North American Hunter- Oregon Mountain Turkey Hunting

My breath hung in the air like slowly drifting smoke. Spring was slowly arriving, but not this morning.

The cold mountain air bit at my face. Peering into the deep, timber-filled draws with box call in hand, my good friend, hunting partner and fellow Cabela’s Pro Staffer, Jim Brennan, let out a series of hen yelps with the hopes of enticing a tom turkey to gobble.

Carl, a fellow Central Oregon local, had been so gracious to share the morning hunt with us. These public land mountains had been hunted by him in pursuit of turkeys for many years and he knew just were to check for birds coming off the roost.

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North American Hunter- Titus Talks with Turkeys Part 2

Have you ever tried to sit absolutely still and not move a single inch for nearly 20 minutes—or longer in some cases—while turkey hunting?

Did you get a chance to ready part No. 1 of this post? Well, after a few moments of long anticipation, Spencer chose his bird and pulled the trigger. Game over. And then it was my turn …

If you are going to be successful at hunting turkeys, you had better be comfortable sitting for long periods of time. Fortunately for us ladies, the OutfitHer Tat’r turkeyvest has it all—comfort, with a cushy speed seat, back and lumbar padding for support and a true custom fit. You can fit everything you need in the field into the specially designed pockets and pouches.

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North American Hunter- Titus Talks with Turkeys

Spring has finally sprung and the thunder is rolling—from thunder chickens that is! After a long winter and a few hunting opportunities, spring has finally arrived and with it comes the excitement of spring turkey season.

The sound of a tom turkey drumming his feathers is absolute music to every turkey hunter’s ears, leaving your hands shaking and heart pounding. In order for the moment of truth to arrive, first we must gear up, and for us ladies that is much easier and more fun to do than ever.

Shop, Shop, Shop—‘Til You Drop …
It was like having tunnel vision, working our way down the steep mountainside in the dark toward the valley below. I could hear the roar of the swollen creek, with waders in hand, I was prepared to cross. This was turkey hunting at its best.

The quick water rushed against my legs as I slowly waded across. The water was surprisingly warm compared to the cool morning air. As we made our way up the other side of the mountain, the sun was beginning to light up the sky and then we heard it—our first gobble.

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North American Hunter- 100 Years of Targeting Turkeys

Dallas Jones was blessed with having two volunteer guides, Mike Morgan and Marc Anderson, who had nearly 100 years of experience hunting the Morgan Family Farm in pursuit of turkeys.

Under the cover of darkness, Marc and Dallas moved into position, to a place that over the years had fondly been named, “The Killing Tree,” Meanwhile, Mike, Jason Suter (Dallas’s step-father) and I hung back in an effort to get a peek of the hunt without disrupting it.

In the pre-dawn light, we could hear the flock of birds still roosting in the trees below us. As the morning light gently started to peek over the horizon, the birds hit the ground with a thunderous flapping of wings. We could hear Marc coaxing the flock toward Dallas with a series of clucks and purrs.Before the sun had an opportunity to peak over the horizon, the hunt was over. Dallas had successfully been able to connect on his first turkey. This morning we had been blessed.

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3rd Annual OR RMEF Youth Turkey Hunt

There is nothing more rewarding than taking a kid hunting, which is why every year I team up with the Rogue Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and local volunteer Jeff Heil for the opening weekend of the Oregon youth turkey season.  Jeff serves as the guide and I the cinematographer that captures the hunt on film later providing an edited version to the family. The turkey hunt is auctioned off at the local Medford Oregon RMEF banquet, where 100% of the proceeds benefit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Hunting is Conservation. Many kids and adults alike may not understand this correlation, but while taking Tyler Seney out into the field for his turkey hunt, I was sure to talk with him about how his hunting trip directly benefitted conservation and the enhancement of habitat for elk and other wildlife, including turkeys. Pretty cool stuff to explain to a 15 year old young man.

In order to make the drive and get into position to hunt, Jeff and I met up with Tyler and his dad Shawn long before daylight. Our strategy was to set up on the turkeys just after they left the roosting tree. We had a significant advantage for our hunt because Jeff has hunted this particular piece of public land for many years and had a pretty good idea as to where the turkeys like to roost.

