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  1. #276

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    Plan A foiled by the truck parked where it was clear that the hunter/angler/mushroom hunter would be right where I wanted to be to intercept the late afternoon strutters. Just as I was leaving the parking area towards plan B location, a guy walked out into the open right where the strutters have been over the last two weeks.

    Ghosting through the woods to the diagonal field, I saw fans galore out in the cut corn. Getting my ninja on, I moved down the watercourse woods to be in intercept position. Just as I thought I was square to this flock of feeding, strutting birds, they would drift further south. With little wind to cover any noise I might make, I had to wait for the train to increase the noise levels to make it safer to move.

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    With only a few minutes left of legal shooting time, the first hens launched up into the trees, landing nearly overhead. They were at first squabbling amongnst themselves, and then one of them caught me bring my shotgun to the ready, and began to ramp up their nervous clucking.

    The boys were still chasing each other, and one particular jake was getting the brunt of the abuse. Watching the clock to keep legal, I knew that I was probably going to walk out without a bird, as at 75 yards out, and still strutting, these spooky birds were going to not come in close enough before the end of legal time.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  2. #277

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    Walking into the public land field, I was able to forgo any artificial lighting as the Milky Way and Venus gave enough light to scoot safely down the field, cross the creek and make my way through the CRP strip and nestle in to my hidey hole.

    My plan today was to be a total stealth hunter......no decoys and no calling. Busting a bird from its roost halfway along my hike in let me know that at least one turkey was still using this area for roosting.

    As the sky started brighten, round after round of gobbles started sounding off. I was far enough away that I didn't see or hear the main flock fly down. I did hear the tree clucks of a turkey aware that something strange was sitting in the shrubs right under him. Doh!

    That aware bird flew right over my head, and went around the bend of the field to contact earth once more. Birds leaving the roosting area rallied together while eating on the cut cornfield, and started to head down the field moving in my general direction. Hens, jakes and toms headed my way, the first bird somehow sensed something was hinky, and they drifted towards the opposite field edge, and some turned back towards the roost side of the field. After eating some more, they again drifted my way, but were taking care to stay in the middle of the field, out of shotgun range.

    Minutes later, I heard more sounds of feeding turkeys headed my way and I eased up my gun onto the shooting stick. Hens following the field edge came within a few yards of my position, and this time nothing made them spook.

    Another 10 minutes went by, and I saw movement out front. A turkey walking down the middle of the field, which means he was in range. Pushing the barrel through the shrubs, he never knew what hit him.

    Thanks Kansas!
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  3. #278

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    Tease! We KNOW there's photographic evidence.

  4. #279

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    1_pointer, I confess to you that I do have tons of pics of turkeys on this field, but none on the "hoof" of the one who agreed to the offered ride home. While walking in the sunshine, there is iridescence galore, somehow never fully captured by film.

    For these closeups I moved the bird into dappled shade as although the tag shows he was killed before 8 am, the pics were not taken until nearly noon. I also asked the exposure meter to reduce the automatic exposure by .7 to allow some of the darker colors to have some differentiation, and the shade helped the lighter areas not be overexposed and washed out.

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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  5. #280

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    Now that is what I've come to expect from your post on this thread! Well done and thanks for sharing.

    I had a couple of close (one REALLY close) calls in getting a turkey to come home with me, but it just didn't happen. Kids' baseball season makes for a very short window for me to turkey hunt. Had fun nonetheless.

  6. #281
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    Aug 2011
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    Great State of Montana!
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    625

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    Those are awesome photos showing the magnificent colors turkeys have. Congrats on the bird!

  7. #282

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    5:50 legal shooting time......boy is that early!

    Hoping to repeat my birthday success I once again was first to the parking lot, and under the full moon set out to settle in to the shrubs that ring the cut corn field with plans to be a total stealth hunter. As I descended the hill towards the field, I contemplated switching it up and staying on the uphill edge of the field, but decided to go back to the spot of last week. 40 gobbles from three separate locations in the woods to the east and south buoyed my hopes that although we are in the sixth week of the season, some legal birds were still on the public lands.

    Hens filtered by well within range, but sadly they didn't have any bearded turkeys in tow. He showed up a quarter mile away well after sunrise, and he showed why he had survived all these weeks. It was almost as if he had read from the latest outdoor magazine on how to still hunt for whitetail. He would take just a step or four, and then slowly scan the surroundings. Scratch at a morsel perhaps, and then take a few more steps. Scan near, then far, take a few more steps. Stop, turn around, check the back trail, grab a seed, turn a full 360, then move another few steps. At one point he looked as if he might leave the field edge as he was looking down toward the river edge for what seemed like 5 minutes. Rinse, repeat, and finally he came to be directly opposite me from one field edge to the other. Had I stayed on that side of the field, it would have been a 20 yard chip shot, and I might have returned home before Lynne and Julia were up and about.

