The Little Gal and I just got back again. Tonight it almost all worked out. We headed out in the afternoon and set up our decoys on the edge a meadow that we know is always full or turkeys. We found a big dead tree to sit behind and use for a blind. The Little Gal’s gun rested on the log, and I sat with my calls behind her. We made ourselves comfortable and prepared to for action.
Monthly Archives: April 2010
We got up this morning bright and early like usual. I had a rough time getting the Little Gal going and had to keep on her to get ready until we were out the door. We headed out in the dark to the property to hunt, and when we got close, we saw a van parked in the driveway. I thought “don’t tell me some poacher is in our spot!”. As we got closer, I saw that it was a white van, and it was stuck. I put the flat-bed in 4-low and pulled up the road around it and parked.
We jumped out and proceeded to grab our gear. We were already about 15 minutes behind schedule in order to be in position before sunrise. I put on my hunting vest and grabbed our guns. The Little Gal put hers over her shoulder, and as I was putting a shell in mine, I heard a little old lady say “I’m stuck down here, do you think you could help me? Now I tell you, I am a very kind-hearted person, but after the bird chase yesterday, and us being late with it being just before sunrise now, I really didn’t want to ruin our hunt. I explained to the lady that we were heading in to hunt and if she was there when we returned, I would gladly get her un-stuck. We locked the pick-up and headed through the gate.
Sure enough, all of a sudden, a tom flapped his wings and flew. The problem was he flew down to the meadow on the other side of the trees, away from us. We waited and watched as one by one all the turkeys took their leap and went down to the big meadow. We could hear the gobbling and clucking down there.
Once it was safe, we made our descent down the hill. We snuck through the trees stopping occasionally to see the turkeys through the openings between the trees. The toms strutted, and hens pecked at the ground. We snuck just to the edge of the trees, some 30 yards from the birds. I could see the toms cutting off to our left and heading back up the hill toward where we had just come from.
As we were easing forward to get a better view of the toms the hens turned. They were looking straight at us! The Little Gal and I stood there frozen in stride not making a move. We just couldn’t let them bust us now! We stood and waited motionless, and then the hens came to us. There were seven of them, and three of them were with in 25 feet of us!!! The looked a pecked. All the while, I could hear the lead hen calling as she headed up the hill in the same direction as the toms.
We just stood there, frozen. I had a cramp in my foot from the position I was locked in, and I know that the Little Gal had to be uncomfortable and cramping as well because the way she had stopped, her hip was in an awkward position. We remained petrified. Finally the last of the hens left in tow behind the rest of them. Up the hill they went, past the road, past the ditch and up onto the mesa.
We moved after we knew it was safe. Finally! Whew! We waited a while until we were positive they were gone and then headed up to see exactly where they went. We saw tracks headed up to the mesa. I counted 18 bird tracks~ 4 sets which appeared to be toms!
That was the end of our morning hunt for us today. We left and went and tried to help a sweet lady get unstuck. She was too deep, and we ended up lending her the phone to call a tow truck. I pulled out the coffee thermos and shared it with her while we waited for the tow truck to come. We chatted and shared stories for over an hour. It was a fun morning with a sweet adventure with up close & personal turkeys, and a new friend to top it off!
The turkeys are safe again!!!
I love so much learning new things when it comes to hunting. This spring, one of our clients suggested that I try a specific mouth reed for turkey calling. He recommended the “Lost Poult” from Cane Creek calls. I got on-line and found the reed. I also viewed a video which they have on their site about how to use it, as well as what it should sound like. I placed my order and awaited the arrival of my new call!
I practiced with my glass call, slate and box call in anticipation of the arrival of “The Reed”.
Finally the day arrived. I received “Lost Poult” in the mail. My husband watched as I held it up with a big smile and popped it in my mouth. He being experienced at calling with a reed, immediately began to laugh. I smiled and tried to blow…. kchhhhhlllllllccccchchhchhhhh. Nothing but static! I sounded like the suction tube at the dentist office. We laughed, and he warned me not to choke on it. I tried to catch my breath from laughing, and nearly did swallow the reed. Hmmm. I tried again. “ssschhhheeek” Oh no! I was definitely going to need practice at this thing! A few more squawks, out of me, and then my husband broke out his reed and showed me how it was done.