Using the cover of darkness as camouflage, the four of us slipped into the timber. When hunting you always take a calculated risk making moves in the dark, sometimes, the darkness offers you an advantage to move more freely without detection and sometimes it allows you to slip right in to where you want to be, only to find out you have slipped in a little too close and spoiled your morning hunt plans with spooked animals.

The latter scenario was exactly the case with our morning stalk. Perfectly executed, and accidently right directly under the roosting tree. There was just enough daylight for us to make out two turkeys flying away. 

Hunting is all about patience and perseverance, so quitting this early in the day is simply not an option. Off to Plan B, locating other turkeys. Several hours later without luck, we had made full circle. The look on Tyler’s face was priceless when out of nowhere we heard a turkey gobble. We were back in the thick of turkeys and lady luck had brought us the opportunity that we needed.

Jeff and Shawn slipped back and began calling and the turkeys came right in, a story book set up. The problem was that the two jake turkeys that came in were so young, that Tyler was not sure that they were not hens. This demonstrated sound hunting ethics and outstanding moral character for not taking the shot on the birds. When in doubt, go without. Our morning hunt had drawn to an exciting close with the decision to move onto another location.

We carefully sat at the base of the oak trees in our best effort to avoid the poison oak that was seemingly everywhere. Jeff had placed the decoys 20 yards in front of us in preparation for his calling set. We were employing a different strategy; we were calling blind in an area known to host a large number of turkeys.

The warm rays of the spring sunshine made the call set a delight. Call and wait, repeat, these are the days I enjoy most. The ones with good friends and family in the field on a nice warm day doing what we love most. It really does not get any better than that very moment where your only worry is if a turkey is going to catch you moving.

I was slightly dozed off, head against the tree when Tyler spotted the turkeys making their way towards us. The thrill was on when the two jakes came in at full strut, right up to the decoys. I am not sure what it is with turkey’s but they always seem to come in together and like to remain right on top of one another making a shot opportunity impossible.

Once again, Tyler was patient waiting for the turkeys to give him his opportunity. The two turkeys lost interest in the decoys quickly and tucked in and started pecking and scratching just below us and nearly out of sight. The waiting game was on. All we could do was hope that the turkeys would work their way back up the hill towards us giving Tyler his shot opportunity.

Motionless we waited as the jake turkey turned up the hill towards us and away from his companion offering Tyler the shot he had waited his entire life to take. With his father and new friends at his side Tyler had just successfully filled his turkey tag. This will surely be a hunt that he remembers for life and one day, he will re-tell his own children about his first ever turkey hunt with his dad on the mountain in Oregon.  In more ways than one, his hunt literally helped to continue a legacy that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Girl Turkey Hunters RoCk...

Hunting with girls, is something that I don’t get to do as often as I would like, so I am certain to never miss an opportunity when it arrives. This was my third year turkey hunting with Mikyla Jahnke. I love this girl. She has a smile that will light up the mountain and an awesome personality to go with it. I met Mikyla at the Medford RMEF banquet as she was the first youth hunter that I took out with Jeff Heil as part of our now annual youth turkey hunt donation. I couldn’t wait to go hunting with her again.

I met up with Mikyla and father Mike for a short afternoon hunt. The weather was warm and the sky was clear, perfect for turkey hunting. Mike had a spot where he had been steadily seeing several flocks of turkeys.

We set up Mikyla and I side by side and Mike just behind us. The decoys were on display as Mike began striking his slate call sending sweet sounds of putting hens into the air. Sometimes luck is just on your side and for Mikyla and me that day, we were surrounded by luck. It turns out the turkeys were within ear shot of Mike’s calls and literally came in running.

Whispering as quiet as possible, Mikyla and I selected turkeys from the strutting frenzy of jakes that suddenly surrounded us and at the end of a count to three; we had both filled our tags. I am already looking forward to returning to hunt with Mikyla to share a few laughs and of course a good time on the mountain for the fourth year in a row. The RMEF fundraiser started a new tradition for us, one built on friendship and a shared love of the outdoors and conservation. This is what hunting is all about.

