Since it was a few months ago, and spring turkey hunting is right around the corner, I guess I should update this post with my first fall turkey adventure.
"Fall" of course, is a relative term...the first week of September in Stevens County is summer, it was hot, hot, hot out! Day time temps were over 100, and that's a lot when you are fully decked in camo! Thankfully most the hunting was early morning and late afternoon, but it's still hot as hell at 4pm!
Nick couldn't break away for a few days, so it was me, my old man, and my old college buddy, Eric, who had never been turkey hunting before.
Note: turkeys have been so successful in that part of the state that the seasons and bag limits are quite liberal. Two birds, both must be toms, in the spring, and four additional birds in the fall, two can be either sex and two must be hens. If you recall from above, I shot my two toms in May...not that it would have mattered, the Sept-Dec fall season is a separate 4 bird bag, you can use unfilled tags from the spring, but you can still only shoot four in the late season, no matter how many you shot in the spring.
Unlike springtime when the turkey are running around stupidly gobbling all morning, it's pretty quiet in the fall...there were a few fly down gobbles at daybreak, but very few, and nothing during the day. Pretending to be a randy hen and getting a tom to run in doesn't work in the fall, so most of my calling was aimed at the hens, as they would actually call back.
That being said...the amount of calling I did over three days was less than I did in one morning of springtime hunting, it just didn't seem useful to be the only one in the woods calling and all the birds being silent.
I spent about half my time in a blind, and the other half roaming the woods and calling randomly, and my luck was exactly 50/50 on each technique.
Here's my little hovel in the woods, just getting it set up...
And my view, with shooting hole cut in the screen. You can take the screen off, of course, but I wanted as much coverage as I could get so all of my blinds have holes cut in the screens.
Called in my first flock on the afternoon I arrived...they actually did gobble back a bit, and it turned out to be six or eight toms together. They hung up pretty far away, and I reached out much farther than I usually would like to, and knocked down a nice mature tom, no problem. I was out of the blind and sitting back against a tree, so I couldn't really move around at all, or try to get any closer.
The rest of the flock ran or flew off, of course, and while sometimes you can call them back even after a shot, this was not one of those times.
It was awfully hot out, and my food/drinks were in my cooler bag in my blind, so I lugged him back to the blind and sat in there for a bit cooling off...and while I was taking a break in there, I heard a soft hen cluck out in front of me a bit to my left. I clucked back at her, and 20 seconds later she led 12 or 15 hens right to me...bang bang, and my first double on turkeys was on the ground.
Did I mention it was hot out?
Not a bad afternoon for my first day fall turkey hunting.
Somewhere during that time my old man had a couple of toms come in on his spot, and he bagged one, but since I didn't see it until the day was over there are no pics of that one.
With only one bird left in my limit and a couple of days to handle it up, the next morning I switched things up and went to a completely different area to see what the story was over there...at just a few minutes after daybreak there was a commotion about 400 yards in front of me in the woods, sounded like a chicken farm!
A few minutes after that an invasion of hens poured into the clearing I was sitting on, there were 60-80 birds, and they were making a ruckus...I made one loud POP! on my call, which indicated danger to the birds, and they all damn near froze...and on the fringes of the flock there was one lone big tom...he must have thought he hit the jackpot having all those ladies to himself, but it wasn't to be his lucky day...got his head shot for all his troubles.
By 7:30am on day 2 I was tagged out, and sitting on the back porch drinking coffee and watching the eagles chase each other around over the lake.
No luck for my partners that morning, so we switched things up and went out on the lake for the evening...caught ourselves a live well full of eater sized walleyes while sipping on cold beers on a 100 degree day on a blessedly flat calm Lake Roosevelt...about as good as it gets.
I have no idea who taught my dad how to hold a fish...you'll have to ask him what the hell he's trying to do here...
It's all good, he's 72 years old and still likes to go fishing and hunting with me, he can hold his damn fish however he wants!
Here's my buddy Eric with a couple...
And the box full of fish...
I would guess in four hours of fishing we spent two hours looking for fish, and two hours catching them. We tried jigging, but kept catching smallmouth lol...so they were all on the troll. We probably caught about 20, released all the little ones, and one that was on her way to being a big fat egg wagon this winter, and kept eight or ten eaters.
The next morning I slept in while the other two went out and gave it a shot...no luck.
Eric ended up with zero shots or birds for the weekend, my old man shot the one...I got my four, and sent Eric home with one of the birds and all of the walleye fillets.
I am REALLY excited for April 15th and the spring opener over there...this turkey hunting thing is pretty fun.