Now I had competition. Now I had to figure out that call!
Picture this. I drive an hour to and from work every day. That means I have plenty of spare time on my hands. I try not to text and drive. I try not to take photos while I drive. I also try to stay awake while I drive. I drive and I drive and I drive. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to practice my “Lost Poult” call! I loaded the YouTube video onto my black berry, and played the “Lost Poult” for inspiration. Then I proceeded to practice.
Well, I must tell you that I also had already been playing around with a reed for a coyote call. I found that one fairly easy to use. It wasn’t so technical to make a sound with the way that the turkey call was. One day while driving, I was admiring the gigantic prairie dogs that were popping up out of the snow. I gazed across the field and spotted a coyote sleeping in the field off to the right. I pulled over and decided to try out my skills. I popped my reed in and yelped a couple of times. The coyote raised its head. I then yelped like a pup, and the coyote got to its feet. It started to come to me. Knowing that my husband would NEVER belive me, I pulled out my trusty camera which I never leave at home. I took photos of it and I yelped and called as the traffic drove by until it finally was scared off by a big semi.
When I arrived at my destination, I called my husband and told him my story of calling in a coyote. I knew it. He didn’t belive me. That evening, I showed him my proof, and he smiled.
I see plenty of wild life on my daily trips to and from work. I see prairie dogs, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, deer, elk, and I also see none other than wild turkeys! Well, now that I had barked at a coyote, I needed to try my “Lost Poult” on a real live turkey.
One sunshiny spring afternoon, I was cruising along, driving and driving and driving. I saw out of the corner of my eye two turkeys. I quickly grabbed my reed, veered, pulled off the road, rolled down the window and grabbed my camera. I clucked at the hens and they ignored me. Hmm. I thought. I better try a shock. I bocked a loud call to them and got their attention. Then I purred. They purred back and headed toward me. Toward the highway with the passing vehicles. Woah. I decided that I was satisfied with that! I turned off my camera and put my reed away. I headed for home with a big grin on my face.
Upon arrival at the house, I pulled out my camera and showed my husband the pics of the hens. He said “no way”. I told him that I now know how to use my call. He asked me to show him. I grabbed my reed, bocked, purred and cackled as he watched with his eyes wide open!
The best way to learn a call…. Many hours of driving!
I had a conversation with a young hunter the other day that made me realize more than ever that we as hunters have our work cut out for us in teaching ethical hunting. The image of hunting can be portrayed as brutal, in-humane and unfair if you aren’t careful on how you hunt as well as how you tell your story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a hunter being excited or having fun with their hunt. It is how we relay the message and the purpose that we must consider, and we must teach this to our children.
I was involved in hunting at a very young age. Although I did not hunt myself until later in life, the sole purpose of the hunters I tagged along with was to feed their families. When I finally began hunting myself, I was a single mother, had a single income, and looked to put some food on the table. I took a hunters safety course and learned the safety of fire arms and hunting ethics. I also learned that there are a lot of people in our country that frown on hunting, and it is a privilege that should be cherished.
I already knew that wild game is healthier than any of the hormone grown meat you can purchase at the store. The wild game animal eats fresh vegetation and has more nutrients in its body than a farm raised animal. I grew up in an area near indian reservations, and at a young age I learned to respect mother nature and the animals. Each time I am fortunate enough to harvest an animal, I make sure to take the time to thank the animal, to thank God, and I am happy to put food on my family’s table.
We as hunters are the guardians and stewards of a long time tradition. There are many activists that would love nothing more than to be rid of us. We must take care in what we choose as ethical hunting. We are the conservationists who lead in supporting and maintaining wild life in our country. It is the money from our applications and purchase of hunting licenses that allow the division of wild life to perpetuate wildlife resources. Many non-hunters and anti-hunters get the privilege of hiking and seeing many animals just due to the fact that we purchase a license to hunt an animal.
Each day, remember to be an ambassador. Take pride in what the hunt and respect it.
