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Posts Tagged ‘turkey hunting’

 For the first time ever I was able to talk my wife into purchasing a tag the spring. We have gone out several times using a blind a friend loaned me. On this day we took the blind, two chairs, two guns, my vest, and snack food.  I feel more like a pack mule that turkey hunter.

Upon arriving at one of my favorite spots we can see the turkeys down in the corner of the field about a half of a mile away. The only way to get there without them seeing us is to walk up around through the north pasture. Additional walking for the pack mule is worth it for the chance.

As we walk over the ridge to the extreme north through the binoculars we can see three Tom’s fighting. Finally after a nice 30 minute hike, we are within 150 yards of where we saw them earlier. Putting up the blind is out of the question because of noise but there is plenty of coverage with weeds and overhanging lambs. I crawled through the grass to the edge of the field and put out the full strut Tom decoy. 

Crawling back through the grass to where Charlene is I give her gloves and a mask. She looks pretty cute. Just before I put on my gloves and say to Charlene, “Let’s pray.”

“Dear God bring us a turkey, amen.”

I just about have my gloves and mask on when she mentions something about the decoy moving. Somehow a Tom has snuck in and I tell her it would be best to shoot him since he’s only 10 feet away. Her gun is on safety and in the confusion the Tom sees us. Fortunately we’re the only ones with guns and I drop him with Winchester 6 shot.

Immediately a series of gobbles ring out from down the hill. They gobble again and again and again. Here they come. Five tom’s through the bushes gobbling their heads off. We can’t shoot but enjoy the show. After about 10 minutes they move off.

 A thunderstorm is bring to the west and so I load up the pack mule and carry everything out. Charlene has her cap on and I think she’s carrying the snacks, but she sure looks cute (I did say she looks cute didn’t I).

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This Tom's Not TalkingIs a Tom by Any Other Name Still as Sweet? That is not a question I have ever considered until this spring. Brad and I have been chasing them together without a lot of success. In desperation we have changed location a couple of times now. On this day, we headed out to Shirlene’s property. In a wonderful dawn morning gobbles sounded in trees we had walked by in the darkness. So moving back toward the truck we sat up and put out the trustworthy Toby!

The tom hits the ground and gobble again and again. Hens sounded to our north, but he would have to come by us to get to them. A close gobble sounded like the hunt would be over soon, but for all our looking we didn’t see him. Then now a gobble with the girls behind us confirmed what we dreaded. Somehow he had slipped passed us to the ladies. Toby had scared him off from out sweet calls of seduction.

We moved over to the north ravine, and saw a hen, but the big boy was gone for the day. The walk to the truck and the debriefing began. Would not change a thing just some days they go the other way. In the office later as I continued to think about the slip this Tom had pulled on us I came up with a plan.

Four o’clock that afternoon I headed back to see if the big guy would be as cautious going back to bed as he was waking up that morning. A quick glance down the lane as I drove by in the truck showed a couple of birds near where he had eluded us that morning. I would park to the south and move through the timber back up to the tree near where he was roosted. We had noticed a deer stand still there from the fall. It would give me something I could spot from the bottom of the timber while moving up the hill.

I eased through the woods and just as I spotted the tree stand I saw the head of a hen moving off to the west along the top of the ridge. She either had spotted or heard me, but she didn’t fly or putt too wildly. The first big tree east of the deer stand I set Toby out again and hid next to a cedar tree with some buck brush in front. Great cover, but a good view as well. Just to mix it up I pulled out the gobble call and gave it one good shake and settled in for the evening. It was 5:30.

A cluck, a purr or a yelp about every 15 minutes was it. Don’t want to draw to much attention. It’s now about 7:15 and time to be on high alert. There across the meadow movement. It’s a hen. She is looking at Toby she passes through at gun range. The sun is going to be a problem. I can barely make out that she doesn’t have a beard. Now another hen follows and I never do get a clear look. If he’s not strutting I am not sure if I will be able to identify him in the light.

“GOBBLE,GOBBL, Gobbl” rattles through the timber. I guess he saw Toby, but I can’t see him. West not more than 40 yards I would speculate. The seconds tick by, and now there it is movement at not more than 15 yards through the cedar tree. . . but what? A Tom cat! He walks through the decoy and moves on to the east. In the sunlight I nearly took off his tail with a load of six’s. I am sure the desired tom saw him, and the night is over, but I hold still in hope.

“Tists fuuuuuu” the magic sound that a veteran turkey hunter dreams of in his sleep. There it is the top of his fan right where I first saw the tom cat. He is coming right to Toby for a stand off. I can barely see the sites on my shotgun in the sun’s glare through the feathers of the big boy. Not more than 10 yards separate us and the guns roars just as he clucks in disbelief at Toby.

I jump up to retrieve him and see a hen flying west. He doesn’t move as I was on him. The tom cat is nowhere to be seen.

Vital Statistics: Kansas, April 28, 25 lbs, 11 ½ beard, 1 1/8 spur and 7/8 spur; total score 68

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Amanda's Turkeys

Amanda with her two favorite turkeys

With one tag filled and only one left it is time to take along a few freinds with me to the field. Ryan and Amanda have both been pretty good partners this years. As of yet haven’t had a day skunked without legal birds near to the gun.

Amanda was able to rise early on Monday morning and with a great deal of success was able to take a nice 20 1/2 lbs tom. She dropped him at just over 30 yards with a 20 gauge Mossberg. Yahoo! first birde in about 5 years for her. Best of all mine was bigger so I don’t have to listen to her brag too much.

