Nebraska shotgun turkey season opener: double-Tom deluxe!

Six-GunSix-Gun Senior MemberPosts: 6,862 Senior Member
edited April 14 in Hunting #1
I really did not hunt much this year.  I did my bird hunts and my Montana hunt, but didn't even go out for Nebraska's deer seasons.  Between my deployment earlier in the year and having to pay non-resident prices near my house in order to preserve my Nevada resident status for elk/mule deer, I just didn't have to mojo to do it.

That said, I was really itching to get out for turkey season.  The unfortunate part is that the terribly long winter weather spell pretty much killed any hope of getting out for archery turkey season.  The crap weather continued into today's shotgun opener - with winds, rain and 30-degree temps - but I refused to stay home another day.   I donned some layers, a full set of rain gear, and got out to the woods well before shooting light.

I had not hunted today's spot in a long time (a cut, public walk-in bean field),  but a friend assured me that birds still frequented the area.  Sure enough, as daylight approached, gobbles fired off within a couple of hundred yards.  Once I could tell that the birds flew down, I did some light hen calling, but as expected in poor weather, the birds clammed up shortly after hitting the ground and would not respond.  That said, experience shows that silent birds will still very often approach calling, but the hunter needs to stay alert for an unexpected approach.

Sure enough, a flock showed up directly in front of me about 40 minutes after the last gobble, but were quite far out.  They fed in my direction, and became a distinct 7-pack of 5 gobblers and 2 hens.  The hens were leading the boys by the nose.  It was all working out until they got about 75 yards out, when the hens broke left and fed into the wood with the Toms in tow.  It seemed hope was lost for them to continue approaching.

Just when I considered waiting for the birds to disappear and then rushing them for a quick shot, I noticed that the Toms were not continuing any further into the woods.  They hung in the tall edge grass with their red heads just barely visible.  It took a long time - probably 30 minutes - but they, for whatever reason, gave up on the hens, and started feeding back into the field and directly toward me from the left side!  

Suddenly, they were quickly closing the gap.  80 yards.  70 yards.  60 yards.  50 yards.  Now they were within fringe shooting distance, but I opted to hold on for a better shot.  It was worth the wait.  Soon enough, one bird was inside of 35 yards, so close that I had to take a painfully long time putting down the rangefinder and setting up for the shot.

One 3.5" load of Winchester Long Beard XR # 6 shot dropped the first bird stone cold dead.   The rest of the flock...did virtually nothing.  They stood and stared at the dead bird, giving me the chance at a further, even bigger bird.  A second shot dropped him, too.  You can kill up to 3 birds in Nebraska in the Spring, and I *still* had another bird in range, but I decided to save my last chance to try for a flintlock or crossbow kill at a private land spot I have permission on later in the season.

Despite some nasty conditions, opening day was an indisputable success!

I am EXTREMELY impressed with that Long Beard turkey load.  With my Benelli Super Black Eagle II and a Primos Jellyhead extra-full choke, the patterns at various ranges were extremely good.  I lasered both birds after the shot.  The closer one went down with this load at 32 yards.  The second went down at 52 yards.  Neither moved an inch after they were hit.



Both birds were good, mature birds with the smaller of the two sporting an 8" beard.



Here's the obligatory picture of the crappy-looking, wet-weather fans (and my muddy face).



As they say, the fun stops the minute you pull the trigger.  It was a solid half mile walk back to the truck with what I would later find out was exactly 50 lbs. of turkeys + all of my hunting gear.  Thank goodness my vest had a game bag so that I only had to hand carry ne of them!



Regardless of the effort required, it was a small price to pay for filling two tags within a couple of hours after arriving to hunt.  My taxidermist is mounting the fan and legs from my bigger bird.  He weighed and taped both birds.  The smaller one weighed 24 lbs. (8.25" beard) and the larger bird rang in at a hefty 26 lbs. (10.75" beard).
Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 1,463 Senior Member
    I've not ever specifically hunted turkeys and didn't realize weather effected their vocals till reading your post. It's great you got rewarded for being wet and cold! Must have been a real heart racer waiting so long to shoot.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 14 #3
    Early - 

    It was awesome.  I was cery calm when they were far out because I just presumed they were never going to get close enough to shoot.  The excitement started when I realized they were so close that putting down my rangefinder was going to be challenging.  

    The good news about the weather is that I was well-prepared: layers of thermals and outter wear, insulated facemask and Frogg Toggs top/bottom rain gear.  I was actually pretty comfortable given the conditions.

    While there is no hard and fast rule about the weather impacting birds vocalizing, be can definitely be correlated with diminished vocalization.  It can make things a lot tougher.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 13,969 Senior Member
    Very nicely done Luis....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 14 #5
    Thanks, Scott!  You need to get out here with me one day on your way back to Kansas.  The public lands here are incredibly productive.  There was only one other pair of hunters there (of whom one guy ended up being my photographer).  Really refreshing experience.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,073 Senior Member
    Nice birds. If your weather is anything like here,it had to be a tough day to be out. Congrats.

    Sako
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 14 #7
    sakodude said:
    Nice birds. If your weather is anything like here,it had to be a tough day to be out. Congrats.

