Well, we’re finally seeing and hearing turkeys. Which is a step up, I suppose. Saturday afternoon we went out after Matt got done with a work fuction. I sat in the front field out at Sunny Slope, and Matt headed back to sit in the spot I’d used the last two times I was out.
It was a nice enough day. The high was about 53, and we had winds gusting to about 25 miles per hour. Once I got settled inside the treeline, one of my hens, a foam decoy, blew off across the field. I sprinted to go get it, only to watch my jake decoy get blown over in the wind. Once I got everything settled again, I started calling with my box call. About an hour and fifteen minutes after I dug in, I saw the flock, about 5 birds. They were waaaaay over near the road, eating in the field.
Too far away to shoot, and I can’t shoot at the road anyhow, I attempted to call them over. They stopped and looked at my decoys, and one of them ambled over. It was a hen, and she ended up flying off to another field.
I stayed put for a while longer, and another turkey peeked out of the treeline at me, but didn’t come close enough to tell if it was a male. Once it got on toward dark, the temperature dropped like a stone. The low forecast was about 33. I texted Matt that I was good to go when he was. A little closer to dark he told me to head his way on foot, to see if there was anything to flush on down.
I followed the ATV track up the hill, and as I came to where it enters the cloverfields, I saw three deer. They stopped when they saw me, but I was able to set down my decoys, stand back up, take a picture, pick up my decoys, and walk closer to them before they bolted. I got maybe 10 yards away. They were all good sized. They hopped the fence into the neighboring Christmas tree farm.
As I walked closer to Matt, I saw more of those monster hoof prints I’d seen when we scouted for turkey a few months ago. Once I got to him, we walked up toward where we’d seen signs of turkey roosts, and we scared out another big deer. He hadn’t seen or heard a single turkey. Skunked again, we decided to come out for a morning hunt for once.
Dragging myself out of bed a little before 4 am today was the worst part of it. Once I was up and moving I was OK. We drove back out to Sunny Slope, and set up on the same front field. Just before the sun rose, we heard an actual gobbler somewhere behind us, up on the hills. So, I was wrong. There is a tom in these woods. But those early gobbles were all we heard of them. Once the sun was good and up, we looked around a bit to see where they went. Not in the field across the road, but on the western side of the public parcel, on a private hayfield. A tiny wedge was still public, so Matt parked the truck and we snuck a decoy out and tried to call them. Matt even waded across the tiny beginnings of Black Earth Creek to get closer. No dice. But we are getting closer. Matt’s napping right now, and I’m having a coffee. We’re trekking up to the land recommended to us near Cambria and Wyocena, just to tromp around a bit and see what’s there.