Archive for the ‘Turkey Hunting’ Category

Turkey Wrap Up For The Spring

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

This spring the turkey hunting proved to be a challenge all across the West. Everywhere we chased these regal birds whether it was in Nebraska, or Idaho, or even here in Montana we were met with bad weather. The last 6 weeks had some ups and downs but overall I learned a lot about how weather affects turkey hunting.

I started out in Nebraska at the end of March. It is the earliest state to open out West and their turkey numbers are usually very high. The winter was extra tough on all wildlife due to a large amount of snow and very cold temperatures and the spring started out cold and wet as well. Upon arrival in the corn husker state we were told that the turkeys suffered some die offs and that the areas where once many turkeys resided were down by 30%.

Once we got settled into our hotel we went out scouting. The forecast was correct because we did not see near the birds on the ranches that we did the year before. Due to the cold weather the birds were still grouped together in their winter flocks. This makes hunting tough due to the birds not responding to calls or decoys yet. We set up in the highest traffic areas which we found by scouting. We were up early and listened for the birds on the roost than watched their travel. In the afternoons we again set up where we could see as well as hear the birds to see where the roost areas were located. After a day and a half we had a pretty good idea on where to be for an archery shot.

By the end of the week we took 4 long beards, all with archery equipment and none of the birds were shot using traditional tactics. What I mean by this is using decoys or calling to lure the birds into range.

The Montana opener was April 8th this year and again it was still like winter. I spent 2 weeks looking and listening for birds on the National Forest where I hunt. Due to the deep snow it was very hard getting around to locate groups of birds. I had to wait until opening day and hope the birds used their habits from the years past. Much to my delight Dominic, my friend and myself were met with gobbles at first light. I went and set up on the group of birds and began calling off and on and trying to coax a Tom over to my decoy spread.

The birds were very sluggish due to the near 30 degree temperatures and as the morning dragged on and the mercury began to rise the birds became more vocal. By 10 o’clock the woods erupted in the sounds of hens and toms bickering back and forth. I kept working the soft hen sounds and pretty soon the entire flock was headed our way. Within the next hour we had our first double of the spring with Dominic shooting his first bird with the bow and I had another good long beard to my collection.I had to guide a few clients this year after I tagged out and that was also very tough. Central Montana had some of the highest amounts of moisture ever recorded and the bird numbers were way down. I had a client come in for his first ever turkey hunt and the pressure was on. Luckily at mid day I spotted a mature tom walking alone along a pasture fence out looking for girl friends. We were able to get ahead of the bird and set up the decoys. Due to the high wind I had to use a box call because the sound carries much further. I could never hear an answer and did not know if the bird heard me. We were just about to pack up our set up and re locate when I heard the gobble. Within 30 seconds this bird stood at the decoys and his day was ended by a 15 yard shot from the gun.

The last hunt was supposed to be in the prime time of the turkey breeding season. Again cold wet weather had the birds shut down and not very vocal. We had to cover a lot of ground and hike into some new areas trying to locate the birds. After 3 days of cold damp weather the sun finally broke out. The birds flipped the switch and started acting like they should. We located a jake with a hen on a ridge who answered my every call. After setting up 100 yards away through the timber and setting up just a hen decoy I began calling. With every step the jake gobbled as he came into our set. Another 20 yard shot with the gun ended his reign and the season came to a close.

NE Turkey Hunt 2nd Trip

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Team Outback Outdoors headed back out for our 2nd Nebraska turkey hunt. Up to bat this time was Team OO’s Adam Wells and Trevon Stoltzfus and along for the hunt we invited our good friend Shawn Greathouse of Hamskea Archery. The weather was great and the birds were definitely in a better mood than when we came out the first time for our OO cameraman’s hunt with Jeff McNair and Craig Stinehour.

With Trev’s shoulder still hampering his bowhunting he picked up the scatter gun and we took the fight to some thunderchickens. The first morning we got up close and personal as we called in some birds in their loafing area on Swanson Lake Ranch, just south of Stratton, NE.

Trev pounded a bird with the shotgun in the morning and then Shawn Greathouse arrowed a lonely lovesick turkey that afternoon.

Sunday morning Adam had the full support of both Shawn and Trev and if it hadn’t been for a minor equipment failure would have whacked a big Tom right after they pitched down from the roost.

The OO crew had a ton of fun, a lot of laughs, and some great action as they hunted turkeys on Swanson Lake Ranch. Although Adam has some clients coming in soon, hopefully he will be able to get back out there and go 3 for 3 later this week.

