Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nebraska Spring Turkey

I took a birthday trip to Nebraska to chase the Merriam's wild turkey.  We had a mixed bag of weather, which seems to be the norm for spring turkey hunting.  Between the hail, the wind, the sideways rain and fog a few sunny hours graced us and we took advantage of the turkey activity.  I haven't been much of a turkey hunter, but I feel I've been bitten.  Just like a bugle from a bull elk, as soon as the last gobble has sounded, I can't wait to hear the next.  I took a few pics and thought I would share the hunt. 

My first bird of the trip.  My morning set up did not get it done, but I was able to catch up to a group of seven gobblers and one hen and after a couple soft yelps four of them were coming my way.  At ten yards, the 20 gauge was plenty of medicine.  As I was setting up for my grip and grin shot, the wind gusted just enough to fan out his tail and gave me a great picture.
I was caught in the open by these birds.  Sitting in the grass my Vias camo kept me well concealed.

I find it interesting how the color palate of Vias Camo matches the colors of the Wild Turkey.

Jimmy with a nice double!

In between hunts we had time to work on our rifles in preparation for the upcoming big game seasons.  Here, I'm lapping my scope rings to get better contact and a straighter, truer mount. 

We called in the hen leading two jakes and the two birds on the right.  My set up did not offer me a shot, so Tony took both.  As we were high fiving, another tom started up 200 yards away.  We plopped down where we stood, started calling and soon we were enjoying the show.  I let him come all the way to ten yards before touching off.  Definitely the best turkey hunt I've been privileged to participate in.  Spending time in the woods with my friends is what it's all about.  Killing these birds was the gravy on top!

It's not as hard as packing elk quarters, but somehow these birds get heavy and finding another carrier puts a smile on your face.

Chef Tony recommended we hang and age our birds.

At 2:45am I'm not much for breakfast, but at 6:00am, with a dead gobbler, a WA bar hits the spot and gets me back to the truck.
In conclusion, I'd like to comment again on how much fun I'm having chasing gobblers, it is an absolute hoot. Or howl, depending on preference. Also, my KUIU gear is coming through strong. For now, my favorite piece is the heavier weight merino top in Vias camo. Its ability to keep me warm while waiting for daylight and then cool while I'm chasing a mid day bird makes it an easy choice for my first layer. A note on the Vias camo: numerous times during this hunt I was caught out in the open with nothing near me besides grass. No stumps, no trees, no bushes, just 10 in. of grass. These turkeys seemed to look right through me every time. To the point that I was starting to feel invisible! I was wearing a Leafy-Dude head net, otherwise all Vias camo. I'm thinking that if it can fool turkeys, it should be deadly on elk and deer.

Anyone interested in hunting Merriam's turkeys in NW Nebraska should contact Ethan Kohn with Pine Ridge Outfitters. He's got great ranches leased with lots of turkeys and top notch accommodations. He can be reached at 970.390.8149.

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