It's been an up and down turkey season here in Wyoming. I hope your season hasn't been as bumpy or windy. The latest burr to get under my saddle was yesterday when Katelyn and I awoke to 40-plus mph winds and driving rain that quickly turned to snow. I didn't want to subject her to a less than inviting turkey hunt so we put our outing on hold for a future, sunny day.
Cole and I hit it hard last week and finally found some turkey success. He had once again impressed Sharon and me with his outstanding grades so I offered him the option of a midweek hunt instead of trying to fit a hunt between weekend track meets, Boy Scouts and 4-H. We found one window of opportunity between massive weather fronts so I snuck out and set up a blind near a roost for an early morning encounter.
The next morning the front had hit early and using my binocular against the pre-dawn sky I could see the turkeys rocking on the wind-blown limbs like a seasick Disney cruise passenger grasping the rail of a storm-stricken ship.
How turkeys hang on in screaming winds is one of nature's greatest mysteries.
At sunrise turkeys started dropping from the giant cottonwood like acorns falling from a mighty oak. Unfortunately the gobblers all pitched out the other side. Only the hens and jakes hit the ground near our decoy and calls.
Finding themselves alone on the other side of the grove, three mature toms raced to the side where we hid in the blind. In fact they raced so fast they were within 10 yards before Cole could even aim. When he did fire three toms raced off. They were so close, possibly too close, his aim missed.
He was bummed, but I watched the turkeys amble off with no real fear and I told him we'd try and get in front of them for another attempt. For the next several hours we crawled, we hiked and we called, but the turkeys were in a group of 20 and in no need of more company. Finally we caught the group in a small draw and they perked to our aggressive, pleading calls. Just as I thought the magic was about to happen a group of steers raced in between us and the turkeys to disrupt our conversation.
Cole wanted to get back to school by noon so we only had time for one more setup. Circling around we popped up out of a draw only to find the whole group staring us in the face. They had been circling simultaneously with us.
One mature tom moved to the right of the flock and Cole didn't wait. He dropped the bird at a distance of 35 yards with his TC Encore.
We couldn't have ended the hunt any better or sooner. Within minutes of getting back to the truck a massive front hit the region with winds exceeding 50 mph. Luckily we had just bagged the blind or some of you living south of me might have found a free ground blind late last week.