Team Outback Outdoors

Cole Graham’s 1st Turkey!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

There is nothing better than a kids first hunting success story…. Here is a taste of such a story out of McCook, NE…Chad Graham, his lovely wife Katie, and Cole their five year old (part of our extended Outback Outdoors family)  just finished a memorable turkey hunt with a number of firsts…. Here is how the email read!

“Youth shotgun season opened Saturday. Cole, Katie and I went out. Papa Chet and Grandma Cheryl stayed home with Brody (their youngest).  It was Coles first time being able to shoot and Katies first time turkey hunting (she was shooting her new bow). Cole got his first turkey with his new 410 shotgun. Katie had a long shot with her bow but barely missed. It was a great morning. Katie got so nervous she thought she was going to puke. I was pretty proud of them both. Cole is a natural and Katie looks DANG GOOD in her camo. Here are some pictures.

Chad, Katie, and Cole Graham”

Congrats You all, way to start the season off right!!

Trev and Adam – Team Outback Outdoors

Tough Turkeys In Nebraska

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The hunting season kicked off again this spring with my trip to Nebraska for turkeys with the bow. This has been a hard winter all over the West and Nebraska proved to be no different. The birds were still in very large winter flocks and had just begun to break up.

We arrived and went out the first afternoon and did not find the birds where we had hunted them the year prior. We spent the better part of the day scouting and coming up with a plan. The public land we were on as well as some of the ranches still had snow left over and the weather was not kind the first few days.

Birds were located but in flocks of 100-200 plus birds. It is very hard to try and call or decoy birds away from these large groups. We had to set up in the strut zones or travel corridors to try and get into archery range of this many birds.

Some flocks had 20 to 30 Toms in them as well as 50 Jake’s and several hundred hens. Although this makes for great excitement it is very hard to hunt. We ended up scouting a lot to see where these birds would strut and loaf during the day and see how they travelled to and from their roost areas and set up our blinds and decoys. Once we got this pattern figured out we just hunted hard every day and waited for the birds to arrive. Random calling off and on worked to keep the birds interested but the best plan was to just catch them milling around in the woods.

You have to be versatile in your early season techniques to be able to tag a mature bird. Our group ended up killing 4 Tom’s with the bow on video and the two kids were ages 10 and 15. I was able to hunt the last day we were there and sat in the transition area in the evening to try and catch these birds headed back to the roost. By 6:30 we could here them in the next valley and realized that they were not headed our way. I got out of the blind and took Warren my camera kid and we walked around the steep cliffs. My plan was to try and catch these birds in their staging area before they flew up to roost. I was still wearing my black top due to sitting in the blind. We climbed up on the bluffs and worked our way around to where the entire flock was headed.

As I got close I could see birds strutting everywhere and knocked an arrow and walked around the sand hill. I saw 2 tail fans coming up the bluff right to me. I drew my bow and watched as the bird walked right at me at 5 yards. One well placed arrow and the bird was down in less than ten steps. What started out as a routine hunt setting in blinds ended up with my first spot and stalk long beard. Just a few tips for archery hunting turkeys. They are very hard to kill due to their small size and constant movements they make. I like to have  a broad side shot and I aim right up the legs to a point where they meet the wings. If you shoot here you will break down their legs and if they can’t run they can’t fly. If the bird is facing you head on I like to aim right under their beard. If the bird is in full strut and walking away I take aim right where the tail fan ends at the rear end. These birds have a very tough will to live but can be so much fun with the bow.

Bowhunting Turkeys in Nebraska – 2011

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

At Outback Outdoors we are always ready for the opener of turkey season, probably because of the cabin fever caused by winter, but this year we had a special tripped planned.

In 2011 we headed to Swanson Lake Ranch in SW NE to meet up with Adam Wells and have are first annual “Cameramen Appreciation Turkey Hunt!” The plan was to have Adam and I run camera for two of our loyal and hardworking cameramen Craig Stinehour and Jeff McNair. These two guys have spent numerous hours behind the camera capturing the adrenaline packed action of the OO team and it was finally time to reverse roles.

Jeff and Craig were excited to get a chance to hunt and we met up with Adam at his property south of Stratton, NE for a few days of exciting turkey bowhunting action. Another exciting facet of this hunt was Jeff McNair was bringing his 7 year old boy Lochlan on his first turkey hunt. Unfortunately Mother Nature was not aware of our plan and turned cold, windy, and snowy.

Even with the frigid weather the boys had some opportunities but  unfortunately we couldn’t close the deal. Bowhunting is tough but hunting grumpy thunder-chickens early in the season  with nasty cold weather (and trying to capture it on video) makes it even tougher!

