.  I crept along a deer run on top of the ridge moving very slowly and studying the ground on either side of the ridge.  I saw nothing, not even a deer.  Creeping straight down the ridge, I stopped and set up behind a small oak tree with a bigger one against my back.  Now it was time to wait and let the woods settle down.  Soon the squirrels began to bark and the birds began to sing.  The woods came alive and all was well for the creatures and critters of this magnificent forest. 

RedHead 3D Evolution Hunting Jackets for Men
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Letting out the "come up and see me big boy" call an answer came back full and firm.  It was off to my left shoulder down in the valley.  Another call was made and he liked what he heard because he started coming closer.  Still there was a long way to go before a shot could be made. 

As the waiting game continued with clucks and purrs, and a call now and then, he returned and moved closer.  Later he moved down the valley going from my left to my right as I turned to face the valley.  Finally he made a turn and started coming toward me.  I leaned against a tree with a smaller one right in my face.  Twenty feet away was a really nice big oak.  That was where the shot should be made I concluded.  Very slowly the move was made to position myself down behind the tree.  

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That was a mistake, not a little mistake but an enormous one.   Oh forsooth!  Then I saw him and he saw me and split before I could even shoulder the gun.  Big mistake, and he was a nice looking bird.  

Later when I stopped at the landowners house to tell him what had happened, he said he thought he heard someone crying down in the woods.  That would have been me.  What a day and what a great experience.  There is another day to hunt, and luck will be on my side if I am much more patient.

Good hunting good fishing and good luck.  Hank


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