Black Hills Spring Turkey Season
The day started with Nine inches of Fresh snow on the ground as John from IL. and I headed to an area that I had been working three day earlier. But, wouldn't you know it, the turkeys were just not up to gobbling their head off this morning. So we stomped through the snow in hopes of a tom turkey. But I did not know if we chasing turkeys or Elk. Because due to the fresh snow the elk track were every where. But no turkey track. Finally we decided to drive the roads and look for tracks. The roads were not really great for traveling. At times, I was pushing snow up to my bumper.
Along our travels, we finally found some track. Due to my knowledge of the area, I parked the truck and tried a old elk trick. Walk em Down. I estimated the track to be about a hour old, so the idea showed promise. A hour later and a couple miles uphill, we reached the top and caught our first sighing of turkeys. Due to the melting snow in the trees and the wind the turkey did not hear us. We played peek-A-Boo with them for a half mile. At this point, I decided to sit down and call a couple of times, Plus to rest up a little. Then we took up the trail again with my hunter in the lead. Just as we started to round a rock outcrop my hunter spotted a hen, then another, finally a great big red head with a beard. Bang. But remember the climb I talk about, The turkey started to flip down and down the hill. What a rodeo that was trying to catch up with the tumbling turkey. What a hunt to remember.
This hunt started out a logistics nightmare and ended with Three great friends. The reason for the logistics problem was a double booking gone bad. NEVER AGAIN All my help cancel at the last moment. But, I was determined to make the hunt work for all of us. So I took All three hunting, Rex and Belinda from Arkansas and Their friend Bob from Florida. But, The story get better, The original plan had me hunting with Rex and Belinda and my help with Bob. Not a bad plan, but I had a additional area to contend with. Belinda needed terrain that was flat and very little walking, due to a medical problem. If you have hunted turkey in the Black Hills, you know there are very few area to hunt like this. So I pull one of my aces out my sleeve and selected one of my private ranches for the hunt.
Day one Belinda's turkey- The morning started at 4:00 with a hour drive to the ranch. upon arriving we started to gather our gear. I thought at this point, I should see if the turkey were around. So I let out a owl hoot. Ten gobblers answered. At this point I let Rex and Bob, now that those were Belinda's turkeys to chase and they would have to go to the other end of the ranch. We then proceeded too our respected areas. Belinda and me to the closer area, with Rex and Bob in two other directions.
As Belinda and I slowly walked to the area, I knew we did not have enough time to climb the hill before daylight. So I select a tree half way up the hill to sit. As the sun started to rise the turkey went crazy. I did a couple call and left it at that. The bird began to come down behind a hill out in front of us. Once they were on the bottom I call some more. They started to feed toward us. One by one they fed out in the small area below us. But the tom stay back. Then the turkey seem to rush back the way the came. a short time later they fed back again. They did this parade three times, before they crossed above us out of shooting range. After the last one had left, I decided to go to the top and set up.
At The top, I got two gobblers going one too the south and one too the North. I just poured it on, I knew one would commit. sure enough the one to the north started to make his way up the hill. Belinda was rock solid and never moved. I started to coach her on what to expect as he was coming. The gobbles grew louder and louder. "Get ready", I told her. "Do you see that spot where the sun and the shadow meet in front of us. If he gets to that spot he is in range." She nodded. Then the turkey came into view in full strut. what a sight. I don't know who was more excited her or me. I call a little more, He double gobbled. Oh No!!! he going right. Ok Belinda, we are going to have to move when he get behind that tree. Ready, MOVE. Wow that was close. Ok. when he hit that opening you can take him. Ready Ready, Take Him Bang. I shot to my feet, running down the hill. She had a great shot. but he was starting to tumble toward the edge of the hill. I leap forward in a dive and grab him just before he went over. Now came congratulation. This was Belinda's first turkey ever, Thanks for letting me share in the excitement. Rex and Bob had some action, but not as good as ours. We were done by 6:45
Day two - found Bob and myself hunting in the fog. We found the birds, but they would not work for us from the roost. So we changed locations, the new location proved a good choice. we were able to get two gobblers worked up a 1/2 mile away. So I put Bob out in front about 50 yards and work the birds for about an hour, Finally they committed. They move closer and closer. Double gobbling to every call. Then they seem to start to skirt to the right, out of instinct bob moved for a better angle. It seem the plan was working, then they doubled back and came up the hill right between Bob and me. I had a great view of the birds but Bob was just over the hill out of sight. So we let the bird move away and started another plan. The whole time we were fighting Light rain and fog. By the end of the Day I felt like Nemo swimming in the Sea, every thing was wet even my water proof Box call.
