Turkey Season Wrap Up
As the season began to wind down, we started doing whatever we could to try and get a turkey into range. So, our strategy one evening was to go out mid-afternoon, about 2 or 2:30, and setup on a pasture where we had bumped some birds the last couple evenings when we were walking to another spot. We had three people hunting this day, as our dad still had a tag, so we split up and hunted two different spots. Both spots were about 400 yards apart and still over looked the pasture. Chance and I set up with a view of the pasture and our dad set up with a view a small cornfield. We settled in for the long haul and after about two hours of seeing nothing, Chance and I spotted two toms walking the field edge on the east side of this pasture. From where we were set up we could see our dad’s setup and watched as these two toms began to make their way towards him. We sent a hurried text to him, making sure he was awake, and watched as the birds got closer and closer. Finally, the birds got into range and we heard the shot as our dad was able to harvest a nice Nebraska tom.
Since we had had some success hunting the early afternoon, we went out the next evening to hunt the same pasture in hopes of having the same amount of success. Well, it was a long couple hours as we sat perched on a hilltop in the middle of this pasture with the sun beating down on us and had no toms work our way. We made a quick adjustment to our plan, picked up or gear, and headed back to try out an old setup we had used a few weeks earlier on a small alfalfa field on the southern side of this property. We hadn’t been set up more than five minutes and we heard a turkey gobble from behind us. Chance hit the call and made a few clucks, but got no response. We watched a few turkeys that had worked out into the alfalfa field for about 10 or 15 minutes and suddenly, the turkey behind us gobbled again, but this time he had cut the distance by about half and was closing in fast. We turned our attention towards him and Chance heard him fly across a small creek behind us and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would lay eyes on him. Not to long after he flew across the creek Chance spotted him about 40 yards to the east of us. Perfect. The only problem was I was set up looking north and with him only 40 yards away looking right at us, I had no opportunity to turn his way. We waited about five minutes as he stood 40 yards away from us with no shot opportunity, hoping he would work closer to the decoys so we could get a shot. But he had different plans and skirted around our decoys, walking through some tall grass and we couldn’t get a shot off.
We did almost everything right on this hunt, but to be successful you have to do everything right. We heard this tom gobble from behind us and knew that he was probably going to work past us on our east side. We had enough openings on that side of us that we would have had a shot opportunity to that side if we wanted. Instead, I stayed put and continued to face north towards are decoys hoping, and relying on, the decoys to bring him in for a shot. Hindsight’s 20/20, but knowing that he was going to be walking in from our east side I should have turned that way and not relied on the decoys to bring him in.
We were a little upset about our close call and the mistake we made, but things quickly changed because as we walked back to our truck that evening we heard a turkey gobble from the roost not 100 yards from where we parked the truck. The next morning, we were going to set up on that bird!
The next morning Chance setup close to where we had heard that tom gobble from the roost and I walked farther into the property and setup on a field close to where we had heard some turkeys gobble the night before as well. The tom Chance was hunting flew down from the roost and walked out into the pasture about 60 yards in front of him. And that is where he stayed. Chance watched as he strutted in the same spot for about 45 minutes before slowly walking away from us. This scenario seems to be the story of our season, close but not close enough.
We had a hunch that this tom roosted in the same spot on a regular basis, so we returned that evening to roost a few birds and see if he happened to roost in the same spot again. Sure enough, at about sunset he gobbled from the same spot he had the night before. With one day of hunting left, this was the bird we were going to go after the next morning.
We were going to get in close and give him no option to hang up out of range like he had the morning prior, or at least that was the plan. Since we were moving in so close to the roost, we got up extra early to make sure we could get in and set up in the dark so we didn’t spook the tom off the roost and ruin our hunt before it even started. Things started out well. We were able to get set up in the dark and as the morning got closer we heard him and a hen only about 40 yards from us. We called a few times that morning and the hen flew down and, just like we hoped, walked towards our decoys. Perfect, we were where the tom wanted to be and we now had a live decoy right in front us. It was only a matter of time, or so we thought. It took him about another 30 minutes before he flew down to a spot that was just on the other side of the property line. A spot he would stay at for the next 2 hours. This tom literally stood in the same spot for 2 hours and gobbled his head off, but would not get any closer. We waited and waited and waited and he just would not come in. We tried not calling, to make him think the hen he heard may not be there anymore to make he come up out of the bottom, but that didn’t work. Chance took the call and started calling and walking away from him to try and draw him out and that didn’t work. We moved setups real fast to try and get down in a draw that might be easier for him to work towards us and that didn’t work. Nothing worked!!! Eventually it wore us both out and again he turned and walked away. THE STORY OF OUR SEASON.
So, that is how our turkey season ended, with a couple of very close calls. Overall, we had a very fun, but frustrating season. We were able to kill a turkey on public land earlier in the year, but had a frustrating time getting set up in the right location on the public land to kill a long beard as the season went on. We hoped that switching to private land would give us a slight advantage and were able to harvest one Nebraska turkey, but for the most part these turkeys were old and wise and just wouldn’t respond to the call. As frustrating as it was at times, we had a ton of fun and it really tested our knowledge and strategies on turkey hunting and we were able to learn a lot that will help us next year.
With turkey season over with, it is time to turn our attention back to whitetails. We will be hanging a few trail cameras in the next couple days on our southern public land sight that we hunted last year. We scouted a new spot on this piece of public land earlier this year, so we are excited to hang these cameras and see what bucks are in the area.
Check back next Tuesday as we will be giving an update on hanging our trail cameras and our off season work to prepare for this fall.