    As it went, he finally could see the hens down in the hollow of the corn field to my left, and once he made sure it was not a group of decoys, but real living turkeys, he moved like a turkey sure of where he wanted to be and hustled down to meet the girls.

    The flock of eight birds went about eating breakfast, and he made sure to be show off his beautiful fan for the world to appreciate his glory. Drifting up and down the field, I was able to watch the morning's activities through the screen of shrubs. After breakfast, the lead hen started to move with a purpose, and as I had hoped, she was going to use my side of the field. Passing by at 6 yards, she made the briefest of pauses just as she came to the hole in the shrubs that was hiding me. I had already dropped my face towards my chest to hide behind the bill of my cap, and she kept on moving. The second, third and fourth birds also passed by without issue. Shifting only my eyes to the left, I could see that special flash of red centered in the bulls-eye of fan feathers also moving my way, and I started the calculations of distance and tried to work out how I could move my gun into firing position without getting busted. Just thinking about moving without actually doing any moving is all it takes to get busted by these spooky spooky birds, and somehow hen #5 felt the thoughts of movement and came to a frozen pause and burned holes with her eyes.

    "Hey guys, something is up over here in the bushes" she said. "Nothing but us bushes over here" I psychically replied. She relaxed just a bit, but still kept up her guard. The glowing red head off in the near distance continued his trailing position, and slowed his pace, as if a NASCAR driver back in the pack heard his spotter call...." big wreck, big wreck, get off the gas".

    The lead hen turned around to come check on the procession, and after consultation with hen #5, everybody started to go back to my left. Moving about thirty yards away, all the gals huddled up and decided that maybe crossing lanes of freshly planted corn would be alright, and they started to angle across the field. Always lagging, the tom was also working the diagonal getting closer to me on left to right, but angling away at the same time towards the opposite field edge. My brain is trying to compensate for the telescopic effect of being snuggled down into the shrubs and figure out if the tom's pathway is bringing him slightly closer or farther with every step.

    It was now or perhaps never, so I brought up the Winchester and centered the tom with the bead. Earlier in the dark as I had loaded up the first two shotshells I had had a little "moment" as I was using some old shotshells that I had found in my dad's gun safe on the day that my sister and twin brothers and I were dividing the contents. As I am the only turkey hunter, it was a no brainer who should have the shells.

    Boom. Down goes the tom. And then he was up, and tried to take a step, and down again. Boom again. I could see feathers impacted. He got up and seemed to be trying to follow the now running and flying hens. I step up out of the underbrush, and advance to the edge of the field. Third shot fired, which spins him around, and he took to wing. Flying back to my left, he went over 250 yards and disappeared over the horizon of the field. I knew that I had hit this bird hard, and couldn't believe that he was able to fly, and fly as strongly and far as it appeared he had flown.

    I went back to where I had been sitting, and looking down, I found a slightly weathered call just a few feet from where I had been sitting both last week and this day. Popping it into my pack, and picking up the hulls of my dad's shells, I determined that I needed to go find my bird that I hoped would be right where he landed.

    Just over the crest of the hill, there is a small pond ringed by thick woods. I had marked where the flight of the turkey finished, and when I arrived, I was confronted with the mother of all poison ivy patches. Standing on the edge of the ivy jungle, I was looking for evidence of where a 20 pound bird may have just crash landed. Standing there, I was startled by the thrashing of ivy just yards away. Unseen wings beat the air, and I tried to find this bird as it sounded as if he was trying to fly up onto a branch. Listening and staring, I willed myself to be able to find the turkey in the thickest forest that Kansas can muster. Eastern Cedar, hedgeapple, oak, hackberry and locust trees with a poison ivy undergrowth were woven together into a very thick shield. Flopping noises lead me to where he was hiding behind a big cedar trunk that formed the support for a rats stick pile. One more shot to the head and it was finally over.

    Tagging followed a couple of "as he lay" pictures, and then I broke through the woods shield once again to emerge into the sunshine. I could see why he tried and couldn't run, as his lower leg was broken above his spur.

    This tom is my first bird I have ever killed without the bird being "dead right there". I walked off the distance from my initial shot and measured it at 54 yards. I had been fooled by the telescopic effect of being back in the shrubs, and the angling towards, and away, all at the same time of the tom. My dad's shotshells were 2 3/4 shells, with #4 copper plated shot. One of those pellets helped me bring this bird back home with me by breaking his leg and preventing him from running. Other shot was found up and down his neck, but just not an immediately lethal consequence.

    Once again, thanks Kansas! I look forward to a summer of yard work, photo opportunities and dreaming of chasing gobblers in the fall.