Day three - Was high winds, heavy rain and Fog. All we could do was set up close to a known roost and hope the heard my call. Sure enough, about a half hour later 15 bird paraded by Bob at 25 to 30 yards. No gobbler in the flock, just Jakes and hens. After they moved by, we moved to another set up and called again. I got a couple half gobbles and a short time later the birds came to investigate. We only saw a hen, the gobbler never showed. Some pretty good action over the three day consider the weather and the rough start. Thank for letting me share in your hunts.
Rex's Comment in an email
after the hunt "You did a great job of helping Belinda get her Merriam. She now says she is going
for the Grand Slam. " We appreciate the professional way that you handled everything.
The place we hunted the first day was loaded with turkeys. The
" We appreciate the professional way that you handled everything.
The place we hunted the first day was loaded with turkeys. The
We appreciate the professional way that you handled everything.
The place we hunted the first day was loaded with turkeys. The
Best wishes for a great 2005!
Day One - Started out Blue bird, not a cloud in the sky. Tom& Misty from AL. & Myself worked several birds, but could not connect. At one time we saw Seven different gobblers fanning and showing off; none would commit to our call or leave the hens.
Day Two - found us set up early at a known roost area. The gobblers were going crazy, I new some one would connect this morning. The plan had Tom down the hill and Misty and myself half way up the hill. At fly down the worked up gobblers started to make their way to Tom's location. Then the hen's flew down. No bird for Tom. However, the action still continued for Misty and me. We had a gobbler start to show interest behind us. So we moved to a new location even higher on the ridge, expecting him to use a small drainage for his accent. But, just like most turkeys he changed his mind. His new path put him, where we had just been. So we moved again to a rock ridge between the gobbler and us. From our new location we had the gobbler spotted. He strutted and gobbled in one spot for two minutes. Tom must have heard our bird too, because he started to call again. The gobbler started to move in his direction. I poured on the calling changing his direction toward us. while I waited for the gobbler to come into range. Tom started to call again. Again he change direction back to Tom. I call again he changed directions. the bird look like one of those carnival game where the object change direction all the time. This game happened five times, Finally the bird committed to us and Bang.
Day Three - was a Saturday, So I decided to find some private ground to hunt. What a morning, we were in Birds all morning with no luck until I spotted a Gobbler strutting on a ridge. Tom and I sneaked down to the bottom of the hill and set up. We worked the bird for about a half an hour and Bang. Congratulation to Tom and Misty, Thanks for letting me share in the hunts.
Misty's Comment in an email after the hunt- Tom and I had a GREAT time!!! We are looking forward to next year, we already have 5 that want to come next year including Tom and I and maybe 1 more.
Well stay in touch, tell your family we said hello !!!!
This hunt was a Semi-guided hunt for David & Mark of CO. The night before the hunt while I was showing them the areas, we located some birds. The next morning they were back, but The birds would not play nice. The second day also found them in birds, but No Luck. That Turkey hunting, some time it work and some times it does not. Thanks for hunting with The Gman
Day One - was raining, Snowing and High wind. Tom & Bruce from AL. and Myself found several birds over the course of the day but could not get any to work with us.
Day Two - started early with us set up on a lone bird gobbling his head off. Tom and Bruce were spread out in front of me about 75 yards and 100 yards apart. Their was not place that gobbler could go except to one of them. At Fly down the gobbler show us other wise. He sailed clear across the area and landed a half mile behind me next to some other bird. The morning was just getting started, so we move to another location and found some bird in a field. They were move out the other side. However, I new where they were going. We drove to the other side and climb a small hill that turn big on us. At the top we found a place to set up. I started to call and six gobbler gobbled back. we worked the bird for about an hour before one decided he needed to check us out. his bad and Bruce's opportunity. Great Job Bruce. We did not find another bird for Tom on this hunt.
What a hunt, for three days I was granted the opportunity to associated with six outstanding individuals from various Outdoor professional back grounds. The group consisted of Lee Harstad - SD Department Of Tourism, David Draper - Cabela's Sidney Store, John Taranto - Outdoor Life Magazine, And M.D. & Julie Johnson - M &J Outdoor Communications(Outdoor free-lance writer). Each had come to the Black Hills of South Dakota in pursuit of the elusive Merriam Turkey.