    Sako

    Yeah, it wasn't too bad when I showed up.  Just windy with very light, spitting rain.  By the time I left, I felt fortunate to had not neglected the rain gear.  I would've been freezing, as the temps dropped about 8 degrees in the course of my time out there and the rain went from little more than a drizzle to a steady drumbeat and just a hair above icing over.  By the time I hit the road, ice pellets were actively falling.  

    I was hunting laying flat on my belly like I do for deer when a blind or tree stand is not ideal for the situation.  Had I not been dressed appropriately and layered up, too, it would've been downright miserable.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,445 Senior Member
    Well done!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    Well done!

    Thanks!  Am I crazy, or were you shooting turkeys with a traditional bow as a kid?
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,141 Senior Member

    So, have you taken a turkey with the flinter yet?


    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    Teach said:

    So, have you taken a turkey with the flinter yet?



    Not with the smoothbore flinter yet.  I can kill one more Spring gobbler here in Nebraska and purposely let one go today to keep that chance available.  I have a private land opportunity nearby that will give me a legit shot to get a bird inside of 25 yards, which is what I will need to feel comfortable with the cylinder bore on that gun.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 7,879 Senior Member
    I have limited Turkey hunting experience, and know it is much more difficult than expected.
    WELL Done Luis.  Congrats on your double
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,167 Senior Member
    Excellent score, Luis! I've never hunted turkeys, but from most accounts, it's a pretty daunting task. The only turkey I've ever bagged was with a .270 at 110 yards while deer hunting. (Legal in Texas, for those who are wondering). I don't know about now, but at the time, Texas tossed in 3 turkey tags with the purchase of any non-res deer license. Deer were the actual target, and I did pretty well that weekend, so no complaints there. I shot the turkey mostly from curiosity, since I'd never seen a wild one up-close. Little did I know that aside from moose, wild turkey is about the best table-fare you'll get. Had I known that, I wouldn't have left 2 turkey tags unfilled, and the deer would have appreciated the break. Congrats....that looked like a great hunt, and as usual....you earned it. Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,663 Senior Member
    Congratulations Luis, well done.  You are the man!   Are you able to use a rifle in Nebraska?  If so, your .36 would be perfect.  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
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,144 Senior Member
    Nice hunting
    I have a need for speed
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 15 #16
    Diver43 said:
    I have limited Turkey hunting experience, and know it is much more difficult than expected.
    WELL Done Luis.  Congrats on your double

    Turkeys are the devil incarnate.  I have left a lot of unfilled tags in the past and am FINALLY starting to bridge the success gap in recent years.



    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 15 #17
    Excellent score, Luis! I've never hunted turkeys, but from most accounts, it's a pretty daunting task. The only turkey I've ever bagged was with a .270 at 110 yards while deer hunting. (Legal in Texas, for those who are wondering). I don't know about now, but at the time, Texas tossed in 3 turkey tags with the purchase of any non-res deer license. Deer were the actual target, and I did pretty well that weekend, so no complaints there. I shot the turkey mostly from curiosity, since I'd never seen a wild one up-close. Little did I know that aside from moose, wild turkey is about the best table-fare you'll get. Had I known that, I wouldn't have left 2 turkey tags unfilled, and the deer would have appreciated the break. Congrats....that looked like a great hunt, and as usual....you earned it. Mike

    You need to come out this way for a season one year.  This state has a great population and public land that will produce if you do your part.  It doesn't hurt that, as you stated, they are delicious.  The legs offer a challenge in that they can get tough easily if over baked, but a slow cooker and some marinade will make them tender like pulled pork, and also makes the tough tendons fall right out of the meat for easy removal.  What's left is a delicious, sandwich-worthy meat or a stand-alone dish that tastes great..
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    edited April 15 #18
    HAWKEN said:
    Congratulations Luis, well done.  You are the man!   Are you able to use a rifle in Nebraska?  If so, your .36 would be perfect.  robin

    Unfortunately, there is no rifle season for turkeys in this state.  Neither the Spring, nor the Fall season rules open the door for rifle use like they do in other states.  We are archery/shotgun-only here.  That said, the Fall season here gives you the chance to take 2 birds on one permit, which is a dandy privilege.  If you can pattern some Fall birds, getting two in a tag is very doable.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,167 Senior Member
    Don't bake or roast them. Throw the legs and wings away...like pheasant legs and wings, they aren't worth the trouble. Slice the breast into 3/8" strips, sprinkle them lightly with Tony Charachies seasoning salt, and toss them in the Fry-Daddy. When they're just shy of floating......Heaven. The only wild game I've had better was moose that Jerry's wife cooked. Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,663 Senior Member
    Extremely... well... done!

    D


    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    The wind was brutal all weekend here, your success was well earned. 
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    1965Jeff said:
    The wind was brutal all weekend here, your success was well earned. 

    Thanks and oh, yes.  We've been in the same boat.  Wind was bad and that rain turned into snow today.  
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    Nice job Luis! Lotsa turkeys in Nebraska.
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 6,862 Senior Member
    Thanks, bellcat!

    Just scored a Merriam’s bird in your home state!  I’ll post a proper hunt report when I get back.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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