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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  8. #283

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    Nice write up! Congrats on the birds!

  9. #284

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    Very nice!!!!

    good luck to all
    the dog
    "it's the HUNT, not the KILL"

  10. #285

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    Suburban boys showing off, just before the storm rolled through.



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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  11. #286

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    At sunset tonight, spring turkey season in Kansas comes to an end. Unlike the last several years, I experienced early harvest success, and neither Philip, the now experienced turkey hunter or Julia my "no longer gun shy" daughter took me up on my offer to head afield in search of their own turkeys. I have learned to offer the opportunity, and if there are other more interesting or pressing options, to be quite content that the option was given.

    With the entire state no longer under drought conditions, nesting conditions would seem quite favorable for successful brood production. I hope the poults have plenty of food and cover to make it through the gauntlet of terrors.......illness, injury, flooding, hail, and predators both furred and feathered. Grow little ones, but be warned that I will surely seek you or your uncles this fall.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  12. #287

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    We already have made plans to return to Kansas next spring for turkeys. I am also exploring the idea of hunting southern Nebraska either before or after our Kansas hunt. As long as we are driving 1500 miles ...

  13. #288

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    Gobbling their little heads off this morning, looking for some hens to hang out with, I suppose.



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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  14. #289

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    Sunset coming and clouds rolling in off to the west. A beautiful evening for some showing off how handsome they are.


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    If I moved the car forward or slightly back, they would gobble in response to change in engine noises and the tire/road noises. Thoroughly suburban turkeys.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  15. #290

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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  16. #291

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    Great pics!

  17. #292

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    Early morning showoff


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    Somebody had a rough night on the roost.



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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  18. #293

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    A line of thunderstorms rolled through last night. By the time it hit Wichita and surrounding areas, the hail had dissipated to simply annoying size, and not dangerous size, if you were a turkey up on a roosting limb. The rain and wind gusts would have been tough to deal with as well. After being buffeted by huge gusts of wind and drenched to the skin, breakfast and preening those pretty feathers would be the order of the early morning.

    Even these suburban dwelling wild turkeys are following the normal pattern of flocking with the boys hanging together. Hens with broods should be coming out of hiding mode as the young of the year should be flight capable now or soon, while broodless hens will hang out together. I found a large group of boys taking in a clover breakfast while preening those feathers.

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    Some areas are easier to get to than others.


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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  19. #294

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    Must be the rain we will be getting later today. Hope the hail stayed with you...

  20. #295

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    POULTS!!


    Two hens and more than a dozen feathering, jittery, flapping, highly energetic poults were caught leaving the horse pasture, crossing the road, and headed to the trees that ring the watershed pond. Roosting time was about 30 minutes away and the little birds were in full feedbag mode, each in competition with the other to get that tasty morsel. The two hens were bastions of calmness compared with their offspring.


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    The super observant among you will notice the hen on the right is sporting a decent beard.


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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  21. #296

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    At 7:30 pm and the heat index is 99 stinking hot degrees. If you are a turkey flock, you enjoy shade where you can find it.


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    If sharing is caring, these horses and turkeys are good friends.


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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  22. #297

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    Gathering a last few snacks before flyup, these poults are gaining size rapidly.

    Heat indexes over 100 degrees every day this week, finding birds requires finding the deepest shaded areas, or catching the flock moving from one shade area to another.

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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  23. #298

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    Is it really August in Kansas???? Highs in the low 80's for the next ten days, and on many days as overcast as Seattle is rumored to be.....I'm thinking that dove and teal season is just around the corner.

    "My" birds in the suburban horse pastures are doing what turkeys are supposed to be doing this time of year....boys and spinster hens in their individual groups, and hens with their poults sticking together.

    These birds have no hunting pressure as they are inside city limits, so growing old and long in the spur is easier.



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    This tom has one long spur and one much shorter. The driveway/garage door area just last year was an empty field oftentimes used by the bachelor flock as a late evening loafing place just before flyup. "Progress" means duplexes now fill the field.


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    I found the ever growing poults with the two hens.


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    The poults are starting to show their barred wing feathers, and as always are as full of energy as human toddlers.


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    The poults are small enough that going through the fence was easy. Mom had to fly up to sit on top of the fence before joining the offspring on the other side.


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    One of the hens is sporting a small beard



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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  24. #299

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    The two hens and their group of a dozen poults are hanging around the ball field and the antique car barn on the east side of the watershed pond. It is still easy to tell the mom from the kids, but at the rate that they are growing, it won't be too long when that gets tougher based on size.


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  25. #300

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    Two weeks later, these poults are growing quickly. It is still easy to tell mom from young'un just by size but if a poult were in the tall weeds by itself, it would be tricky to tell how full grown it was.


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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

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