Ryan went along with me last night. Had a hen in the decoys for over a hour. Finally a group of toms came into the decoys. Shot a bit early and missed. Bummer, but we still have well over a month. Maybe next time. Took some footage of the toms, but messed up the editing so I have nothing to show apart from the hen.

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“Squeeze the trigger slowly,” I whispered under my breath. The two birds moved closer and closer until finally the gun sounded, and both of the birds stayed put.

She is only 11, but I think I have won her over to turkey hunting. She is the daughter of a very good friend. This was the third straight morning I had spent with her, and we are now becoming great friends.

The first morning there were two turkeys as well, but we never quite were able to put everything together. The second morning was the best of the three. We were not in the woods at all, but instead we were in a baptismal pool. She was the first of over a dozen candidates to be baptized on Easter Sunday Morning.

What made it the best of the three days was that she gave clear witness to understanding Christ had died for her sins, and that she had trusted in Him as her Savior. Turkey hunting is a great thing to do, but I live to hear that people have found a relationship with Jesus. She told how her mother had explained it all to her at home some time before, and how she had prayed and told Jesus that she trusted Him. I was thrilled to know my friend was just as much my sister in the Lord.

So now in the woods I took a picture of her beside the two turkeys to help us remember it. Her baptism from Sunday stands as a picture as well of how she is identified with Jesus as her Savior. A lot of really great things have happened at Sunrise.

A happy new friend in the field

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Taylor is turkey hunting for the first time this year. I have enjoyed being out in the woods with him, but so far no tags filled. The gun did go off one time, but with nothing in the way dropped. The birds flew off into the timber. Yesterday was our second together and a great day not for the prey we were seeking but for the joy of what God delivered. IMAGE_01345

A bird had clucked to our north shortly after we scared up a couple of deer below us in a deep draw. We sat up on a tree and within a few minutes Taylor whispered, “Look at this deer to my right.”

There stood a nice buck right in the fence row. “He will never come through the fence.” I predicted. Wrongly, I might add as the buck moved right to our north within 15 yards.

Later, Taylor agreed with me: highlight of the day!

IMAGE_01348

Buck at 15 Yards (cellphones take terrible pictures)

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Some things don’t taste as good as they look. We had a feast on Easter, and everything looked beautiful. We sat down as a family and enjoyed the meal, and all was delicious. Unlike this morning when a coyote came to where I was waiting for a turkey. He circled my decoys and then with lightening quickness grabbed the hen for breakfast. He didn’t eat much (It didn’t taste like chicken or turkey for that matter!). I would love to have heard what he told his friends about the encounter. I was able to capture it on my cell phone video camera. It’s hilarious. 

Looks can be deceiving and the predator can easily be the prey. Things that look attractive can really be dangerous. I have talked with many people through the years that told me, “I didn’t see it coming.” The reality is many of them did see it coming, and they thought it would be better than it was. They saw it and wanted it, but their selfish choice was not what God wanted for them. Now they have it and it hurts deeply. They wished the pain would go away. The whole thing has left a bad taste in their mouth. In the grand scheme of things God knows what is best. We are always better served in the long term living life by His plan.

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turkeys nearbyThe kid had been bugging me for days about going into the woods. So when a free evening came along I thought, why not. I had set up a blind in the woods and earlier in the day I had successfully helped my father-in-law shoot what would be his last turkey. Was able to capture the event on video as well. I really didn’t need to change the day in any way to improve upon it.

Out of habit I loaded my Benelli and headed to the blind giving instruction all along the way to Adam. He is the son of a good friend and has potential as a future hunter. The blind would hopefully hide some of his moment as he was only nine years old and active to say the least. A good thing for boys to be, but a challenge when it comes to the super sensitive eyes of turkeys!

Earlier in the spring I had built this blind and even put some feed out on a open area nearby (completely legal in Kansas). Not something I normally would do, but with my father-in-law’s Alzheimer and short attention span it was necessary. It had all worked out great, and now I was hoping maybe one or two birds would drift by just for us to watch. We settled into the blind that was built under a rather haggard cedar tree.

At first I called a couple of times but nothing answered so things really didn’t seem promising, especially with Adam digging in the dirt. I had to reminded him more than once not to throw things outside the blind. A hen yelped nearby and I came to attention. Adam did as well and she drifted into view to our north and west. Wandering aimlessly she pecked and clucked lightly. My young friend was impressed, but soon she moved on leaving us again alone and bored.

I leaned over to correct Adam as he was making a bit more noise than “necessary.” Adam thought hunting is boring and he told me so. “It can get exciting in a hurry,” I counseled him. “Are they ever coming?” he questioned me. Before I could answer there was a cluck within a few yards and five jakes walked right beside us toward where the hen had been. So close Adam could have smelled them. Now a second hen moved into view, and the group began to chase each other in a friendly competition.

“Are you going to shoot one?” Adam asked almost a bit louder than necessary.

I shook my head, no. Adam gave me a disappointed look.

Suddenly a cluck that almost sounded like a call to attention came from just to our west and a long spurred heavy, bearded tom moved in to settle the score. My gun was lying by my side completely out of position. With this bird before us there was no reason to disappoint the lad!

I slowly took hold and moved the gun. The farthest bird out was not more than 20 yards. One “putt” and they would scatter into the cedars and I wouldn’t have a chance. I whispered to Adam, “Be still, be still don’t move.”

What seemed like hours was only a few moments and I had my gun in position. “I think that one better go home with us,” I whisper to Adam. I clucked hard on my mouth diaphragm. The bird turned to look and the gun answered. The whole flock minus the king took to the air. I retrieved the joyous prize to show Adam. “You sure get excited, Pastor Hardee,” Adam gushed.

Maybe now I better take his sister.

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