My Kind of Date Night
Sharing the thrill of a first turkey kill with someone is exciting, and when that someone is your spouse, it's the making for a perfect Friday night date.
Kansas has great hunting opportunities for Spring turkey. Beautiful Rio Grande turkeys can be found throughout the state and hunters are allowed to kill two birds, an alluring offer to those traveling from out of state. Driving to Kansas is feasible for a weekend hunt for my husband, Troy, and myself since we live one state away.
Last year we took several weekend road trips to hunt Rios in the eastern side of Kansas. Our friend, Jeff, filled his tags and I took my first Rio, which I may spend the rest of my hunting career trying to top. I came home with a 25 lb turkey, 11 1/2 inch beard and 1 1/4 inch spurs. It was a memory that I will always cherish. (Thank you, sweet Kansas!) Even though Troy did not fill his tag our first year of hunting turkeys in Kansas, he shared in my turkey success excitement, and feigned ambivalence to going home empty handed. Convincing us he was not disappointed, was an easy act to play.
You have to understand that my husband is an elk hunter to the core. Almost every elk season, he kills an elk. He knows and understands how they think, can talk like them and by the end of season even smells a little bit like one. When turkey season rolls around each Spring, he mildly complains while Jeff and I chat incessantly about how excited we are to hear the first gobble. It is common to hear statements uttered from Troy's lips such as, "An elk feeds me all year, and that bird is good for one meal, maybe too" or "All of that work for one or two birds," and there's even this ... "I don't understand what all the fuss is about over a bird!"
Each time these statements are made, Jeff and I try to convince him that turkey hunting is like elk hunting. Turkeys are vocal, allowing you to call and locate them, and sometimes even spot and stalk - if you are very sneaky and have luck on your side! At this point we usually get eyeballs rolled clear back to Colorado's Western skies. Jeff and I look at each other, smile and quietly whisper the words, "wait until he shoots his first bird. He'll be hooked!"
Now you understand a little why it was our mission this year to "hook" him.
Our car was loaded up like a turkey hunting toy-chest. Open the door wrong and decoys, camouflage, bows, arrows, shot guns, and more would spill out. As the horizon slowly swallowed up the mountain silhouette behind us, we pressed forward towards beautiful Kansas land. Turkey discussions filled the hours as the highway miles piled up, and it was easy to come to an agreement - Troy gets the first shot this year!
Late Friday morning we arrived on Jeff's family's ranch. We are fortunate to have private land for our turkey hunt. It is a rare treat, since we are used to hunting public land in our home state of Colorado. After a quick scouting trip, we quickly realized the turkeys were hanging out on the opposite side of the ranch, a different pattern than last year. Bountiful rain showers this spring changed the vegetation and the section to the west of the ranch house now offered the best strutting ground, but that also means less cover, making it a little more tricky for a set up.
Parallel narrow tree lines separated three open fields. The turkeys were congregating on the northern section. We snaked our way carefully along the south end, hopscotching between each tree. Jeff was in the lead, Troy and I following behind, each grabbing the person's shirt in front of them. With a heads up decoy at the ready in case we needed to quickly stop and present some type of cover, we navigated our way closer to the middle tree line. As a soft rain slowly started to fall, enriching the smell of the pasture around us, we dodged cow pies and mud puddles.
Finally reaching the largest tree in the middle tree line, we waited behind it until the last turkey head on the opposite side of the field ducked down out of sight. As Troy and I moved around the trunk of the tree to set up, Jeff swiftly moved out into the pasture and set out a few Avian X decoys, a jake and a hen. Let the games begin!
When turkey hunting, it is extremely important to keep your movement to a minimum. We knew that at any moment we could now get "busted." Now that Troy and I were concealed against the base of the tree, sitting side by side, we slowly moved our shot guns into position. Jeff and Troy began calling, a sweet turkey cadence of calls that immediately got the attention of the turkeys in the next field over. It was only a matter of minutes and I saw a head pop up in the tree line across the field. Cows to the right started mooing, and I began to worry that their curiosity would cause them to interferre with our turkey ambush. Luckily they went back to their grazing and fertilizing the pasture, staying a safe distance from what was about to happen ...
Continue reading on Kansas Travel website.
From the Draw
A website devoted to sharing bowhunting stories. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.