South Dakota and Montana turkey hunt success!

Six-GunSix-Gun Senior MemberPosts: 6,751 Senior Member
edited April 21 in Hunting #1
I'm getting close to my max leave cap and may have to deploy soon.  If you don't use that leave, you lose it.  So, why not burn some time off on a 2-state turkey hunt?  I had excellent luck last weekend on Nebraska public land.  Now it was time to take advantage of some private land opportunities out-of-state and see what might happen.

Yesterday, I was hunting some extended family land in South Dakota up in the Black Hills.  The property is owned by my wife's aunt, and is a long time roost site for many of the Merriam's turkeys that live in the area.  Bagging one would be a simple matter of setting up my blind in an intercept point along their regular return route toward the roost trees.  Needless to say, things went well!  I ended up bagging this Tom at just 15 yards.  



I got some great footage of the birds strutting and otherwise acting up on the property.  It will edited together into a video of the hunt when I'm feeling less exhausted.

After waking up this morning in South Dakota, I hopped in my truck and drove a few hours west into Montana for an afternoon hunt on a private land tract that I normally hit for deer in November.  This time, a Spring gobbler would be the target.  It goes without saying that Montana is BIG country with huge open areas.  Finding turkeys in these massive expanses can be challenging, let alone getting close enough to one for a shot over open stretches of relatively short grass.  

After hours of searching, I finally located a workable flock. There were several gobblers strutting in the open for some hens.  I closed the gap to a shade over 50 yards with just a single bush separating me from the target Tom.  A load of Winchester Long Beard XR #6 sat him down for good.



This was an amazing couple of days, and the latest success in what has already been my most successful turkey season to date.  Never in my dreams would I have imagined killing two turkeys in two different states in under 24 hours, let alone 4 total birds across 3 states since the shotgun seasons opened just 6 days ago!   I'm truly whipped, but wouldn't have it any other way.

When I get back to Nebraska, it will be time to see if I can meet one last challenge for the season and get one with my flintlock 20 GA. 
Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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Replies

  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 2,990 Senior Member
    Nicely done. You are a hunter in the true definition of the word!

    Sako
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    Nicely done. You are a hunter in the true definition of the word!

    Sako

    Thanks, Tom!  The luck with these turkeys was due to turn at some point I'm my life.  Up until a few years ago, a turkey "hunter" was hardly a title to bestow on someone who sucked at chasing them as badly as I did!  After many frustrating seasons, I finally have the confidence to pay non-resident tag prices and feel reasonably assured that it's money well spent.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 656 Senior Member
    Looks like you might had some better weather this time.

    You'll get your chance to make smoke eventually. Meanwhile that modern gun is knocking em' down.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    Looks like you might had some better weather this time.

    You'll get your chance to make smoke eventually. Meanwhile that modern gun is knocking em' down.
    Aside from some strong winds that hit during parts of my time in South Dakota, it was absolutely beautiful during these hunts.  It was in the mid-50's the first day and broke 60 today here in Montana.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 13,636 Senior Member
    Well done Luis! Very respectable birds...... successful turkey hunts are damed satisfying....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited April 21 #7
    Thanks, Scott!  It's hard as hell to hunt these birds.  I tell guys new to this game that ANY bird legally killed is a trophy.  If he's never killed a turkey and a Jake shows up, my advice is to take him unless there's a compelling reason not to.

    Speaking of Jakes, I had some fun trying a stalk while in South Dakota.  I heard some gobbling on the adjoining public land and decided to pursue it.  There were fresh body feathers along the path to the sound.  Sure enough, after a couple of hundred yards, I crested a ridge and found a flock of 6 or 7 Jakes not 30 yards away.  It would've been an easy take.

    By the way, time allowing, Kansas may be my next stop.  Like we discussed, the public land there is awesome, very much like Nebraska as far as habitat and bird quantities.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,365 Senior Member
    Way to go Louis
    Our season opens in 8 days.....Have plans with my son for day one.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    Weatherby said:
    Way to go Louis
    Our season opens in 8 days.....Have plans with my son for day one.
     Sounds awesome, Weatherby!   Best of luck out there chasing a big Tom.   Can’t think of any better way to do it  than with your boy at your side.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 22,773 Senior Member
    Great hunt, hey.
    I have a need for speed
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    NN said:
    Great hunt, hey.
    Thanks, Ned.    I meant to ask you if there are turkeys anywhere nearby your place?   As a fellow bird hunter I wondered if you were getting a chance to change gobblers in the Spring.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 9,466 Senior Member
    Dang! You snuck up to a FLOCK of turkeys in MT?! Nicely done is an understatement, thanks for posting up the hunt again.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,040 Senior Member
    You're making me feel bad, Luis.  I'm glad you're having great success.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 13,636 Senior Member
    My first turkey was a jake, my second turkey was the jake that ran over and started kicking the hell out of the first jake....turkeys can have some incredibly weird (and funny) behavior
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited April 22 #15
    CHIRO1989 said:
    Dang! You snuck up to a FLOCK of turkeys in MT?! Nicely done is an understatement, thanks for posting up the hunt again.

    Thanks. It. might have been the most difficult stalk I've ever attempted.  I had to cover roughly 200 yards from the truck to where the birds were, to include cresting the road itself without getting seen.  The rest of the way was ankle high grass, a slight depression in the ground, and that lone bush for cover.  There wasn't much to work with and a whole lot of eyes in that flock.

    You're making me feel bad, Luis.  I'm glad you're having great success.

    Thank you, Jerry: no need to feel bad.  I have a feeling you'll be seeing similar success when the Montana draw results hit next week.

