Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Redneck Dove Shoot!

I drove out to the duck camp with the boys and Chrissy.  The plan was to spend the night at the cabin, check on water levels and let the boys run around shooting their BB guns and just be boys.  As I was unloading the car I couldn't help but notice the almost continuous flight of Starlings.  The Starlings where trading between the cattail sloughs and a cut corn field.  Their flight path was taking the majority of the birds directly over the cabin. 

Since Starlings aren't a protected bird in MN I loaded up the Browning with #8 game load and "got after em".  The wind was blowing about 25 mph so it made for some fun and challenging shooting.  This was my redneck Argentina dove hunt! When the smoke finally cleared we had laid down 25 Starling and 1 Pigeon.  Oshie did a hell of a job retrieving all of the downed birds.  It made for a fun afternoon.

The water level is looking good for this fall.  The water level is down from last fall which is a good thing.  There is a ton of breeding geese pairs on the property which should lead to a great early season shoot.  Things are already looking up for the fall.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lil' Momma...Dropped the Hammer

Shana and I headed down to Cole County, MO last weekend to hunt with our good friend Seth Trinklein on some of his properties. Shana has been out turkey hunting a couple times in past and even though we've been close, we haven't closed the deal yet. 

Seth had been scouting birds most of the week and had a group of four hens, four jakes, and big tom patterned. They had been crossing a creek into a cut corn field every morning he'd been scouting, so that was going to be our jumping off point for the morning hunt. 

We arrived at the farm early and packed in two blinds to the area Seth thought the birds were crossing the creek; we'd later realize he'd done too good of job scouting and we literally setup on the path the birds were using.

Within minutes of getting settled in the blinds our tom fired up gobbling on the roost and he continued  his shenanigans until well after 7:30am, before pitching down. He probably gobbled close to 100 times on the roost, which was awesome to listen to. In the mean time we were kept entertained by a coyote, several hens; two of which pitched from across the creek right over our blinds into the decoys and other various wildlife. Around 8am Shana laid her head down to take a little break and within minutes we heard a "putt" directly across the creek behind us. I heard the birds walking in the creek water and I told Shana to get the gun up "now". As soon as she had the Nelli shoulder I saw the first red head pop up out of the creek about 4 yards to our left and he was followed in short order by three more jakes between 4-7 yards away. Because we were so close to their crossing path we think they got a little spooked about the decoys being right in their face when they topped the creek bank. The birds where acting a little nervous and started angling out around the decoys in a bunched up group. I could tell Shana was getting pretty wound up because her breathing had changed significantly and I could see the gun barrel doing little circles as she tracked the group. Shana did an awesome job staying on the birds and not taking an unethical shot when they were bunched up together. At what I thought was about 35yrds out Seth and my hen calls finally got one of the little buggers to stop and look the decoys over and Shana capitalized on his mistake. In short order she fired off a shot and the jake took a load of lead to the face and chest; rolling him over in a hurry!!! 

Both of the blinds exploded with excitement, high fives, and war cries as Seth and I bailed out to make sure the bird was down for good; which he was. After we calmed down a bit Seth ranged the blinds and we were standing 46.5 yards away. Not only did Shana lay the wood to here first turkey, but she did it at almost 50 yards!

After some hero photos we packed up and headed back to the Trinklein's house to clean up and get ready for an all day fish fry. I got back on the horse and cleaned the bird (with boots on this time) and I'm pleased to announce no bodily injury was inflicted. 

Seth and I headed out on Sunday morning for a while and saw a lot of action right off the bat, but the birds worked off towards the middle of big field. Shortly after 8am some severe storms rolled in and once the lightening started we called it quits. Regardless we had accomplished what we set out to do...get Shana on her first turkey. I can't thank the Trinklein's enough for inviting us out to hunt...it's a weekend neither of us will soon forget!

I'm headed back down to hunt with Seth this weekend and hopefully fill at least one of my MO tags...although Shana's bird was more than enough to make this an awesome spring turkey season!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tagged out in Missouri!!

Tag #2 was unfilled and it was burning a hole in pocket, so it was time for a decision. Head to the Oak Grove farm and kill the bird that gave Pete and I the slip the previous weekend or head to Appleton City and hunt my families farms where Pete and I have killed a ton of birds over the years. As much as I wanted to kill that Oak Grove bird my gut was telling me to head South, so that's exactly what I did.

Knowing my neighbor Randy was going to be hunting on public land I decided to give him the invite. It's always more fun having a killing mate along! We woke up bright and early and made the hour and a half trip south. We headed straight for the Yellow Barn farm which has always been a little honey-hole for Pete and I.

The game plan was to wait for some gobbling and head that way to set up and like clock work the gobbling started immediately off to the west. Our first set up was a bust and we couldn't get the birds to work right off the roost, which is pretty typical for this set up. The birds were heading straight for the killing hole like they always do, but it's impossible to setup on with their roost trees so close. It's an inside corner of a big field, but Pete and I have killed a lot of birds within 40 yards of this spot about an hour after fly down.

As we put our sneak attack on and got closer I glassed the three birds and realized that all three were jakes. We snuck up into position and I told my neighbor Randy that I really didn't want to shoot a jake, but I gave him the green light to unload. Randy put his stealth mode on and let the Mossberg eat! I watched the bird kind of drop and walk off. We checked out the area, but the shot wasn't lethal and after a thorough search we had to move on.

Randy was pretty bummed out but I told him we had several spots to try and lots of birds to work so keep your head up. We ended up setting up on 3 different birds, but for whatever reason just couldn't bring them in. I guess my smooth talking wasn't so smooth!!

With Missouri having a 1:00p.m. closing time I knew time was running out so I decided we needed to check one more spot for birds. We rolled up and I quickly saw 2 long beards hanging out right next to the creek bank and we immediately took off after them. After the 1/4 mile sneak through the creek we crawled up the 15' creek bank. Randy and I went back and forth on when he could see the birds and when I could and we quickly realized that there was just too much brush in the way for us both to shoot together. Since Randy had the first shot of the day I was up to bat. I took aim at the closest bird and cut loose. Ol' bird dropped like a rock. The second bird ran and stopped long enough for Randy to get a shot off but at 48 yards I think it was just a touch out of range for his short barreled turkey gun and it was a swing and a miss!

Weight:  23 Pounds
Beard:   9.5"
Spurs:   1"

After my celebration I get a text from Pete that his Lil' Momma got a kill of her own...the story will be coming soon.

With Big Pete still having two unfilled MO tags left it's time to concentrate on him getting on a Missouri bird or two. Let's get it done brother!!

I have to give another big shout out to Scott Ashburn of Scott's Custom Turkey Calls! These calls are all custom and are top notch and sound awesome!

Phone:   816-572-1927