Turkey Hunt Spring 2018

A week before my annual spring turkey hunt, Wisconsin had endured a powerful snow storm. Record snow of almost three feet fell north of Green Bay near where I hunt, resulting in me pushing my opener back a few days. As I made my way to my friend Jim’s house on 40 acres, the temperature started to rise into the fifties melting the snow. All year Jim had been scouting his land and he sent me several videos of the toms strutting for the hens near his house. In fact, when I was twenty minutes from his house, he sent a text that a half dozen turkeys were walking down his driveway.  I arrived and after a short lunch we made our way to one of his ground blinds hidden in the woods on the edge of a field. The field is part of a food plot Jim uses for whitetails. The weather was perfect with sunny skies, light winds and a temperature of about 52 degrees. We set up two decoys, a hen and a large Jake behind the hen. Often a Jake decoy is what gets a tom to make his way toward the decoys. Although the weather was great and the company was good, it turned out to be a very quiet afternoon.  We decided to move to a blind down by the river near roosting areas to see if our luck would change. Other than a few noisy squirrels and some mallards chasing down the river between the thick trees, we did not see or hear any turkeys. On our way out we scouted some nice roosting trees near the blind and decided to hunt there again early the next morning. The next morning was cold and, as we made our way in the dark toward the blind, we could hear a few turkeys as they left the trees to fly down near the river. Turkeys, as they leave and fly into the trees, are not quiet athletic creatures. They seem to almost crash into the tree branches to roost and make almost as much noise when they fly down. Settling into the blind we could tell this morning was going to be a lot different than the previous day. Several pairs of mallards flew low down the river but it was still dark so their quacking was our only warning. As dawn approached, we watched an enormous raccoon scrounging for food on the bank across the river. The fun started with a loud hen and her gathering call. This was met by several gobbles near the river. We knew the turkeys were close but it was still fairly dark. This continued for at least thirty minutes and other hens joined in as daylight came upon the woods. We began to call and received several responses in the form of gobbles. One in particular started at least one hundred yards behind our blind and, as we called, he came closer and closer. If you have never experienced this response to a hen calling where a tom moves toward you, it is very exciting. As he approached, I tried to get a look at him. He was approaching from the side and I caught a glimpse through a slit in the blind and right away I knew he was a big bird. He was coming fast but when he spotted the decoys he stopped. I had my Benelli Super Black Eagle set up with full choke up and ready but he would not turn and come toward the decoys. We decided to stop calling and see if he would come towards us for a good shot but after about five minutes he moved on. Disappointed yes, but an enjoyable experience regardless. We spent the next several hours listening to hens and toms in the area but could not get any to come in.  My time spent hunting was short and, as I started the drive toward home, I vowed to give it two full days next year. And of course that evening Jim sent me a video of two toms, a Jake and several hens all hanging out at the edge of the field we had hunted the previous day. Its why its known as hunting not getting. Bring on the fishing opener.