 

Adventure Turkey Hunting

It was like having tunnel vision, working our way down the steep mountainside in the dark to the valley below. I could hear the roar of the swollen creek below. With waders in hand, we were prepared to cross. Jeff Heil had planned quite the turkey hunt Western style with lots of mountains to climb and adventure to be had.

The quick water rushed against my legs as I slowly I waded across. The water was surprisingly warm compared to the cool morning air. Making our way up the other side of the mountain, my feet slipped in the wet mountain grasses. The sun was beginning to light up the sky when we heard our first gobble. The turkeys were on the ground from the roost and from the sounds of it, moving in a hurry.

 Jeff and I rushed side hill across the mountain with the hopes of intercepting the flock of turkeys. I set up, back against a large pine, Jeff just behind me calling with a series of soft puts and purrs. The flock of turkeys was just below us but the tom had his fare share of ladies already and paid no attention to Jeff’s calls.

We made the decision to make a move with the hopes of locating a more cooperative tom or potentially getting back with this particular tom after his hens had gone to nest. The more time that I spend mountain turkey hunting the more that it reminds me of elk hunting; setting up and hoping for an answer in areas that you often find turkeys followed by quick strategizing and implementation.

Our patience and persistence paid off with a faint gobble in the distance. Time to make a fast move and get to the eager tom. This is the exact reason that I work so hard at staying in shape, when it’s time to go after a turkey that makes a living running up and down the mountain, I had better be able to keep up.

Closing the distance, I set up with a large oak at my back and a bit of scrub in front of me for cover; Jeff was slightly behind me and to my right calling his set of soft puts and purrs. Both of us were in a position to take a shot depending on where the turkeys appeared.

There is nothing quite like the drumming sound that a big old tom turkey makes and when he is close you can even feel the vibration coming off of him through the ground. I am sure the hens are quite impressed with the display of this dominance, it certainly impresses me. We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a frenzy of turkey gobbles. The turkeys that were above us were making their way down and out of the timber towards the grassy meadow that lay below where there was more gobbles erupting from. This was about to be a strut off and we were in the middle of all the action.

The toms strutted right by our decoys on their way to the other flock of turkeys without making any effort or showing any interest in checking them out.  After the turkeys had disappeared out of sight, Jeff continued to call softly with the hopes that one of the toms would show back up and wouldn’t you know it, just as Jeff stood, a turkey saw him, let out a loud warning and scooted off.

The rain began to pour out of the sky and the turkeys vanished as quickly as they had arrived. Our western adventure turkey hunt was over for the day as Jeff had to get to work. This had certainly been the most adventurous and exciting turkey hunt that I had ever been on and even though we didn’t tag a turkey that day, it made me look forward to joining Jeff on the mountain for another try at the wild birds.

Nebraska Turkey Hunt

Merriam Madness...

Today we took a day off from our photo shoot and went TURKEY hunting:-)!!!! Ramsey Mills and Rob Burnett, Cabela's Women's Footwear Category Manager(s) have been talking with me about coming to Nebraska to hunt Merriam Turkeys since SHOT show and I could hardly wait for this day to arrive!

Nothing beats a day in the woods hunting with friends. At 5:00am sharp our journey began with an hour long drive to Ramsey and Rob's hunting lease. A beautiful stretch of river bottom property in Nebraska.

The morning started out cold and crisp but I barely noticed except for the fine layer of frost surrounding the barbed wire fences. At sunrise, the sun glistened off the wire creating a sparkly ice show.

Within minutes of setting up our decoys we heard a tom gobble. Shortly thereafter in strolls a hen. Strangely enough, she was alone and nearly walked over the top of Rob as she cruised by us and our decoys.

I went from high adrenaline to questioning what had just happened. This time of year, a hen is rarely alone and I sat there in disbelief that a tom did not strut in behind her.

Rob and Ramsey decided that we needed to make a move down the river bottom in pursuit of more cooperative turkeys. Along the way Ramsey found a whitetail shed.

No gobbles...no turkeys. Back to square one.

We head back down the river bottom where we just came from and what do we see? Three strutting toms and hens galore...right where we had been sitting a mere hour earlier.

Patience was not our strong suit today. We set back up with an attempt to call in one of the strutters.The gig was up when we heard the turkeys take flight and cross the river.

