Heather: Turkey #3 Merriam in Nebraska

WOW!  That is word that best describes the hunt in Nebraska at Triple T Adventures with guides Mike and Tony.  Billinda, Cyndi and I all arrived at camp on Friday, May 4, 2012.  We spent the evening checking out the land and spotting the turkey on the rolling hills that we were soon to hunt. That night was a late one , with the ladies in camp our stories went from hunting to family in a heart beat.

A short 4 1/2 hours past and it was time to get the camo on and head to the blinds.  I followed Mike about 15 minutes south of the lodge to my first location.  As we walked into the field the fog was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  Mike helped me set up the blind, told me where they see the turkey and I was on my own.  As I set in my blind I could only imagine what the land lay out was like, with the darkness and fog it was a humbling  feeling.  Just before dawn the gobblers and hens were singing like a choir!  I have never heard hens carry on like they did that morning, it was amazing!  Not long after dawn the fog turned into a heavy mist.  I decided to call it a morning, let it dry up and go out that afternoon.

At 2:15 Tony took me out to blind #2, it a was cedar tree trunks stacked all round me.  Tony told me that they would come in from behind me.  I climbed into my blind which was made of cedar tree trunks on 4 sides, roof and 2 car seats, it was so comfortable I could have had a good nap.  I’m glad I didn’t nap because I no more got everything set up and ready in the blind, took a deep breath, looked to my right checking out the view.  Then, I looked to my left and there he was!!!  It was as if  from thin air.  He came in quite and alert, all I seen was a red head and a swinging beard.  I slowly brought my gun up  and BOOM!  He didn’t go completely down so I quickly fired another round, he went down.  Such relief my third bird for my grand slam was down!!

Tony told me if I wanted another bird I could go out the next day it didn’t take me long to make my decision.  I went out the next evening, this is where the story becomes interesting.  I went to a location that I hadn’t been to before.  My blind was in a field with nice mature trees and rolling hills that over looked a creek.  Within an hour I had two hens come out into the field with me, one came out and laid on her nest after she fed for a while.  Eventually, they left with out a sign of a gobbler.  At 5;40 I heard a shot that sounded like it came from Billinda, I text her and she said it was her and he was down!  I was so happy for her.  I wanted to go back to the lodge so I could share the joy with her but I knew I needed to stay.

I was looking out my windows hoping mister big boy would show up, as I looked out the back window , I seen him!!  He was in full strut on top of the hill behind me.  WOW, he was a beautiful sight!  Now , just to get him within range.   He had 5 hens with him, they came down the hill right to my blind.  I was hoping they would come to my right or left but they stayed right behind me.  The problem with that is my back window was still velcroed.  All I could do was watch him as he was at a perfect 20 yards.  Then, he went across the valley to the next hill over.  My heart dropped to my stomach!  He stayed a good 65 yards out for what seemed for ever.  He ended up coming back across the valley.  He came into 30 yards, I set up to fire, then he put his fan up and turned his back to me…NO SHOT!  He went back across the valley, I noticed 2 of the hens had worked their way to the next hill over and he was going after them.  So I put my gun in line with him and the first chance I fired!  HIT! He dropped without any movement.  I grabbed my phone and texted Billinda, “I GOT HIM”.  She said do you want us to come and get you?  As I was getting ready to respond, I seen tail feathers start to move, I shouldered my gun to fire another round, he jumped up just as I shot.  I missed!  He slowly walked up the hill and was a good 80 yards away.  He just stood there.  I knew I couldn’t shoot agin for two reasons, one he was 80 yards, 2 I was out of shells!!!

I dropped to my knees and started praying, not only because I wanted to turkey but because I knew I had a good hit and he was suffering.  He stood there for 15 minutes, dropped his head, then picked his head up and went into the tree line.  I called Billinda and told her to meet me a the road and give me more shells.   I got the shells from her then we headed to the tree line where I last saw him.  Mike the guide came with us and brought Piper the dog.  Billinda, Mike and Piper stayed back as I slowly walked near the tree line.  As I got closer I hid myself behind a cedar tree.  Finally, I had to go around the tree to see if he was there.  As I stepped around the tree, there he was!  10 yards away, I raised my gun, shot and rolled him.  I looked back at the others and raised my hands in relief.  As I turned back around I seen a blur…he was gone!  I took off running into the trees right to a huge drop off.  Mike quickly followed with Piper.  We where looking all over I knew he couldn’t fly nor run, so where did he go?  Piper was trying to get his scent.  Mike said there he is!  As we approached he moved, Piper was quick to keep him there.  Grabbing tail feathers as Mike grabbed his head.  I tried to get Piper back so he didn’t get spurred because this bird had a strong will to live.  Finally, the big tom was in our hands.  Then, I realized he only had 4 feathers left in his tail.

I am so glad we retrieved him.  I was upset that the tail was messed up but I can’t be mad at anyone for it.  That is why this great sport that we all love so much is called hunting, sometimes we are successful, sometimes we fail and sometimes we look back and say I should have.  The greatest part of all of this is the stories we have to tell.

I had a great time with new and old friends and look forward to my next hunt in Nebraska, Merriams are beautiful birds.  Thank you to Ladies In Camo and Triple T Adventures .

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