Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

Kansas/Nebraska/Wyoming turkeys


Well-known member
Aug 8, 2010
northeast Iowa
Headed west on my annual trip last Thursday afternoon. This year I decided to add Kansas and drop South Dakota. Drove through Kansas last fall and spotted some nice turkey areas... so what the heck. 9 hour drive and I pull into a motel. They call me "cheap motel Marty" when I hunt. This one was $35.00 with the corporate rate (i'll take that any day).

Arose at 5 am and headed out looking for a place to hunt in Kansas. I went into Kansas "cold"... without a place to hunt. After driving creek bottom roads and seeing some turkeys I decided to head for the local coop and ask for help. After introductions the guy looks at me and says "I think I got a guy who would let you hunt". He gives me his # and tells me to call the guy. Before that happens a guy on the steps of the coop says: "here comes his son. I'll wave him down". I am soon talking to the landowners son and after introductions the son says: "hop in my truck and I'll show you the ranches". First the south ranch and then the north ranch. He tells me where he has seen the turkeys strutting and when. It's now 9 am and I thank him and decide to head out for a late hunt. Temps are already 70 degrees and it will get to 80 degrees today. We look at the map on my phone one more time and he says: that's where they usually are strutting. I pack up the decoys and grab the gun and head towards a small brush pile where I will set-up. As I round the corner there they are...... strutting right where he stated they would be. About 400 yards away. I crawl into the brush pile and start calling and observing. Gobbles straight ahead and two to my right. This goes on for 2 hours. Eventually the hens go to nest and I get the lone toms attention. He startins heading my way "on a string". At 150 yards he decides to meet up with the other two toms that are gobbling. BAD IDEA. The other two chase him. I have never seen turkeys run so fast in my life. I call and he runs right to me and stops at 35 yards. The other two are still coming, however, this one knows something is up. Question: shoot one or wait for a double..... "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". BANG!!! my first Rio at 35 yards... dead I the wheat field. 19.5 lbs, 3/4 inch spurs, 8 inch beard. Shot at noon.

That night I head to the south ranch and hunt an alfalfa field near a creek.

Right on cue they are right where the rancher stated they would be. I was not set up on the correct side of the field and even though the hens came into the decoys the two toms stayed at 75 yards. The next morning I moved the blind to the opposite side of the field. All morning turkeys ate in the alfalfa. At 11 am the hens decide to leave and the toms were once more alone (one tom and 2 jakes. At noon one gets really hot to my calls. a hen responds and enters the field and mingles in the decoys....the tom soon follows. 32 yards... close enough. BANG. My second Rio in two days. Shot at 12:15. 17.5 lbs, 3/4 inch spurs, 8 inch beard.

Close-up of Rio feathers.

Off to Chadron, Nebraska to chase Merriams. Pulled in on Sunday and hunted and only saw hens. With a little help from a friend I set up on some toms that we had seen the night before. I put the blind under a big pine tree.

Gobbling on the ridge in the early AM. The birds did not come my way. at 7 AM after some soft calling I hear a gobble to my left (in a draw). A few more calls in he gets louder (closer). I see a bird at 90 yards and think that it's the tom. I lose sight of him. NO it's a hen... where's the tom. There he is to my far left all fanned out. A few soft calls and no response. he stays at 75 yards and just struts. I think about a shot. I have 3 inch shells and a turkey choke... NO that's not ethical. I call a few more times .... soft purrs. He finally responds and starts feeding to the decoys (set at 17 yards). He then goes into a full strut all the way in to the decoys. BANG. 18 lbs, 3/4 inch spurs. 8 1/2 inch beard. Shot at 7:15 AM. A 3 inch shell at 17 yards, with turkey choke was a "little over kill".



The next day I had the opportunity to hunt with an 8 year old and his father as they went after birds. The boy managed to get two jakes.

Pine Ridge area that I hunted. LOVE this place.


SNAKE that I almost stepped on... scared the crap out of me :(

On to Wyoming. This is mostly a visit with an old friend who helps with the "old west invitational turkey shoot". I only hunted one morning and left before the 1-2 feet of snow hit the Black Hills.

It was a great trip and I found some new hunting areas and met some fantastic people. NOTE: I'm already counting the days until next year's hunt.

good luck to all
the dog
Great photos! Sounds like a great trip. Very cool you found the hospitality you did along the way.
Looks like a grand turkey adventure. Smart move with the Co-op boys! Congratulations.
Smart, ethical, and successful! Good huntin' for sure. Congrats
Great adventure, great birds, man that is some sorry looking wheat. Your $35 night digs looks better than most I find out NW Ks. Might have to find out where that one is.

I love it when the birds follow the plan.
Congrats. Be glad you hit good weather on your trip. If you had been in Eastern WY, Western NE this weekend you would not have been hunting many turkeys. 20" of snow over the weekend with blizzard conditions.
COngrats on the kills and the wise move to dodge the heavy snow. I got chased out of the pine ridge several years ago by 12" of new snow.

Beautiful birds!

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