The morning was cold after three days of rain, and getting up at 4 AM was a bit of a chore. You have to be on site when they (the turkeys) come alive. I headed north to Fort Calhoun, Nebraska with great hope and optimism. My home work had been done.
It was one of those really black nights when I arrived at the landowner’s home. The road was dry as I weaved up his lane to the top of the hill. Checking the road south to the area I wanted to hunt, it appeared dry as last night was very windy. This saved time, and I didn’t have to walk to the south end of the farm. Loading up my gear, I headed to the valley where the erosion dams were. As I crested the hill leading to the dams, I could hardly believe the noise. Hens were yelping. Toms were gobbling. Getting closer to my hiding place, the woods were very noisy. If someone would have been with me, we would have had to raise our voices to hear each other speak. I said to myself, “This will all be over in about 30 minutes after shooting time begins”.
It was not to be. As light came, the birds came off the roost. They did not come to the dams where I was hiding. This was contrary to last week. The majority flew off over the top of the hill. The others headed east of my location deeper into the timber. The sound of the gobbling and yelping slowly became faint. I sat there alone wondering what had happened. By 10 AM, it was time to move and I headed to a spot along a ridge deep in the timber. There were lots of signs, but no birds, and I called it a day at noon.
Next morning, I was up and at it, heading for the erosion dam. Yesterday was just a fluke. You have to recognize an important fact. They do move around a lot. I would try my luck where I have had a history of harvesting a lot of birds. Again I arrived in the dark and settled down to my usual spot. There was not one sound. So I made some. With my shaker I gobbled. With my mouth call I gave the fly down cackel call. With my friction call I sent out a lot of calls, clucks, and purrrs. I was talking to myself. Nothing appeared. By light it was obvious that I was skunked here.
By 9 AM, I pulled out and headed for the ridge. Here I hunkered down in a pile of fallen timber, put out the Pretty Boy and Girl Decoy combination. (Click on the link for more information. Carry-Lite Pretty Boy Turkey Decoy Set) Then I waited for about 30 minutes to let the woods settle down. After a few calls, here came three love- sick jakes. Meat is meat. I straightened up and quickly shouldered the gun. Waiting for another 30 seconds would have been better. The three of them immediately headed deeper into the timber. I was bobbing the gun up and down, trying to get a fix on one of them to make a shot. They moved from me left to right among the standing timber. Sitting on the ground and twisiting my body was not a good way to shoot. Just as one appeared to move from behind a tree, I blasted away. Two of them flew. I might have hit the one jake. He kept on moving through the timber, but not as fast. I jumped up and started after the jake, but he took off and flew. I believe all I did was sting his rear end a little. I stepped off where the shot was made. It was almost 40 yards. Adding all the standing timber into the picture reduced an effective shot many times.
By noon, I was done and headed for home. This is why it is called hunting and not shooting.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank
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