    Jayhawker said:
    My first turkey was a jake, my second turkey was the jake that ran over and started kicking the hell out of the first jake....turkeys can have some incredibly weird (and funny) behavior

    They are bizarre and entertaining at the same time.  No other animal that I have seen in nature takes immediate advantage of perceived weakness in an adversary/cohort the way a turkey does.  The big turkey behavior laugher for my South Dakota hunt was stepping all over a boss hen with my diaphragm call while she tried to cluck and having her - and a gang of 6 or so of her closest girlfriends - come running up the hill to challenge me.  They never did figure out what I was. 
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 20,835 Senior Member
    edited April 22 #16
    Man! That sounds like fun. I'm afraid my earlier hunting adventures ruined me with turkeys. Where I used to hunt in the late 70s-early 80s, turkeys were very plentiful and it seemed to me kind of stupid. That was out around Junction on a very large ranch. There was lots of cover and lots of turkeys and the owners fed the game very well. I killed turkeys anytime I wanted from within the warm confines of a blind. Also, rifle's are legal here in Texas so if I wanted a turkey he was mine. This gave me the impression that killing turkeys was no big deal. They only time I killed them was for food and when we would go hunting there, usually somebody would kill more than one and give me one, so I wasn't in hot pursuit.

    But I am beginning to realize that in most hunting situations Turkeys are not easy quarry. When I used to hunt around Ezzel Texas, 12 miles south of Halletsville off Highway 77, I would see turkeys, but they weren't plentiful and you never got a shot, or so it seemed. One day I was in the deer blind in November. A cold Norther had blown in a couple days before, but it was calm and clear, and about 40 degrees. A couple of big toms came out to eat corn from my feeder and started gobbling and strutting. This was November and they were showing full fan. I couldn't believe it, that's the only time I ever saw turkeys behave like it was mating season but in the fall. However, I have since heard from other hunters they have on occasion seen the same thing. Anyway, on that lease the owner forbade us killing his turkeys so no matter what kind of shot you got, you weren't allowed to shoot them.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,068 Senior Member
    Most excellent!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 6,584 Senior Member
    Very nice!! I always thought turkey hunting was more fun than deer hunting! They are tough, smart birds! Really takes some hunting skills! 
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,651 Senior Member
    A Merriam's nearly caused me to have a heart attack.  I was on a deer hunt in North Dakota and we were walking the edge of a dry wash, looking for bedded deer.  I stepped over a tumbleweed and a turkey flew out from under it, between my legs.  My two hunting partners nearly hurt themselves laughing.  Well done once again Luis.......robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 656 Senior Member
    HAWKEN said:
    A Merriam's nearly caused me to have a heart attack.  I was on a deer hunt in North Dakota and we were walking the edge of a dry wash, looking for bedded deer.  I stepped over a tumbleweed and a turkey flew out from under it, between my legs.  My two hunting partners nearly hurt themselves laughing.  Well done once again Luis.......robin
    Sounds like what Michigan partridge used to do to me when I was a kid.😮
  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Posts: 1,548 Senior Member
    Kansas does have some turkeys!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited April 23 #22
    Sweet double, Jeff!!  And with a pump gun!  That takes some skill.  Very nicely done.

    I really wanted to get down for the Kansas opener, but I discovered after my scouting trip that the opener was mid-week, which was a no-go at the time, as it overlapped my departure date for this trip.  Had it been the prior weekend, I would've given it a crack earlier.  I still plan to try and get down there this season.

    Oh, and I finally got around to editing some video from the South Dakota leg of this trip:



    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,496 Senior Member
    I once used a multiflower bush to get within 5 yards of a big tom........ if I had known the turkey was there beforehand, it would have been impressive!  :#
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 7,463 Senior Member
    Great hunting. I have only been a few times but never had one come in close enough for a shot. Attempting to sneak up on a big Osceola was impossible. You must be a ninja to sneak up on one in the open like that. Congrats
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    Osceolas are a bird that I've never even laid eyes on.  I would love to bag one, but rumor has it that they are the hardest birds to call of all turkey subspecies.  Long term, hunting them is a matter to applying for a public land hunt in southern Florida (which are apparently extremely well-managed, limited draw hunts), or simply going with an outfitter an keeping it simple. 
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Posts: 1,548 Senior Member
    Sixgun- it’s not too late for some good to great hunting here, it’s been unseasonably cold so I think the hens haven’t been very receptive for the Toms. 
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited April 24 #27
    1965Jeff said:
    Sixgun- it’s not too late for some good to great hunting here, it’s been unseasonably cold so I think the hens haven’t been very receptive for the Toms. 

    I agree, and I will definitely try to get down there ASAP.  The hens up here were not getting more than casual attention from the Toms until this morning, when I saw a nearby field brimming with strutting Toms on the way to work.  One hot day and it's like someone flipped a switch and the girls are suddenly in season.  I have to think that your part of the woods saw the same effect.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,365 Senior Member
    I agree with Jeff.  Spring just sprung here so Next week the Toms should be very receptive in my area.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,705 Senior Member
    Job Well Done!
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Moderator Posts: 25,403 Senior Member
    You have NO idea how much I enjoy reading your hunting threads brother.  Thanks for sharing!
    "Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching." General George S. Patton
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited April 24 #31
    Thanks a lot, boys!  I head out this weekend to try and score one with my flintlock 20 GA and fill my final Nebraska Spring season tag on a quality stretch of public land.  Hopefully, I’ll have something good to report.

    If I can fill this tag and squeeze in one more weekend, Kansas will be up next.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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