The only absolute in turkey hunting is that there are no absolutes to turkey hunting. What spooks them and sends them scurrying in the opposite direction one day seems another day not to bother them in the least.
This morning I was able to get out turkey hunting for the first time this season. I sat in a pop-up blind on the edge of a hayfield on my sister and brother-in-laws property. The hayfield is long and narrow, bordered on one long side by a wooded pasture, and bordered on the other long side by a neighbor’s property where a pond sits just across the property line below a dike that is several feet taller than the hayfield. The back end of the hayfield borders a crop field and a woodlot. I have a hanging corn feeder at the back corner along the neighbor’s property, and I put up my pop-up blind just across from it along the opposite side. I was certain turkeys roosted in the woodlot and they also often roost clear in the back of the neighbor’s property in large cottonwoods above his pond, so that seemed like the best spot for the blind to cover both possibilities.
I parked the pickup about 6 AM, which was a little late as the horizon was already faintly aglow with the morning sun. As soon as I eased the truck door shut a gobbler cut loose over the neighbors pond, but much nearer than I had planned, meaning my blind was on the verge of being too close. Bright moonlight drenched the hayfield and I’m sure that gobbler saw my every move as I walked the hundred yards or so and planted decoys of a hen and a young gobbler in front of the blind. I have been in that situation before where I mistakenly or unknowingly set up too close to roosted birds, and you can usually cross them off the list before your hunt even starts as they’ll most likely skedaddle as soon as they hit the ground. No sooner had I mentally written him off than 2 more toms gobbled from the woodlot in front of me; the hunt was still on so I situated myself in the blind facing them.
I made my best lonely hen call every few minutes and all 3 gobblers continued to answer me for awhile, but after the sun was up the gobbling dwindled to sparse utterance from the 2 birds in the woodlot, then all was quiet. Fearing the silence meant the hunt was now over, I sat there mostly just to say I had stuck it out for awhile. Suddenly I heard wings beating and 3 hens from the woodlot flew into the hayfield and made a beeline for the corn feeder that had gone off and scattered the morning’s corn. I shifted my chair just enough to watch them, and to my amazement, down the dike from the neighbor’s pond came none other than the gobbler from the neighbors that I had written off! He mingled with the hens and followed them back across the hayfield after they had eaten their fill, stopping in the corner forty yards in front of me. He fanned out his tail, then strutted, twirled and stomped around showing all his best moves, evidently enamored with my plastic hen decoy and wondering why she wouldn’t join him for breakfast. He showed no signs of coming any closer, so I put the sights on his head and I had my turkey for the year.
It rarely happens like this the first hunt of the year, in fact it often takes several tries, adjusting your strategy each time until you figure out just what will work. Yes, it rarely happens this way the first hunt of the year, but like I said, there are no absolutes in turkey hunting…Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]