On Saturday Adam and I had the privilege of heading 30 miles east to McCook, NE to speak at the McCook Bowhunting Club’s Big game feast and awards banquet (thanks to the invite from good friend Chad Graham). The banquet was a blast and we had a packed house and got to meet a ton of new friends and fanatical bowhunters. We hope they will have us back next year! Read the McCook Gazette article on the dinner.

As all good things must come to an end we all sadly loaded up and headed home on Sunday night, disappointed that we didn’t have some wild turkey breasts for the freezer but the memories of our first OO team hunt of the 2011 season will last a long time!


Team Outback Outdoors

Turkey Hunting – Kansas Thunderchicken Roadtrip a Great Success!

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Turkey hunting in Kansas was a ton of fun and although I didn’t have internet access (except for my phone) to keep everyone up to speed I did my best to keep our Facebook page up to date.

Rocket Ryan and I just returned home from an 8 day run in Kansas where we joined JT Harden and Jason Irish with Hardcore Hunting TV on an Under Armour Turkey hunt with Blue River Whitetails and Dave Schotte. Rocket was the Under Armour Athlete hunting and I was behind the video camera. Rocket killed 2 great toms (but I will let him tell you that story in his blog) and we fought horrible weather with some crazy wind and rain.

Overall between JT Harden, Jason Irish, Preston Schotte (the outfitter’s son), and Rocket Ryan turkeys hit the ground. We had a great time and we at Outback Outdoors have made a new outfitting friend in Blue River Whitetails and the Schotte family!

Next we cruised east to Hiawatha and Kicking Bear’s Kicking beards 2. This even was a fund raiser for Ray Howell’s Kicking Bear camps, a non-profit organization that exposes troubled kids to hunting and fishing with a mentor. Through a text messaging campaign Kicking Beards brought various hunting TV hosts and industry professionals together with hunt winners to share and video a hunt together and shoot a fun pop-up 3D target course.

On this hunt we met Jarod Crider of Locked Horn Outfitters (who provided the hunts) and I was up to bat. I was fortunate enough to take a nice tom by ambushing him in a tree row as Rocket manned the camera. Jodi Smith who was the huntress that won the hunt from Florida was also able to take her first tom at the very last second with Mike Miller (aka. the Turkey Assassin) before having to catch her flight for home.

Kicking Beards was a lot of fun for all and we made some new friends and were able to hang out with some old ones. Overall I think we killed 26 or 27 longbeards and had a lot of laughs for a GREAT cause.

Enjoy the pics…

Hosts Pictured left to right in back are Tom King (Bighorn Outdoors), David Langston (Hunter Safety System), Ray Howell (Kicking Bear), Trevon Stoltzfus (Outback Outdoors and Hardcore Hunting TV), Casey and Chris Keefer (Back Country Quest TV), Heath Painter (Sportsman of North America), Frank Giacalone  (Hunting with the Judge), Mike “The Turkey Assassin” Miller (Hunting with the Judge), and Jimmy “Big Time” Miller (Jimmy Big Time) Front Row – Hunt Winners

Trev – Team Outback Outdoors

On The Road

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Well I just got to Texas after almost two weeks of Turkey hunting in three states! First I took Pete Angle of Under Armour hunting in Montana to kill his Merriams on his quest for a single season grand slam. We got it done despite birds that didnt want to cooperate and Pete being very ill! I then drove my truck to Trev’s house and caught a flight out of Denver to go to Cleburne TX for a PBR. I flew out of Fort Worth at 7 AM Sunday, Met Trev at the Denver airport and we headed east to North Central Kansas to meet up with JT Harden and Jason Irish of Hardcore Hunting TV. JT, Jason and I were going to hunt at David Schotte’s Blue River Whitetails and Trev was to run Camera for me. We had tornado force winds for two days but did manage to get on some birds with Irish killing one and missing two and JT doubling one evening in 45 minutes! I finally managed to crawl to within range of a big Tom strutting for some hens and with JT running camera and calling killed a double bearded Rio. The very next morning we set up on a field where the birds were coming to after the roost and had a great show that ended up with me smoking a giant Eastern as he came to the call. I also killed a coyote while we were set up one morning as he was stalking the same birds we were and I dont like competition! We had a blast on this leg of the hunt, got to spend some time with JT and Irish and laid down some good footage for a future episode of Hardcore Hunting TV! We then took off and headed 70 miles East to Hiawatha KS to be a part of the Kicking Beards event for the Kicking Bear Charity, but you’ll have to read Trev’s blog for the rest of the story!!

