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Day Two of the Great Nebraska Turkey Shoot

With the advent of dawn, the toms began to gobble

 

Behold the mighty hunter.

He riseth early in the morning and disturbeth the whole household.

Mighty are his preparations

He goeth forth full of great hope,

and when the day is spent, he returneth

smelling of strong drink, and the

truth is not in him. 

 

I do not drink any alcohol while fishing or hunting, but I have been known to expand on the truth.

Four in the morning came really early, but I wanted to move to a different spot on the hill overlooking the the dams at the bottom.  The plan was to set up along the tree line half way up the mountain and to the south. I would place the decoys about thirty yards from my hiding spot.  The movement of the turkeys had been toward that direction.  These were the plans in case there was bad news at this location.

With the advent of dawn, the toms began to gobble.  They were really talkative and must have come down off the roost.  I counted at least eight different locations with two really close behind me.  Six were  announcing their location closer to the dams and hidden in the timber.  It was unusual that there were no hens yelping, clucking, and chattering like females do in the morning.

 

I hid back in the trees.  The decoys were to my right just on the top of the terrace.  There was a deep ditch behind me and fence line beyond that, marking the boundary line.  To the left of the picture and down about 300 yards is where the NO HUNTING area begins.

 

As it became a little more light, my location was somewhat exposed.  I moved back into the timber behind some fallen trees which provided a better hiding place.  Easing my slate call into my hand,  I began to cluck and yelp to the toms.  They responded, but did not come out of the timber.  "Patience, patience, patience, and don't move, don.t move, don't move," kept crossing my mind.  My backside was getting very, very uncomfortable, almost to the point of pain.  Still they did not come out of the timber. By their sounds, they had not moved much.

Still not one hen was heard.  Slowly they began moving to the east and deeper into the timber.  Now what?  This was my prize location and the sun was now fully up.  There were no sounds from anywhere.  It was time to re-locate.

Across from my location and on top of a hill is a tall oak tree.  I had seen birds traverse this area many times. Therefore, I decided to move to this location.

I set up the Double Bull Blind under the oak tree.  With this added advantage, any detection of movement would be very limited.  However, with a leaf suit on, being detected has not been a problem.  One time, while taking a short nap, the noise of hens scratching and pecking woke me up.  There were five hens slowly walking by within five to six feet.  They never noticed me.

Periodic calling did not produce anything.  There was no reason to stay after several hours in this location.

I moved around the farm, visiting some of my old haunts with no results.  It was troubling to see that there were no droppings, scratching, or tracks.  The birds were just not here.

In a valley where the birds traverse between wooded areas has alway had some action.  Notice how high the foilage is for the middle of April.  We should not have this type of cover until late May.

This road leads up to the farmers home.  Birds have come out of the woods and crossed over at this point to the next stand of woods behind me.

Birds will traverse this area stopping at the corral to peck and scratch.

This called for a visit to the landownder.  To my surprise, he had not seen any traffic like he had witnessed in the past.  The landowner has a big dog, and we both always gave the dog credit for keeping away the deer and turkey.  However, out in the timber or pasture, something should have been seen.

This called for a consultation with a turkey hunting expert.  His opinion has always been respected.  He should write for an outdoor magazine as he is great at this game.

 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

 


Look for us on Facebook @ facebook.com/outdoorswithhank

More Stories By Hank Huntington

Hank Huntington, Esq., is a native of southwest Iowa, healthcare professional, entrepreneur, accomplished pilot, hunting and fishing enthusiast, connoisseur, father and husband. He developed this web site for people to share their fun and excitement about the great outdoors. The best part of this hobby is, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, you are able to dine on fresh game or fish, after all, “ How do you eat a golf ball?” asks Hank. Hanks father and grandfather were both avid outdoorsmen so Hank learned his hunting and fishing skills from them and has passed the tradition down to the fourth generation. Plus the love of the outdoors, and a craving for exquisite dinning, would round out the package.

As a small boy, he fished a local oxbow lake formed by the Missouri River. The lake is primarily old river bottom mud, is not real clear, and has a lot of vegetation. The southeast corner holds a huge lily pad bed, and it was there Hank learned to drag through the water and across the tops of the pads, a Johnson Silver Minnow, with a pork rind attached. This was the place for big mouth bass, and there were lots of them, and young Hank loved to catch them.

At age of 12 Hank started going with his Dad hunting, and by age 14 he was an accomplished shooter with a 12-gauge pump. Shortly after that he was given his first shotgun a Winchester Model 12 pump; he still has it today. It looks like almost new, but the gun is never to be hunted again. Duck hunting in the late 50’s had little pressure after the first two weeks of the season, and when the north wind blew and it got really damp and cold, the big Canada Mallards came.

After graduation from high school, Hank attended Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. There he met a fellow outdoorsman, and their friendship developed in the fields and streams of central Nebraska.

Hank had little time for hunting and fishing while attending professional school at Creighton University. After graduation he married his college sweetheart and they settled down to career, family, and as often as possible, hunting and fishing.

Hank and his family frequently flew their plane north to Canada to the legendary Canadian fly in lodges to fish for Northern and Walleye. Here he taught his son all the things his father had taught him about fishing. Most of the time the two went alone to the north woods, but when camping was not involved, his wife Pam went along. She always enjoys the fact that she has caught a bigger Northern Pike than Hank, and he has been fishing for 60 years. Today along the Missouri River valley, the deer population increased to the point that in many areas they are a nuisance. The duck, goose, and turkey has also population have also soared.

Area lakes have been well stocked. Many even have a walleye stocking program that makes outstanding fishing. Several are within easy driving distance of Hank’s lodge-like lakeside home. All packaged together is great dining. By the way, Hank harvests only what he will share at a table with family or friends.

Hank says, “Whenever I am on a lake, in the woods, or in the blind, I am always reminded of God’s great bounty and His constant presence. And whether in the great outdoors or at home with my wife, I strive to be a good steward of nature and all that God has given us.”

Good hunting! Good fishing! Good day!

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