Fall Turkey Hunting

As this article is being posted by my wife, I am on the way home from Idaho.  There could be a large set of elk antlers in the back of the truck.  Once home, I need to get after the ducks, deer, and turkey.  So much to do so little time.

I really like the way Nebraska sets up their season for turkey.  It starts September 15th and ends December 31st.  That is a lot of time, and I like to make use of it.  The hills, more like mountains, north of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska are just packed with turkeys.  The landowner where I hunt, hikes his property and last spring saw several nests with over 15 eggs and one had  25.  The hens split when he comes walking by, but go back and sit on the eggs once he is gone. 

Even though I have hunted this ground for several years, I always call first and ask permission.  It is just good etiquette even though his neighbor and I are the only ones that hunt the ground.  Limited hunting makes this farm into a top opportunity to harvest turkey and deer when in season.  I always urge people not to take their relationships for granted.  Keep lines of communication open, always ask permission, and never take the landowner for granted.  You will be hunting on their farm for a long time.

I called and asked about hunting fall turkey, and of course the answer is always yes.  He has rented out his pasture and there are cows on it, so it was recommended not to hunt near the cattle.  With this in mind, I felt my first trip was just to scout out the area and see where the birds are hanging out.  Fall turkey hunting is totally unlike spring.  In the spring the birds are not so flocked up.  Also in the spring you can call and entice a nice love-hungry tom to come to you.  In the fall they do not answer a call so well and also move in flocks hunting for food. I found in the past they are creatures of habit.  So much so that I found on ocassions they came through an area about the same time. 

My plan is then to slowly move around the woods.  I then sit in one location and study the area to see if turkeys are coming through.  I just want to find their general locations where they are moving.

I went to a couple of spots in the early morning and just sat still. Using field glasses, I studied the area looking for movement.  As quietly as possible, I moved slowly around in the woods and on the edge of the open fields.  Slow is the key, and study is the second key.  I just want to find the flocks and where they are hanging out.

It wasn’t long before I spotted a flock of twenty-five birds of all sizes.  Scratching and pecking the ground, they moved along quickly.  I am always amazed at how much ground they cover, and how sensitive they are to movement.  Calling this hunting is really not correct.  It is more like ambushing. However,  if you enjoy wild turkey, this is the way to get it done. I noted the time and where they came through, then slithered off to find another flock. Spotting two more flocks, I noted the area they were feeding and continued my search.

I kept this process going all day long, only breaking for lunch.  Toward evening, I back-tracked to the locations where I had seen the flocks pecking and scratching.  Close to where I had seen each flock, I set up brush and or timber that would break my outline and provide me a place to hide.  I also looked for a good spot to put my tent blind.  This takes a little extra work, but it provides the needed cover and hides any movements.  I do not use this enough. 

I am set to hunt turkeys when the landowner moves the cattle off his ground.

Good fishing, good hunting, good luck.  Hank

Text 10/18/2010

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