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  1. #301

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    I interrupt turkey business to report that the season opener for teal in Kansas stunk. The wetlands at Cheyenne Bottoms this year had the lowest bird count that I can remember, with a significant portion of the birds being a ticket-in-waiting for shooting other species of ducks out of season. There was one group of redheads just begging to get shot, skimming the decoys, circling around, hovering over the spinning wing decoy just asking to go to duck heaven. Fortunately, good identification skills were exhibited so as to avoid problems when were were cordially checked at the boat ramp.

    Fall turkey season starts October 1, with the majority of Kansas once again limited to one fall bird (zone 4 is closed to fall hunting). Most folks that I know only get a fall tag so that if an opportunity arises to get a Thanksgiving bird, they can legally do so, instead of intentionally targeting turkeys. I will see what I can do about a fall gobbler falling to my bow (thanks again, Mrs kansasdad for the sweet gift!!)
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  2. #302

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    I took my crossbow for a little reconnoiter of a nearby public wildlife area, hoping that the break in the weather pattern would get the deer up and moving, and allow for me to scout for the October 1st fall turkey opener. My hopes of moving deer were met in the form of a young forkie running into the road in a suicide-by-Avalon attempt, which I thwarted with Andretti-like driving skills.

    In the dark, I settled into my hiding spot, and turned on my ninja mode. The heavy overcast made the changing of dark to dawn to light extend for an unusual length of time. Spitting rain, with lightening off in the distance with low rumbles of thunder made me pull out my rain jacket. Strangely absent from the morning was the normal awakening sounds of a Kansas river bottom. Very few birds were calling, especially turkeys, and this made me wonder if there were any turkeys hanging out in this section of public land.

    Just as I was lulled into a near nap state, a very loud throbbing noise moved in rapidly from my right. I ninja'd my head up to see a hummingbird hovering next to my quivered crossbow bolt. He gently moved closer and I could just barely feel his beak touch the bright yellow nock, as I suppose he thought the yellow nock, jet black shaft and orange/white vanes might have a tasty nectar treat. I felt quite honored that he paid me a visit.

    After I was done for the morning, I was walking towards the fence and the road, when I heard the panic "putt!!!" of a turkey, Moments later saw a young of the year bird take flight. A loud commotion started as other brothers and sisters started putting and trying to determine from where the danger was coming. Had it been fall season already, I can imagine a scenario where my superior turkey ninja skills could have been deployed to maneuver into a position for a shot on these tasty birds. These young turkeys acted much in the same fashion of other non-wary young of the year animals act. They knew something was up, but they were not too spooked at finally seeing a fully camouflaged man in the woods.

    See you this October kids! Keep believing that your ability to fly away will keep you safe. I count on it.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  3. #303

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    Last night driving home I detoured from the straight shot home, and drove into the turkey neighborhood. I was surprised to find the flock of young of the year birds on the west side of the watershed, as they have been always seen on the east side. And my, how the young poults have grown!! And then it struck me, perhaps this group of 13 poults and two hens is not the same as the eastsiders. These birds must have hatched earlier, and are much larger than the ones that I have been seeing all summer. Some of the young birds have nascent beards peeking through their breast feathers, and although they don't have as large a body as their mommas, it seems that their legs may have reached full length.

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    Driving around the watershed to the eastside horse pastures, I found the other flock of young ones. It would seem that there are 2 dozen young of the year birds learning how to be suburban turkeys.


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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.

  4. #304

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    Glad to see someone else's excited about fall turkey season. Seems like a lot of people don't even hunt it.

  5. #305

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    Public land turkey scouting this morning and the early predawn light was breathtaking.


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    But where was the flock roosting???
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  6. #306

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    I had a close call today, and not in a great way. I arrived early and walked into the public hunting area and sat down to a Kansas dawn awakening. I was hoping for any turkey, or perhaps a deer to be my first archery success. Absent was any tree yelping, but the squirrels were going nuts (pun intended).

    I imagined deer moving through the woods, and finally did hear some quiet turkey talk, just not in my vicinity. I pulled stakes with the though of making it back to town to be in time for the first service at church. As I broke through the woods and began throw my gear into the car, I looked to the south and saw half a dozen turkeys crossing the highway near the next wildlife area parking lot. I went into scramble mode, and decided that once these birds crossed the road, I would make a play on them. Driving towards the crossing site, I looked down by the river and saw turkeys feeding in a picnic area right next to where I had parked. Now I had two groups of turkeys spotted, and I was now having to decide which group to go after, or head back to town.

    I was driving on a main highway, but only going about 40 miles per hour, and had decided to go after the picnic birds, which would require a u-turn. Preparing to turn left, into the wildlife parking area to make my u-turn, I started my turn, only to have an undetected by me car in passing mode nearly hit me as I crossed the center line to make my turn. The speed limit on the highway is posted as 60, and it seemed to me that this car was traveling WAY over this limit. He missed me by feet (inches???), and zoomed by. Carrying on south, he jerked his car back into the southbound lane, and over-steered putting his passenger side tires over the edge of the highway, steadied the car, and proceeded down the highway. I pulled over to the shoulder of the road, and found that I was sweating like it was a July afternoon in Kansas.

