Successful Start To The Spring Turkey Season

I just returned home from a very great turkey hunt in Nebraska with my good friend Dave and his son Warren. In 5 days of bow hunting we were able to anchor 6 birds on video. The average shot was 10 yards and all but one bird expired within 20 yards.

We learned a great deal on this hunt about hunting early season birds and I want to share some of the things with you. The birds were just starting to come out of their winter flocks and were not responding to calls. They would gobble on the roost and then shut down once they hit the ground. The huge numbers of hens would dictate where the flocks went. We had trouble finding any toms for the first few days. The jakes were grouped up as well and the only strategy that worked was getting in their travel patterns.

Once the birds spotted our decoy spread they would come over. Remember you are trying to bring the hens over because then the toms will follow. They were not ready to fight yet so this was the best approach. Our decoy spread consisted of a strutting tom and a feeding hen. We place them close, and I mean close. Roughly 6 yards from the blind. We have no problem bringing the birds in that close and they disregard the blinds. Numerous times we had 40 hens within 10 yards of us and they fed at ease. Occasional calling kept them calm and close and all we had to do was wait for the toms.

We put 600 miles on our truck once we were in our hunting area. We knocked on 12 ranch doors and got permission on 11 of them. Most places are willing to let you bow hunt for these birds because they are over populated. 200-300 birds were seen on most of these ranches. Especially if you are bow hunting, the doors seemed to open more easily. We wanted to cover as much ground as possible and have several places for hunting. Some we would hunt first thing in the morning and some were better for mid day hunts. Others we spent the evenings hunting the roosting areas.

As we hunted we observed their behavior change and the birds started to break up and establish their pecking order. The last night we located 200 birds and 20 toms with no jakes in sight. We were in the cat bird seat until the rain and snow shut the birds down. Oh well it was a great time and I got to see Warren shoot 2 jakes back to back in a span of a minute and then Dave shoot his Tom a few minutes later. A triple out of the same blind in 10 minutes, pretty cool stuff.

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