Monday, April 30, 2012

Tagged out in Kansas

Rob and Lisa headed into Nick's place Wednesday night 4/11/12 after Greg and I headed back to Missouri from our successful first day. They were seeing a ton of birds still and Lisa and Nick had both tagged out before I got back to Topeka on Friday evening. 

Saturday 4/14/12 found Nick and I set up on several birds they'd scouted the day before. The birds were there, but didn't cooperate and quickly went the wrong direction with their hens. We worked several birds throughout the afternoon and got real close to two toms, but we couldn't close the deal. So over lunch we decided to setup in the same field we started the day in a try and catch up with the toms coming back to roost. We had a major front scheduled to arrive in the early evening, so Nick and I hauled in the blind and were in place at 3:30pm. The weather change was quick and before long we were sitting in a constant drizzle and very windy conditions. With zero sign of the turkeys returning to roost we climbed out of the blind around 7:15pm to check the field behind our setup. Sure enough there was a hen with a strutter in tow working the field edge. I went into sneak mode and started trying to close in on them. The hen picked me off early and bugged out, but the tom kept strutting and working towards where the hen entered the treeline at the opposite end of the field. I covered as much real estate as I could before running out of cover, but the tom was still a good ways out. I shouldered the 20 gauge and got the tom in the scope and cracked off my shot. The bird rolled and then regained his footing and flew away over the trees never to be seen again. 

We had some wicked storms roll through over night and the turkeys weren't cooperating Sunday morning. Nick and I had several hens and geese work through our spread in the morning, but no toms showed themselves. After a couple hours we decided to take the fight to them. Around 9:30am we got a text that Rob had just tagged out on two jakes with one shot, so we met up with them to celebrate and say our good-byes. 

After Rob and Lisa took off Nick and I decided to make one more pass through the Corp ground. We eased up on the field I hunted Wednesday morning and there were nine birds strutting with several hens about 3/4 of a mile off the road. We devised a game plan and headed down the west treeline. After about 20 minutes we'd got within 100 yards of the group, but the two biggest toms had worked the other way with some hens, so we were left with 7 jakes and a couple hens to work with. I told Nick that we'd come this far, so if I could sneak up the rest of the way I was going to kill one of them. Nick stayed put and I bailed off into the creek so I could cover more ground quicker than in the timber. I quickly made it to the spot I thought the birds would be and eased up out of the creek. The birds were about 40 yards away directly in front of me and right on the edge of the timber and field. I could have easily killed one then, but with the high winds I decided to push my luck and continued to close in on them. I got to 20yrds and the birds were still on the edge so I pushed my luck a little more and continued to inch forward. At about 7 yards I called it good and eased up to the back of a tree. Nick was calling to the birds and the biggest jake was in full strut right in front of me. After a couple seconds of watching the close range show I flipped the safety off and dished the strutter up a face full of lead! It was probably one of my best sneaks ever and having Nick watch the show just made it sweeter! In 5 days of hunting Kansas we had filled 9 out of 10 tags...all on public ground! I can't wait for the 2013 season!

Unfortunately I had a serious error in judgement when I returned home that afternoon and ended up cutting myself pretty badly while cleaning my bird. I was sitting on a cooler in the garage with the bird between my feet while wearing flip-flops. One slip of the knife, a trip to the ER, and 12 stitches in my left big toe later...I was going to be missing my first Missouri Turkey opener in 13years!

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