    Thankful to have not being in a horrible car wreck, I did make a try for the picnic area birds. My plans were foiled by a car pulling into the parking lot and flushing the birds before I was able to get into position to cover their escape route. In retrospect, had I had a shotgun, I believe my fall turkey season would be finished as I had fleeing birds in range. Just not archery range.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  7. #307

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    My suburban turkeys are facing a changing environment with a large area of trees/shrubs adjacent to the highway have now been bulldozed over.

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    The bearded hen has successfully raised over a dozen turkeys over the last two years.


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    The boy group was cruising a hayfield for an evening meal.


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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. #308

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    Arriving at the highway turnout and pulling on my breathable waders (I sometimes have small streams to cross at this public wildlife area, but really I wear them for reducing poison ivy exposure), I was dazzled by the stars shining in the new-moon heavens. A meteor went flashing across the northern sky and I started to pay attention, looking for more. A second and third one near the same part of the sky flashed along. Since Google is my friend, I looked it up, and found that remnants of the 1986 passing of Halley's Comet was anticipated to give up to 20 meteors an hour, and the best time to be watching for them was 10/21 nearing dawn........SCORE!!

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-w...ow-before-dawn
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  9. #309
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Augusta, KS
    Posts
    1,574

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    Quote Originally Posted by kansasdad View Post
    Arriving at the highway turnout and pulling on my breathable waders (I sometimes have small streams to cross at this public wildlife area, but really I wear them for reducing poison ivy exposure), I was dazzled by the stars shining in the new-moon heavens. A meteor went flashing across the northern sky and I started to pay attention, looking for more. A second and third one near the same part of the sky flashed along. Since Google is my friend, I looked it up, and found that remnants of the 1986 passing of Halley's Comet was anticipated to give up to 20 meteors an hour, and the best time to be watching for them was 10/21 nearing dawn........SCORE!!

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-w...ow-before-dawn
    There is a meteor shower now as well. Best wishes on your season

  10. #310

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    Descending the steep bank to the dry watercourse, I moved quickly as the 20 mile per hour breeze would cover a battalion of hunters moving through the crunchy leaves. I wanted to set up on a harvested soybean field in anticipation that sometime that morning, the local flock of birds would be out scratching the detritus for breakfast.

    Low fast moving clouds hid, then revealed Venus off to the east.

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    No turkey noises were heard in the brightening dawn. Kansas Dept Wildlife and Parks traditionally does not harvest the periphery of crop fields such as corn or soybeans, so I was tucked back into the treeline looking out at standing soybeans, and then the harvested beanfield just beyond the 10 yard offering to the wildlife. The light of the early morning seemed to be multiplied by the whiteness of the soybean debris.

    Deer and turkey legal shooting time is one half hour before sunrise. Nothing was stirring until well after sunrise, and I was fighting Mr Sandman. Gentle clucking alerted me to the flocks presence behind me. They started to filter out into the field, and I quickly saw that these were young of the year birds. My plan this fall was to wait for a tom, but I also had hoped to get my first harvest with my crossbow. My resolve to hold out for a tom evaporated. I turned my body to the left, and an alerted momma hen gave the "gather up" call. I put the bow up and focused on the bird furthest into the beanfield.

    My story is, and I'm sticking to it, is that I did not jerk the trigger, and I had a very steady scope picture, so how I grazed this young birds neck with my crossbolt is a mystery. I could tell he had been hit, with feathers askew, and I thought I saw dripping blood from his neck as he staggered, but I didn't trust that the wound was a fatal one, so I picked up my 12 gauge and sealed the birds fate.

    Tagging completed, and photos taken, I went about trying to locate my crossbolt. I knew that the bird had staggered for multiple steps before the #5 shot finished it, and I could see in the soybean stems where he had flopped, and died. I lined myself up from the presumed arrow contact and shot origination, and started to look, expecting to see the black glossy shaft with orange and white vains in short order. The first shot was taken with the bird 45 yards away, and the 12 gauge a little closer. The far end of the cut beans was another 45 yards beyond the impact zones, and I couldn't imagine that the bolt would have traveled that far.

    Minutes turned into dozens of minutes as I walked imagined flight paths, sometimes gently kicking at the leavings on the field, as sometimes it was several inches deep. I kept returning to the start of the blood trail and the arrow strike location, and finally found a few yards further east several feathers with cut ends. With the correct start for the bolt search, and placing the bow at the impact site with it pointing in the flight path, I again moved methodically across the field, through the uncut beans on the opposite side of the field, and entered into the woods. 25 yards into the woods I finally saw the bright orange vains and yellow knock laying against a tree. I walked it off from the shot origination, to where I found the bolt.......125 yards!

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    Putting this tasty bird in the batwing of my pack, I headed back to town.