Fortunately for us, Rob has a brand new Argo and this was a perfect opportunity for her maiden voyage. What a better way to break her in than chasing after a flock of turkeys!?! Plus, I have always wanted to ride in an Argo after spending years watching Jim Shockey take on the Yukon behind the wheel of one.

Check out the photos below to see our Argo adventure...

Rob and his Argo maiden voyage...Jim Shockey has nothing on Rob's mad Argo skills!Tricky spot here...The maiden voyage has only taken us 40 yds from the truck & we are stuck with one tree wenched over. OOPSSecond tree wench did the trick.Turned the Argo around and BAM!!! Stuck again!!! You can feel the intensity of Rob & Ramsey in this picture.Hooking her up to the diesel!!!Got ER' Done!!!Needless to say with all of our Argo adventure, we ended up not getting on the flock of turkeys. Jim Shockey makes navigating an Argo look so easy.

It was nice to be in the woods on a beautiful day, away from the hustle and bustle of life and cell phones with the company of friends and a pretty fun adventure to boot! Turkey or not, we had a great day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Oregon Turkey Season

 

ThUnDeR ChIcKeNs....

Spring has finally sprung and the thunder is rolling...Thunder Chickens that is!!! After a long winter and few hunting opportunities, Spring finally arrives and with it comes the excitement of Spring turkey season.

Opening morning was bone chilling cold, but despite that with high hopes, myself, Mikyla and Mike Jahnke all climb into the blind. Mikyla is up as shooter, I am on camera and Mike is caller.

We make a great team...

Turkey hunting from a blind can be challenging, double that when you are trying to capture the "moment" on camera. By 7:00 am we have a strutting tom called into our decoy.

I can see him and he is framed up perfectly on camera BUT Mikyla cannot see him. With the tom's keen eyesight and high level of awareness, she cannot move to make the shot.

All of us in complete anticipation await the moment when the big tom comes strutting out in front of Mikyla...

A moment that did not come. That is hunting, so close, yet so far away.

Shortly after our morning encounter, Mikyla made the responsible move and went to school on time, without filling her turkey tag.

With Mikyla at school, it was my turn on the gun and camera. Double time for me. :-)

Sometime later that morning, we call them in...four crazy jakes, strutting around, mounting decoys, anxiously trying to figure out what to do next when in strolls Mr. Long Beard.

Oh yeah, I am shaking, ready for my shot. I'm on the gun, camera rolling, everything is perfect, except for the fact that the four jakes had already laid claim to the decoys and they were not going to allow Mr. Long Beard to take up shop and strut around.

The chase was on...the jakes put the run to Mr. Long Beard and he was gone as fast as he came. When Mr. Long Beard tried to come back, he was again chased off, and a third time.

Opening morning turned out to be an action packed no shot opportunity hunt that was left me shaking with anticipation. This why we love hunting!

Time to re-group. For our evening hunt, Mikyla rejoined us and we came up with the plan that if one of the long beards came in, Mikyla would take the shot and if the pesky jakes came back, I would take the shot with my bow.

One way or another, we were bound and determined to tag a turkey.

Round II~

Here they come...jakes on parade once again strutting up our decoys! This time, I am ready, bow in hand, I take slow careful aim and let my Easton arrow fly. With a perfectly placed shot, my jake is down less than 10 feet from where my arrow passed through him.  SUCCESS!!! My first archery Rio!

I felt bad for Mikyla that Mr. Long Beard never showed up that evening, but we were glad to take home dinner instead. What a great way to close out opening day of turkey season.

The next morning, with a second turkey tag in hand, Mike and I set out in pursuit of Mr. Long Beard. It was cold. Really cold...36 degrees and our breath was the only thing that was to be seen.

No turkeys, no gobbles...no bueno.

Not even one of the remaining pesky jakes will come into our calls, possibly a bit wiser from the day before when I took one of their own out of the equation.

Shortly after 10:00am Mike and I decide to abandon our location to try another spot and we get all settled in at the truck to leave when far in the distance we hear it; Mr. Long Beard gobbling.