Our base camp was the elegant Franklin Hotel in Deadwood and nightly entertainment from the local casinos along Historic Main Street. Now for the rest of the story. The first afternoon consisted of all of us uniting and scouting for turkeys to chase the next morning. During the scouting we were able to locate two different flock. So the plan for the next morning put Julie, M.D. and John on one Flock, while Lee, David and myself on the other.
Day One - We woke to wind and light rain for the hunt. However, this does not bother our bird a bit. they continued to be vocal, with One being just a little to vocal for M.D.. Meanwhile, my group managed to call in the flock with the tom playing pee-a-boo with Lee around a juniper bush. We Did not get that bird. We check a lot of different area over the course of the day with no luck. At dinner that evening. It was decide that I would go with Julie, M.D. and John the next morning, while Lee and David hunt another area.
Day Two - Our next morning was not much better. High Gust of wind that carried Horizontal Snow made the day really interesting. Not a Peep could be heard in the wind. So we moved closer to Hill City, which converted the snow to just light rain and wind. Still no Birds. I parted company with the group in the late afternoon. Julie harvest a bird on the next days hunt.
Turkey hunting is hunting not getting and good friend can always find a great time even in bad weather. Thank for the opportunity to share in your hunts, I hope we can do it again.
M.D. Comment in an email after the hunt-
Many, many thanks to you for all your help. The Black Hills are always a great experience, and this time was just exceptional!
Let us know if there's anything we can help with. We've sold the story of the Grand Slam to Turkey Call, and we'll certainly get all your information in there. Hopefully it will drive some business your way. Door's always open here - just holler -
M.D. and Julie
A group Six hunters from IL. used my Semi-Guided package. The first evening while check out The areas they had opportunities at Three birds and harvested one in the first three hours of hunting. The Second day the group harvest another bird, but the next three day they could not close the deal for the remainder of their birds. Each Day produced birds in the hunting areas but no takers. Thanks for hunting with the Gman
Rick from WI. used my Semi-Guided package. The first day he found several bird, but no takers. the second day he hiked a little further in a struck up a bird that came in just like you want them. The hunt was done two quick. Thanks for hunting with the Gman
Rich from CO. and his partner Richie from PA. used my Semi-Guided package. The first day they harvested one bird and Day Two they finished up. Again too quick of a hunt. However, they had to hike quite a few mile to harvest their birds. Congratulation to Rich and Richie.
Rich's Bird Richie's Bird
Rich's Comment in an email after the hunt- Thanks G-Man for everything. We had a great trip!....Rich
Day One - Opening day started early for Brett, His sister, Vicki and myself. The plan for the day consisted of Brett hunting one area to the north, while Vicki and I hunted to the south. The winds were gusting and the sun was a shining. both group got into turkey but could not close the deal. in the evening both groups roosted bird for the next days hunt.
Day Two - found Vicki and Myself walking in the dark toward the area we had roosted a bird the night before. As we slipped into the area, a vehicle drove by on a distant road. This simple sound provoked a gobble from our bird. Got Ya located. I located a small opening below the roosting area to set up in. We got setup and I proceeded to let out some light Tree Yelps. He gobbled like crazy. So I Clamed up. As the sun started to rise the tree came to life with turkey calls all around us. I had guessed right and we were in between the gobbler and his hens. Now the wait. The Gobbler was going crazy. double gobbling to every hen call. Fly down was near. The hen started to pitch out of the trees on the slope above us. One hen came so close to landing on us, I thing I could have reached up and touched her. All of the hens had landed 30 yard behind us. The tom was coming closer and closer! Now we could see the Fan, now the bird attached to it. The moment was near. Vicki was ready and steady. I just new her first bird was moment away. Then the hens started to walk to toward the tom. NO, NO I call softly hoping they would stay. Only ten more yard. Turkey one, hunters zero. Brett, found his birds thinking they needed to go the other way off the roost. We check several other areas during the day, No takers.
Day Three - We concentrated on one area with a lot of logging roads. We would setup for a hour at different spot while covering the area. At 11:00 a.m., we struck a interested tom. He would gobble, but would not come in. If we moved closer he would move further away. Finally, Brett maneuvered around on him while Vicki and I continued to call. Bang!! Dead bird for sure, Not the blast somehow missed the bird. NO BIRD TODAY!! Thanks for the great time Brett and Vicki.
|G-Man Outdoor Adventure operate under a Special Use Permit from US Forest Service.|