Getting back home from a three plus week in India and Nepal took it’s toll on me and my wife. We were physically exhausted and I needed to get up to Fort Calhoun and harvest some turkeys.
Before we left on the trip I had walked and stalked the farm for turkeys and had their haunts well spotted. The weather at that time was still a little warm by mid afternoon, but the mornings and evennings were cool. They were starting to flock up. My experience over the years generally showed that they would move in flocks through the same areas on a regualar basis and usually about the same time. This is typical fall hunting in our area for them. They seemed to roost in about the same general area. With all this background information, the farm was scouted.
My usual places were noted, and upon visiting with the landowner he confirmed my plan, as he had been hiking through his farm ground in the hills and timber. There had been a report of a Mountain Lion, and he went looking for signs. He found nothing, but warned me that a cat had been seen on a neighbor’s farm, and that it was laying on the branches of the big oak trees. That made sense. The deer would walk under the branch and the cat would drop down on it. It was a good suggestion to look up and around when a person went into the woods.
While we were gone, the weather turned cold and a couple of good snowfalls took place. This changed all the parameters to my plan unknowlingly. Arriving back in Iowa/Nebraska, the snow had melted away and the temps in the day had moved into the mid 50s.
It took me a week to straighten my internal clock around and have my stomach return to normal. Normal is eating steak. By midweek a rip roaring cold had set in and the appointment was made to see the doctor. After antibiotics, decongestants, and a couple of good stiff hot toddys in the evening, I was ready to start hunting.
After a week, the drive to Fort Calhoun was made in the wee hours of the morning. Hearing turkeys talk in the morning is always exciting. They get really excited and cackle as they fly down out of the trees. It is great fun.
I heard nothing. As I waited patiently at my favorite spot for over an hour, nothing was seen. Moving to spot # 2, there were no signs of tracks or droppings, and nothing was heard. After moving to spot # 3, it was obvious that staying home would have been a better choice. By noon, nothing was heard or seen. The landowner was not home, so I went to Fort Calhoun for lunch and came back for a nap in the woods. It was a beautiful day with temps in the high 50s and light wind. The shotgun was on my left and a Springfield Armory 40 cal was on my right, just in case.
Awake at 3 PM the plan was to move south to the pastures and the ground that borders a camp that has no hunting.
After walking out of the woods on top of the ridge at the first hill, good grief, there they were. This was not just a flock of 25 to 50 birds, this flock was in the hundreds. I have never seen so many turkeys flocked up. Fumbling for my camera, the shot was too far away to prove what I had just seen, but as God is my witness, there could have been 500 turkeys. The minute they saw me, off they went to the woods running like the proverbial striped assed ape to the no hunting ground to the east.
I am always amazed how a person can drive along the interstate near our home, and the turkeys just peck and scratch along the road paying no attention to the traffic. In the woods and pastures, they pick up the slightest of movement.
All the planning went out the window seeing all those birds.
It is time to think things over and plan again. A bird with a brain the size of a quarter is not going to outsmart me.
Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck. Hank