Like a flash of lighting, we were back out of the truck, racing to set up our blind and throw up the decoys. Mad chaos had set in and the adrenaline was flowing! I could literally hear my heart beating in my ears, but no gobble.

Here comes the doubts...did he see us, did he hear us, did we bump him or do we just need to have some patience?

The sound of a tom turkey drumming his feathers is absolute music to every turkey hunters ears. The sound of Mr. Long Beard drumming his feathers had my hands shaking and my heart pounding. He was close, really close.

My camera was set up and ready to record, aimed at the decoys, so of course, he strolls everywhere but up to the decoys. Mr. Long Beard makes a giant circle around us holding strong at 80 yards but will not close the gap to our decoys.

My guess at this point is that he is scared of the jake decoy given the beat down that he had received the day before. Mike and I came to the conclusion that he simply was not going to come into the decoys. We made our move, windows went up so we could move within the blind without detection.

Once the camera was re-set and we were in position, we opened a window with the hopes that Mr. Long Beard was still there. Thankfully, he was.

Now the waiting game...he was scratching the ground just over 60 yards from me, just out of reach for my Browning BPS 20 gauge.

Here he comes, ever so slightly towards us, just enough to place him within range and unfortunately for me, he stops and struts just behind a tree. No shot.

Waiting and hoping; finally, he takes those two small steps into the open and with one gentle squeeze to the trigger, he is down. Perfect end to a perfect hunt!!!

With my tags filled, I stuck around Southern Oregon long enough for Mike to fill one of his tags with this stunning Rio. Unfortunately, I had to leave before Mikyla filled her tag but the best of luck goes out to her. I am looking forward to getting photos of her hunt success.

When it comes to turkey hunting, it just doesn't get any better than this!! Thank you Mike and Mikyla Jahnke for everything!

 

 

 

2013 RMEF Youth Turkey Hunt

This past weekend was my second annual Rogue Chapter RMEF Youth Turkey Hunt. Everything went perfect for first time hunter, 9 year old Spencer and his dad Chad.

Spencer was a trooper, hiking over 4 miles through the rugged Western landscapes in our search of a fervent tom turkey. He came to the hunt prepared with his Rocky Mountain Hunting Turkey Calls and he knew how to use them.

Spencer literally hunted daylight to dark on opening day and was dead serious until days end about his hunt.

During the last hour of daylight, all of us “grown-ups” were talking a bit too much or Spencer and he finally looked at us and said “Are we talking or hunting?” This kids attention span and intensity was second to none. I was very impressed, especially after the hike we had been on.

On Sunday, Jeff Heil, RMEF Life Member and Volunteer called in three jakes to less than 20 yards. Spencer sat completely still for 17 minutes while these three jakes took turns beating up the jake decoy.

The turkeys were grouped together too close for him to take an ethical shot and he kept it together the entire time, unmoving. When the birds finally split up a bit, he took one perfectly placed shot and his bird was down.

I have footage of the entire hunt from two angles. The blast from his shotgun nearly knocking him over.  We had a great trip and I can’t wait to share the footage with you. Such a remarkable little boy!!!

This hunt would not have been possible if not for the support of the Rogue Chapter of RMEF, volunteer Jeff Heil, Hocking Ranch, Matt Dunbar of Dunbar Taxidermy and all the members of the RMEF.

This is a true testament of how Hunting is Conservation. Together, we are ensuring the continuation of our time honored traditions.

 

 

2013 RMEF Rogue Chapter Banquet

 

The 2013 Rogue Chapter RMEF banquet was filled with elk and elk country lovers all teaming up to raise critical funds for permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and promotion of our hunting heritage.

Good food, camaraderie, games, live and silent auction all make for an action packed evening. This was my second year teaming up with Jeff Heil to offer a youth turkey hunt to the live auction. Matt Dunbar of Dunbar taxidermy donated a turkey fan mount, Hocking Ranch donated the land access for the turkey hunt, Jeff Heil volunteered his time as our guide and I donated my time to film the entire hunt. Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls donated turkey calls for the youngster to get out and learn how to call turkeys.

This year, 9 year old Spencer was the proud winner of the youth turkey hunt and this is going to be very special as it is Spencer's first ever hunt!

