Still no turkey

There are a few species of critter I’ve had a license for that I’ve never brought home. A turkey is one of those.

I’ve gone out after wild turkeys several times, but I have yet to bring one home. I had more than a few good opportunities on a hunt about four years ago, but something always went wrong at the crucial moment. This year, I hope to end up with a different outcome.

The closest I ever came to bringing down a turkey was on private land. Actually, I came close about four times on that trip. It was great, because the turkeys hadn’t been pressured very much by other hunters, and they didn’t go far when we rousted ‘em. At least, not at first. After I’d bungled several attempts at getting one, they started heading farther away, and they did it faster each time.

This year, I’ll probably find myself on public land in the Black Hills. I don’t want to bother the guy who owns the land I hunted a few years ago, because he’s had more than his share of rough luck lately. If you’re listening, Dan, you’re in my prayers. So I’ll be out there in the Black Hills, trying my luck with the rest of the public land hunters. That’s not too bad in Wyoming. We don’t have an awful lot of turkey hunters, so it doesn’t get too crowded back in the hills. You can always find a place you can have to yourself.

Once I find that secluded chunk of land, I’ll try to find some birds. I’ve been told the best way to find ‘em is to give a gobble and listen. If there are toms in the area, in the spring, they’ll usually answer back. I’ve also found that just about any other noise’ll get toms to gobble back at you. A coyote howl, a crow call, or even a slammed truck door can sometimes get ‘em to sound off.

After you get ‘em located, start hiking. Head for the place you heard the call. Beat feet pretty quickly, because they might be moving, too. And turkeys move awful fast. For safety’s sake, never put the sneak on a call. It could be another hunter. Know for sure it’s a turkey before you start creeping up on it.

Hopefully, this year’ll be the year I get it to come together. But even if it’s not, it’ll be good to just get out and go hunting this spring.