I fell in love with spring turkey hunting in Montana 17 years ago. I was fascinated by how much hunting spring turkey hunting was a lot like elk hunting in September. It is definitely challenging, as it took me 17 years to bag my first bird. But, the day finally has come.
I couldn’t have asked for a more picture perfect hunt. Opening day of spring turkey last week, was full of excitement, but nothing to show for it. But, I wasn’t about to give up. For me, it isn’t harvesting the critter that I enjoy about hunting. It is having a reason to go outside and immerse myself in that critters habitat. So, I gave it another shot this morning. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations, as I was hunting public land that gets a lot of hunting pressure. When I arrived this morning, I didn’t hear a single gobble. In fact, the timber was silent. Besides the random quacks and honks from geese and ducks, I didn’t hear a single gobble. It got to the point where I thought my ears were playing tricks on me, when I thought I heard a faint gobble.
I spotted a small hen in the timber, and took that as a good sign that there was at least a member of that species on the hunting grounds. After covering just about every corner of the public land, slowly moving and listening, I ended up back where I started. That was when I spotted the bird. As I was about 100 yards inside the tree line from a large park, I could make out a turkey through the timber, but couldn’t tell what sex. I decided to drop my decoy pack and set up regardless. After setting up my decoys (one jake and 2 hens) I tucked back under a pine tree and gave my Montana made box call a “yelp.” Immediately the tom replied. He was about 300 yards out. I told myself “Okay! Shut Up and let him come in.” I put down the box call and inserted my mouth reed. After ranging a couple trees, to figure out my kill zone, the tom had already come within the tree line. As soon as he made eye contact with the decoys, he fanned out and began to strut. I again reminded myself “shut up.” The tom didn’t need anymore convincing. As he tried to do a wide circle and get in front of the decoys, exactly 41 yards, he let out a gobble. That was when the trigger was pulled. Tom turkey dropped in his tracks.
It is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I just hope this is a sign of what the 2016 hunting season as in store for me.
Happy Hunting – Kamp Cook