Turkey Hunting Mountain Merriam’s

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Out West I really enjoy hunting Merriam’s turkeys in the mountains just like elk or mule deer. These birds are true survivors of the harsh weather and numerous predators that lurk out here.

The best way to hunt these roaming nomads is to locate big blocks of public ground and look for small parcels of private land laced in between where they run cattle or horse operations. These birds will winter close by due to the feed available for them and help them get through the winter. During the spring these birds will start to break up from the large winter flocks and will spread out into the mountain areas. Drive around the countless forest service roads and call in random locations early in the spring. Take a good map with you and mark on it where you have located gobbling birds. Once the season opens head for those areas and hopefully you will be into birds.

Once you have located these beautiful birds have patience. They travel a lot of ground during the days, sometimes as much as 1-3 miles. They will usually have a set routine and fly down near open clear cuts or dirt roads where they can strut and show off for the ladies. Usually a few hours later they will then head for the timber to loaf and feed throughout the day. This is the best time to ambush them as they spend most of the day there.

The bird here was located the evening before near these roost areas and we had set up on him right on the closed gravel road. He as well as 2 other Tom’s came in as well as 2 Jake’s. They did not give us the opportunity for an archery shot but we decided to return the next morning. We did not show up at first light because we knew where they would be. By 9 am we were set up in their travel area and we were able to decoy him into to 10 yards for and easy and ethical archery shot.

Being in the mountains in the spring is awe inspiring as you see the land come to life. We have seen deer, elk, turkeys, coyotes, wolf sign, as well as moose tracks. It is also a great time to look for sheds as well.

Turkey Hunting – A Few Turkeys Hit the Dirt

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Turkey Hunting in Kansas has been a blast but it has had its challenges! When we arrived to meet JT Harden and Jason Irish from Hardcore Hunting TV at David Schotte’s, Blue River Whitetails the wind was blowing slightly. Over the past 3 days the wind has picked up in velocity to unreal and almost unhuntable 40 mph gust.

We have also had a few other mishaps and blood shed, but that story is for another day!

All has NOT been lost because if you notice above I said “almost” huntable. There was a few mornings and evenings where the wind and rain gave us a break and 4 birds hit the ground. JT Harden and Rocket Ryan both doubled up and Jason Irish and I ran video, good footage… Now onto Hiawatha, KS and the Kicking Beards Charity 3D shoot and Turkey Hunt.. stay tuned!


Team OO

Turkey Hunting – Outback Outdoors’ Season Continues

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Turkey season for most hunters and bowhunters never comes soon enough. After the long layoff from the fall I am sure  everyone, including Team Outback Outdoors, is ready to get back into woods. This year has seemed even more busy than usual. With my move, Adam’s responsibility at the ranch and the harsh winter, Rocket Ryan’s busy rodeo and bullriding entertainment schedule, and Jim with new business ventures on the horizon… we are all trying to stay organized and on task.

I, personally, can breath a sigh of relief as OO has finished the 1st quarter Bowhunting Gear Giveaway and I have uploaded the last part of the Eastern Colorado mule deer webisode. Now it’s time to get back after some turkeys.

Tomorrow morning Rocket Ryan and I are meeting up (where he flies in from TX after working a PBR in Cleburne, TX) in Denver and heading east to Hanover, Kansas to first meet up with JT Harden and the Hardcore Hunting TV crew for an Under Armour hunt where our own Rocket Ryan will be the featured Under Armour Athlete hunting. I get to be his sidekick and cameraman. Rocket has a great relationship with UA as an Under Armour Athlete as UA is one of his sponsors in the bullriding arena where he entertains 100’s of thousands of fans a year.

After smashing a couple of thunderchickens we then head to Hiawatha, KS to participate in the Kicking Bear Camps’ – Kicking Beards’ Celebrity Turkey hunt and 3D shoot where I am blessed to be one of 10 industry hunter’s who will get paired up with 10 hunt winners and take them out and try and whack a few turkeys and then participate in a competitive pop-up 3D shoot to raise money for Ray Howell’s Kicking Bear Organization that mentors inner city kids by getting them involved in outdoor activities like fishing and hunting.

Next week will be a whirlwind and a lot of fun, so check back often, and as I have internet service I will try and update the blog frequently. You can also follow mine and Rocket’s progress and hunting adventures by going to my Facebook page at (I can update that from my Iphone) or Rocket Ryan’s at (Copy and paste those URL’s in your browser)

To all of you hunting turkeys, good luck and take the fight to em, and I will be updating you all soon…



Team Outback Outdoors