Wild Alaskan Salmon Seafood

Tagged out in Nebraska, including my first double!

Epfd217

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
My story actually starts with a hunt from a few weeks earlier. My buddy and I have been making the trip from MN to NE for a few years now and we have hunted with guns and bows. We have both been successful with the bow in the past. Last year was the first year my daughter joined us. She shot a jake for her first turkey ever with a 20ga and she has been hooked.

This year we planned the trip to coincide with the youth gun opener. That means the grown ups were limited to bows only. My daughter really wanted to drop one with her bow so she had both in the blind. She was ready for any turkey within 30yds, or so I thought.

Day 1 and morning 2 were giving us fits. My buddy Dan missed 3 times on the first morning but sealed the deal when he decapitated his turkey with the Magnus Bullheads on morning 2. The spot he was in was the farthest spot on the property. We made our way to the far bottom and got set up. My daughter had 3 shots in that spot all at 25-30 yds and she missed each one because she was pulling the gun back as she pulled the trigger and the gun fired high. There were some tears at her disappointment, but she couldn't contain her excitement about having so many shot opportunities. That was worth it all for me.

I will add some pictures when I figure out how.
 

Epfd217

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
So I made my way home without even drawing my bow. So, I have a 4 day weekend that comes every other weekend at my job. After explaining the logic for my plans and taking my wife out to dinner, I was planning a follow up trip to Nebraska.

I worked friday night until 6am on saturday morning. I woke up at noon and packed the truck. Once on the road, I made a 5 hr trip in 4.5hrs. Once in NE Nebraska, I made my way to the farm where I had permission. I set up camp and prepared for a quick evening hunt. I passed on a lone tom in a pasture because I wanted to get back down to the creek bottom and get to the big flock. I was in the right neighborhood, on the right block, but at the wrong house. The group of 3 toms and another 6 hens and some jakes passed by at 60-80yds away. I watched as they roosted.

In the morning, I decided not to drive through the property to try and maintain a low profile. The creek bottom was only 1.5 miles back. I started hiking down the hills and came across another flock of roosted birds gobbling their heads off. I decided that active birds at half the hike was worth a shot. The other flock hasn't moved in 2 weeks, I think they will be keep up their routine.

I set up and started getting responses to my calls right away. Unfortunately, after fly down I could hear the hens winning the battle and the whole group made their way away from me. I packed up my set and starting hiking down to the bottom. The area I was hiking was a spring-fed creek running down a wooded draw that leads to a mad-made pond with a huge man-made dam at the end.

As I made my way down my side of the draw, the turkeys were still on the other side of the creek. When I reached the dam, I could tell the birds were on the other side of the pond near the shore. SO, I grabbed my two decoys and crawled out as far onto the dam as I dared go without being seen. I planted my hen on the ground in a breeding pose and placed my quarter strut jake about 3 ft behind her. I snuck back and hid behind a small rise on the side of the dam that placed me at eye level with the dekes. I gave a few calls, but didn't receive a response. I decided to settle in and see what happens. After 10 mins or so I hear the turkeys getting closer. I called and get a gobble. I tried to look and finally I could see some toms making their way along the shoreline towards the dam. Eventually the birds sped up after I assume they saw the decoys. Once on the dam the turkeys made a quick walk to the dekes.
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Sorry the picture sucks, but the pond is on the background and the dam runs straight away.

I watched at eye level as two toms made their way across the dam fighting eachother for position. One tom decided to beat up my jake while the other attempted to seal the deal on my hen. I raised the shotgun and level the bead. I dropped the tom assaulting my jake decoy.

I instinctually cycled the action and spotted the second tom as he ran about 10 yards and stopped to find out what had happened to his buddy. His head was in the air looking for the source of the danger, so I introduced him to the Winchester #6 LongBeard XR's. I had just filled my two tags and it was only 730 am. My decoys are the Dakota Decoy Xtreme Jake and the hen is an HS Strut Suzie Snood. Both are very lifelike and although they are not the easiest to transport in the field, they are worth it. I've shot close to a dozen birds with 20yds in the last 2 years with these decoys, especially the jake.
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Well, with my tags filled, I could pack up and go home, or buy a 3rd tag. Nebraska allows a 3-bird limit. I didn't think about it too long. I told my wife I wasn't ready to come home yet. SHe figured as much. I ran to town and bought a third tag. I hunted that night with high optimism, but the creek bottom flock managed to avoid me again. They roosted in the same tree. I'm not a roost hunter, so they won again.

Morning two dawned a hair above freezing and I overslept. I hunted high and low but all the birds avoided me for several hours. By noon I was beat and needed to get more water and some food. I had only seen a single hen. I decided to drive around the area and see if I could spot a tom on some of the other farms I have permission on or maybe locate a new hunting spot.

As I made my way around, I didn't see a single turkey. I stopped at the landowner's home and no one was home, so I drove back to the farmstead where I had my tent. As I hit the last intersection before my driveway, I spotted a lone tom walking in an alfalfa field. Then I could see he was following a lone hen, likely on their way back from their daytime bedroom. I turned around and made a plan for this bird,

I had brought along a turkey fan preserved from last year. The tom was out in the wide open and on private land which made me much more secure about using the turkey fan and stalking towards this bird. I grabbed the shotgun and the fan and ran up the hill until I hit the crest and spotted the tom. He was still strutting as he followed the hen. I let out a few yelps then began moving the fan around. I saw the tom turn and start looking my way. I moved that fan around and he broke strut and came towards me. He was roughly 100yds away downhill in 10-12" high alfalfa.

As the tom moved towards me, I moved towards him. I turned the fan around so I was showing him the rear of the tail fan with those long white feather bases. I rotated the fan side to side and layed it down and raised it up exactly like a tom does when strutting. The tom had made his way to roughly 40yds and I contemplated shooting him. He stopped to strut again. I continued to do my own strutting and then I made the PFFT sound that a tom makes when spitting and drumming. WHen I did that I was peeking between two of the feathers. I saw the tom break strut and run towards me at a sprint!! His head was blood red and on a beeline. Finally when he was just a couple feet away, I raised the shotgun and dropped the fan.

The tom stopped and flared back at the sight of me. As he did, I aimed at the head and made certain I was dead on, knowing that my pattern would be the size of a softball. I pulled the trigger and he rolled over. WHAT A RUSH!! I was tagged out!

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I filled 3 tags in 2 days on the road and camping out.
Birds #1+2 were both 2 year old toms that have been scrapping all spring. Both had broken and dirty tail fans. One of them only had 5 tail feathers left, the rest were broken off.

Bird #3 from the stalk was a very healthy 2yr old or a 3yr old. He was 20.9 lbs with a 9.5" beard. His spurs were both under 1", but his body and feathers were very mature. His fan was more than an 2 inchs wider that the fan I used to decoy him.
 
Last edited:

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
4,973
Location
Wichita
Very cool couple of weekends chasing turkeys. It's hard to imagine the buzz created by having a tom running at you with full speed evil intent........and I think your pattern at a few feet is gonna be golf ball diameter. Well done!
 
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