The first two giant toms! Lee shot these birds in the first 15 minutes of the hunt!
Last year I was blessed to get the opportunity to guide a Spring Turkey hunt on my family farm. The archery shop where I always buy my bows had lined up a turkey hunt, but then he had a conflict and had to find somebody to do the hunt for him. I was the first person he called, and without hesitation I said yes. After a few phone calls to Lee, who has now become a good friend, we had made plans. He would make the drive out from Pennsylvania to chase these wily Nebraska turkeys.
Lee made it to Nebraska safely and we met for the first time on the edge of a small town not 5 miles from where we would be hunting. From there Lee followed me down to our cabin where he would be staying for the next couple of days. After arriving at the cabin we got to know each other a little and talked a some about his drive, but that soon turned into hunting talk! Lee proceeded to ask many questions about what, where, and when we would be doing our turkey hunting. I could tell right away that Lee was an experienced hunter and seemed very knowledgable about not only hunting turkeys but whitetails too. I had been scouting the last few days and had a pretty good idea of what the birds were doing and where we would be hunting. Lee and I had talked it over and decided we should go ahead and get his hunt started that afternoon. I told him I would give him some time to settle in and then would be back to pick him up and we would start the hunt.
I headed back up to my parent’s farm to make sure I had the blind, in case we needed it, and my decoys ready. While preparing the last few things, my phone rang; it was Lee. Upon answering the phone Lee says, “well, we have a little problem”. I thought ‘oh no, what happened’. He proceeded to tell me he must have forgotten shotgun shells. I scrounged up some shells and, luckily, they were the kind he had patterned and new they shot well from his gun. With the new shells in hand, we proceeded to head down to where we would be hunting for the evening. After getting the decoys set out, I explained to Lee how the hens would be scattered along this field edge, more than likely sitting on nests, and with approximately an hour and a half of light left they would slip out onto the field to start to feed and head to roost. I’d watched a group of toms pop out on the field edge and strut just before the hens came out. It was like clock work, these toms would show up and then split up and wait for the hens. I told Lee with confidence that we should be in-between them and the route they take to get to roost. After explaining to him why we were setup where we were, I said “I’m going to give a soft yelp and see if anything answers.”
Much to our surprise, after just a couple of strikes on the slate call Lee says, “I heard a gobble!”. I let out another soft call and this time two birds gobbled. I decided to not call again and make them come look for us! Maybe two minutes later they gobbled again this time much closer! I peeked around Lee and saw red heads walking the field edge right to us! Three mature toms and two jakes read this particular script better than any turkey I had ever hunted. Lee eased his gun up and tried to pick apart these birds; they were all so close together that I knew the shot was going to be tough. As they started to work closer I told Lee, “take ’em when you can,” and KA POW went the gun. What a shock it was when two giant toms were laying dead on the field! Two birds went down in the first 15 minutes of hunting! We didn’t wait long to get out there and check these giant toms out! We snapped some pictures and snuck out of there. Since Nebraska allows hunters to kill 3 birds, Lee’s hunt was far from over. We drove back to my house where my wife took some better pictures for us. Lee had decided he wanted to get these birds mounted so that made my job a little bit easier not having to clean them. Luckily we had freezer space!!
Lee tagged out!! The third bird he shot had over a 10 inch beard!
We started off day two setting up just off of a well-known roost site and watched birds for about an hour just out of range! As we tried to slip out of there, we noticed some birds strutting in a field and decided this would be the place to set up for the afternoon. With some time to burn, we did a little traveling and I showed Lee some of the history in our area that included several stops on The Oregon Trail. Lee seemed to be very interested with the Indian raids and stories from The Oregon Trail. We weren’t ready to distract ourselves from the turkeys too much yet, because Lee had one more tag to fill! With full bellies from eating at the local bar, we headed down to the cabin for a little rest before we headed back out. By 3:00 we were setup on yet another field edge where we had seen a huge mature tom strutting earlier that morning. Trying to aggravate that tom, I set out a Dave Smith jake decoy and a Dave Smith upright hen. We were sitting there telling stories of our past hunts when, right during the middle of a wild story of a bear hunt, we were interrupted by a gobble. We worked with that tom for a little while before he stepped out onto the field. Within minutes that tom was strutting into our decoys, and before I knew it, that tom was on the ground flopping! Lee was tagged out in a total of 5 hours of hunting!! (It took him 22 hours to drive here one way!)
Buffalo tooth Lee and I found by the river looking for Indian artifacts.
This turned out to be one of the greatest turkey hunts I had ever been a part of! In the next couple of days, Lee got to experience looking for Indian artifacts, eating great food at the local bar everyday, and riding in the tractor while my brother planted corn. I made a lifelong friend on this hunt. Hopefully, in the future, I will get to spend some more time hunting with my good buddy, Lee!
Learning a little about the Midwest and the farm life.
Posted by huntertb in dave smith
, Oregon Trail
and tagged field edges
, Terron Bauer