RMEF members, donors and volunteers are all contributing to conservation and are proving everyday that hunters are really the leaders in conservation. Every member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a member of Team Elk and together we are fueling the conservation efforts of RMEF.

Remember to support local businesses that help to continue the legacy.

 

 

Mikyla Jahnke Oregon Rio Grande Turkey Hunt

 

 

 

17 Year old Mikyla was the lucky winner of the Youth Turkey hunt that features a two day Turkey hunt on private property. An extra thanks goes out to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls, Montana Decoy, Team Elk for your generous donations and support.

 

In April, volunteer Jeff Heil, myself, Mike Jahnke, and Mikyla were successful in calling in and filming Mikyla while she took down a beautiful turkey. Way to go Mikyla!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under Armour Oregon Rio Grande Turkey Hunt

Beautiful South West Oregon
Time to hit the road to meet up with Kevin Perry, the Outdoor Account Manager for Under Armour, to help with the first Oregon Cabela’s pre-grand opening, new store training. Kevin is originally from Georgia and currently resides in Colorado; this was his first trip out to my home state of Oregon. 
Wanting to share my deep rooted love of Oregon, I invited Kevin to hunt Rio Grande turkeys with me and my good friend Matt Thurman in the south west region of Oregon. Looking forward to a fun hunting trip with friends, I was excited as this was my first hunting trip in over a year that I had been out in the field without a video camera behind me.   
When Kevin’s plane touched down it was pouring down rain. I was nervous about the poor weather conditions continuing throughout the week and into the weekend; as this has been one of the wettest springs that I could recall for the valley. Even with the turkey populations being so abundant, the hunting had been tough going so far this season. 
The skies are getting ready to clear up.
After we completed the in-store training for Cabela’s, we climbed into my truck and headed south to meet up with Matt, an area local and turkey guru. To our delight, the weather broke just as we finished our drive and we were able to use the last hour of daylight to get out do some scouting before our morning hunt.
Like a typical woman, always being prepared, I asked Kevin if he grabbed his binoculars for our scouting trip and he quickly dismissed me saying that he would just use mine if need be. Coming from Georgia, if a turkey spots your car a ½ mile away he is gone like a flash, Kevin was not prepared for what we were about to encounter. Needless to say, Kevin spent most of the hour with my Swarovski’s in hand literally getting an eye full of proudly strutting toms, while I took the back seat.
The next morning with the weather cooperating, we put our scouting trip to work and crept into position under the cover of darkness near a roosting site. Sitting side by side, Kevin and I anxiously played the waiting game. We had scouted the area almost too well and ended up getting a little too close to the roosting tree and we were literally sitting below the flock. 
At first light, a raspy jake was making every effort to gobble; we were so close to the flock that we could hear the toms spitting above us. The scene really broke loose when a goose sounded off setting off a chain reaction causing the big gobblers to light up. The scene was absolutely story book with jakes, hens and gobblers all around us. 
A large tom took flight and landed directly in front of us with a second large tom right behind him. Knowing that there were more turkeys in the tree above us, after a quick communication between me and Kevin, we decided not to hesitate on the opportunity at the two mature gobblers.
Good times with great friends.
Taking aim, Kevin fired first and I quickly followed suit. Sitting side by side with my friend, we had managed to pull a double on two huge gobblers. Kevin’s tom had a 10 inch beard and mine was right behind with a 9 ½ inch beard. The remarkable feature on my tom,  that we will now call “Capt. Hook”, was the size of his spurs, which measured in at over 1 ¼ inch which is HUGE for Oregon.
Being thrilled with our success and everything happening so quickly, we weren’t ready to quit hunting. We decided to surprise 11 year old Hailey Miller by having her father Jim pull her out of school to take her with us hunting under the OR Youth Mentored Program. 
While we waited for Jim to pull Hailey out of school for our adventure, we decided to try and get Matt on a big gobbler. After changing locations, we had a gobbler respond to a hen yelp. 
Quickly, we set up the decoys and put Matt 20 yards out nestled in a clump of trees with his bow in hand. Kevin and I set up 40 yards from the decoys with the hopes of drawing the gobbler past Matt and within bow range. 
Our plan worked perfect once again as two excited young jakes came strutting up to the decoy. Matt decided to pass on the opportunity in hopes for finding a mature tom later on. By the time all of the action died down, it was time to go and meet up with Hailey and her dad Jim. 
As a group we spotted a large tom strutting across an open field on the edge of a wooded lot. We made a stalk by looping around him and into the woods; setting up just off from the field’s edge and safely out of sight. Hailey set up with Matt by her side and the decoy just in front of her. Kevin, Jim and I hung back in the woods and called to the gobbler. 
Quick to respond, the gobbler came in to our calls, but he was keen and held up 50 yards out strutting and displaying right in front of Hailey. Knowing her shooting limitations, Hailey patiently awaited the tom to come in closer to her. 
With all the commotion coming out of the woods, the neighbor’s dogs decided to come over and take a closer look spooking the tom before Hailey had an opportunity to take her shot. This set up had busted but we weren’t giving up.
A flock of Jakes; eager to come in to our calls.
Hailey was quick to spot the next flock of turkeys consisting of two mature toms and some jakes. We set up the same way that we had before. The flock was anxious to get to us but there was a fence separating us and no way for them to cross without flying, they quickly lost interest and moved on. 
At the end of the day, Hailey was really excited to have been out of school for the day with her dad and some new friends having some close encounters with some big gobblers. With anticipation building, Hailey now has caught turkey fever.
Kevin and I rounded out our trip by stopping in at the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford OR to say hello and picked up a second turkey tag, just in case. We spent the evening in the historic town of Jacksonville OR located at the entrance of the Applegate Valley Wine Country. This picture perfect historic village is a must see if you venture to southern OR. 
The quaint streets of Jacksonville Oregon.
Under clear sunny skies, while driving Kevin back towards the airport, we took the opportunity to take in some of Oregon’s most beautiful scenery in the broad and fertile Willamette Valley.  I was thankful to have been able to share such a wonderful weekend with friends in a place that I love enjoying all that is beautiful in the outdoors.
Jacksonville Oregon surrounding area.