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    Heeding JRYoung and Hand Shaw's entreaties to save the skin, I plucked the bird clean, including his neck. I was trying to do determine if the neck wound would would have been lethal. It turns out that the shotgun was a good idea.
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    Last edited by kansasdad; 10-21-2017 at 08:46 PM.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  11. #311
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    sourthern wis.
    Posts
    178

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    Congrats , and thanks for the cool story !!

  12. #312

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    We are headed for Kansas in the morning with archery deer and turkey tags in hand !! Four of us have a couple cabins secured, lined up two farms, and drew special hunt permits on a NWR. Looking forward to a couple weeks of fun !!

  13. #313

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    Fall turkey hunters like seeing sign such as this scratched soybean field.


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    My fall turkey taken off this same field had fresh volunteer soybean leaves, along with a few soybeans and assorted seedheads in his crop and gizzard.
    Last edited by kansasdad; 10-30-2017 at 08:49 PM.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  14. #314

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    I'm still digging this thread! Thanks for the update and congrats on the bird.

  15. #315

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    "My" suburban turkeys are very well used to vehicular traffic and human presence. These older "young of the year" birds were huddled up next to Central Avenue (site of post #271 of this thread and the story of the dead turkey in the road). When I saw them standing there, I reached for my camera to capture this juxtaposition of wild and suburban only to find that I did not have my camera in the car.

    I carried on the two miles to the office, ran inside to grab the camera and went back to capture a photo or two.


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    When the NWTF contemplated bringing turkeys back to Kansas, folks who "knew" turkeys laughed to think that swamp dwelling forest birds could make it in Kansas climate and terrain. The first transplants were Rio Grande subspecies and placed in riparian habitat, where they were soon flourishing. Over time, Eastern subspecies have expanded their territories from Missouri and points north south and east.

    Those early transplant naysayers would be floored to see "my" suburban flock living and thriving so close to human presence. Well subscribe game management, and the precocious fertility of Kansas and turkeys have given us the bounty found today over the vast majority of Kansas.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  16. #316

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    Braving near hurricane force winds (it's Kansas!) I stopped short of the edge of the harvested soybean field. This was the field that I killed my free range thanksgiving bird weeks earlier. I put my binoculars back in the chest pouch and took one step forward.


    It never gets old, and it never gets easier. A dozen fat quail bursting up from the CRP two yards in front of you will double the heart rate instantly. And I laughed out loud at myself, when the lone straggler took off startling me all over again when I had recovered enough to take the next step. Silly quail.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  17. #317

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    We had a great time in Kansas earlier this month. We saw some truly monster bucks !! I took a great 9 point and one of my buddies took his best buck ever - a very wide 8 point. We also took several does for the freezer and to keep the landowner happy. The local folks were friendly and helpful. The owner of a small diner gave me his cell number, and told us to call him even if his place was closed and we needed a meal !!!

  18. #318

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    Quote Originally Posted by kansasdad View Post
    Braving near hurricane force winds (it's Kansas!) I stopped short of the edge of the harvested soybean field. This was the field that I killed my free range thanksgiving bird weeks earlier. I put my binoculars back in the chest pouch and took one step forward.


    It never gets old, and it never gets easier. A dozen fat quail bursting up from the CRP two yards in front of you will double the heart rate instantly. And I laughed out loud at myself, when the lone straggler took off startling me all over again when I had recovered enough to take the next step. Silly quail.
    Yes they will!! I sorely wish we had more of them around here to scare me so.

  19. #319

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    Cognitively I know there are lots of whitetail running around Kansas. I just can't find them when I have a bow or firearm with me.

    Here deer deer deer. Show yourselves to ol' kansasdad!

    PS: where are your turkey friends hiding too?
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  20. #320

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    One of the first orders of business upon descending from the roost is to do a little preening/grooming. Preferably out of the wind, and in the sun to warm up a tad.


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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. #321

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    "who cooks for you?....who cooks for you allllll???

    The barred owl call is the one that I will use to try and elicit a gobble before flydown or after flyup if I'm scouting for the next day.


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    First full moon (and a "super moon") of 2018


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    Last edited by kansasdad; 01-05-2018 at 09:52 PM.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  22. #322

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    Kansas weather saying........if you don't care for the weather, just wait 15 minutes. High temp of 58 today, 69 predicted for Valentines Day, and then on the weekend freezing rain with sleet.

    This weather coupled with increasing daylight helped me get my first gobbles of 2018 this morning. Most of "my" suburban turkeys were found around the feeder station shortly after flydown. Another group of four toms and a mature hen were heading out from the lake roost heading towards the horse pasture for breakfast. As I pulled up to where the two lagging toms were strutting, the closest one thrust his head downward and forward in the unmistakable posture of a gobble. I turned Golic and Wingo off from the radio, rolled down the windows, and said in a bit of a sing song voice...." how's it going this morning boys?" and was rewarded with a double gobble from both toms.

    Daylight coming back, birds gobbling, spring is just around the corner.....unless you wait 15 minutes.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  23. #323

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    We had too much fun last spring in NE Kansas. This year we are hunting western Nebraska for the first 3 days of their season, driving back to NE Kansas on 4/17, and hunting the first 3 days of that season. Can't wait !!!!

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