“In a civilized and cultured country wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.”
1/2 C – diced onion
1 Tbsp – vegetable oil
1 tsp – dried thyme
1 tsp – dried rosemary
2 tsp – brown sugar
1/2 tsp – salt
1/4 tsp – pepper
2 tsp – Worcestershire
4 oz – crumbled blue cheese (optional)
2 pounds – ground elk or deer meat
Other items needed:
Hamburger buns, mayo, mustard, catsup, lettuce, tomato and any of fixin’s that are your favorite on a grilled hamburger.
In large skillet, add vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat. Add onions and saute. Set them aside to cool. (we puree the onions after sauteing them and add them as below so the kids don’t notice them).
In a large mixing bowl, add the egg, thyme, rosemary, brown sugar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire. Mix thoroughly. Add mixture to ground meat and mix until well blended. After mixture is well blended, add blue cheese if desired.
Mold burger into bun size patties, grill until cooked through. Serve hot!
For Christmas, we took my friend’s 83 year old grandfather hunting for his private land cow elk. Each year we think that it may be his last hunt because of his age and of course his health. This year was no different, but we succeeded in getting him out to hunt again. That experience was a gift for us.
“Christmas morning the thermometer reads -18 degrees. We headed out to search for elk for grandpa. We saw a spotted a small heard over a ridge. After a very short uphill hike, and a whole lot of huffing and puffing and stops to catch his breath, we got grandpa into position so he could get a shot. Unfortunately, his shot missed its mark. The hike was a lot for him. He just was not able to catch his breath to get steadied enough. We had worn him out. He was pretty upset at his miss, and quietly walked back down the hill to the pick-up. We headed home for Christmas dinner and put him under the electric blanket to rest.
Saturday morning, we were up early and convinced grandpa to head out again. That morning we were trying a new location to hunt for that cow elk. When we arrived it was -23 degrees! Grandpa was sore from the previous day. He told us he was worn out and he didn’t think he could do another hike like yesterday. We told him we would get him to a location that would be a little easier. We located some cows, but they were on the wrong side of the fence for that private land tag. Today the girls just were not co-operating. With the temperature being so cold, we could not set grandpa out to wait for them to come to the property, so we headed home. It was another unsuccessful day.
Our third and last day out, Sunday morning, we were up early and took grandpa for his “last chance” cow elk hunt. He would be leaving for home the next day so we had to get him on a cow elk for sure. That morning the temperature warmed up a little for us. It was -12 when we left the house! We went to the same piece of property we had been hunting the past two days. The same heard was still near, but of course, they were still on the wrong side of the fence. We desperately needed to get a change of plans going. Grandpa was getting very discouraged, and he was beating himself up for missing the first morning and for not being able to get around as good as he once could. We decided to try another piece of land where the owner had told us he had spotted a heard.
We headed toward the north with the temperature a balmy 4 degrees! The problem at this property we were heading to would be that we would not be able to just walk grandpa a short way. All the meadows were a ways out there with rolling hills in between. We towed our snowmobiles behind the pick-up and headed to get grandpa another chance at a cow! Once we arrived at the property, we loaded grandpa on back of the snowmobile and headed up the deep snow-covered valley. You really can not sneak up on the elk if you are on a snowmobile, so we had to try to get grandpa in as close as we could with out spooking the animals away.
We rode up to the top of a small ridge and peered over. Sure enough, there was a small heard of cow elk! The excitement began. We unloaded grandpa and he hiked down a little just to get him a straight shot. He sighted in on a nice cow. I saw him hesitate. He was worried about another miss. Then he took a deep breath. There was a shot and hit!!! Grandpa stood there, trembling with excitement. It was the GREATEST thing to see the smile on that man’s face! Hunts like grandpa’s are a lot of work but definitely rewarding. Not only to him, but to his guide!
Many of us take it for granted a lot of the hiking, hunting and climbing we do. If we want to stalk an animal, we just do it. What a challenge to get grandpa close enough to that cow elk. 83 years old, successful and happy as can be! Closing on the first season of the year, always remember to be thankful for everything you have, health, happiness and the ability to hunt!