Access to where the turkeys like to hang out in the Fall was limited by the Spring snow that met us surprisingly low on the hill. The good news was that there weren't many people out and about, but the bad news was that it didn't seem like there were many turkeys around either. We met up with Weston to set up camp and discuss our plans for the next morning, without any leads our first morning hunt was more about scouting out some flocks rather than really getting after them.
I was surprised that Weston's plan involved riding in a separate truck with his wife and daughters while Dad, me, and my boys were in another. I guess that should've been obvious, but I couldn't see how we were going to have much success in a makeshift convoy. The snow had continued to melt through the night so we were able to get further up the hill than the night before, though it helped that Dad was pretty bold pushing his truck through more snow than he probably should have. Early morning a coyote was spotted a couple times, but no turkeys.
Mid-morning, just about the time we started thinking about turning around and re-evaluating our approach, Weston spotted a group of turkeys just off the side of the road. Not knowing what else to do, we went straight at them. Got to about 40 yards from the tom but wasn't sure about the shot (should've spent some time patterning my shotgun before the hunt...). When they headed down the ridge Wes and I tried to get out in front of them, but we only saw a lone hen after that. Other than a giant herd of cow elk, the rest of the morning was uneventful and left us feeling like we'd blown our opportunity.
After lunch and a nap we tried the low lands, hoping to see some birds in one of the fields and trying to intercept them as they moved to roost later, but all we saw were deer. Hundreds and hundreds of deer. As evening came on for real we headed up the hill and split up with Weston. The road that had been snow covered just the evening before was dry and we got to a good vantage point overlooking a draw that seemed to always have turkeys at other times of the year. I sat out and made some calls as the sun made its way below the horizon. As I walked the hill back up to the truck my Dad met me half way and said that he'd heard a gobble just down the ridge. The tom called back when I hit the box call, but too late to make a move. So we made a plan for the next morning. Weston wasn't too impressed with our idea when we got back to camp, but the millions of midges (about a size 10, really big) from the nearby lake may have put a damper on his enthusiasm. The bugs were everywhere driving his Wife and daughters crazy. I couldn't help but think about the evening rise that I had missed, but that's why I can't bring fishing gear on a hunting trip - way too distracting.
Weston said he wasn't interested in the morning plan, so we headed up the hill without him. Gobblers were sounding off from the other side of the steep draw and responding to our call which got me excited. I didn't think Dad would share my enthusiasm, but to my surprise he was up for the hike and we headed down the hill. The gobbles always seem to be a little further up the canyon as we would setup, call, hear them further on and move up to repeat the cycle. Probably should've had a bit more patience, but I just didn't seem to have it in me. At 9:00 the gobbles shut off completely, was it something I said?
Back to the truck for another ride, this time not having to push through snow we were able to drive to some of our regular haunts. Right when we were thinking all was lost a tom and hen crossed the road in front of us! Not sure where they slipped off to after that, but it was nice to have hope restored as our time started to run thin. Seems like turkeys like the roads up there as I spotted another one that crossed in front of us. I bailed out of the truck and found an angle that I could've gotten a shot from at 15 yards if it wouldn't have been a hen!
Since "road hunting" was turning up a few birds we decided to take one more road before heading for home. Another spotted turkey, another shot presented, but it was another hen!
Hope you're as lucky,