Capt. Hook

 

Thanks for helping make this trip successful Under Armour, Swarovski Optik, Bugling Bull Game Calls & Eberlestock.
Gear List
Under Armour Clothing for Kristy
Base 2.0 Top
Camo Evo Cold Gear Pants
Camo Evo Cold Gear Hoody
Camo Full Zip Hoody
Quest Jacket & Pant
Women’s Camo Glove
Hurlock Glove
Camo Active Beanie
Speed Freek Boots
Hitch Lite Cushion Boot Sock
Swarovski Optik

 

EL 42 Swarovision Binoculars
Bugling Bull Game Calls
One Arm Bandit Turkey Call
Turkey Strutter Box
Gobbler Getter Turkey Tone Top
Raspy Cutter Turkey Tone Top

Misc. Gear
Eberlestock Mini Me Backpack
Wilderness Athlete Performance Bars, Energy Gel, Energy & Focus Drink Formula, Protein Plus

 

 


 

 

 

 

Kansas Rio Grande

The first few months of my year was kicked off by traveling all around the country to various industry trade shows with Under Armour.  After a few long months on the road, I am more than ready to get back into the woods to do some hunting. This year, I was fortunate enough to get invited by my good friend Chuck Griffin to go hunting with him in Kansas for Rio Grande turkeys.
The Old Stafford Train Station.
Venturing to south central Kansas took me back in time and to a place that felt like down home America, right down to the delicious homemade pies at the historic Curtis Café. Nestled between the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and the quaint town of Stafford, you will find a large diversity in habitat from salt marshes, woodlands, water management areas and land management areas that the Rio Grande turkey flourishes in year round.  
I had two turkey tags and high expectations for this hunt, but Kansas decided to live up to her windy reputation on opening morning of turkey season with robust winds that blew steadily at 20-30 mph. My hopes of quickly filling both of my tags were quickly diminishing due to poor current and predicted weather conditions for the week ahead. 
Opening morning, we set the decoys up on a known travel corridor between a wheat field and woodland roosting area with the hopes of calling in a gobbler after he hit the ground.  I began an aggressive hen yelp without getting a response or hearing a gobble. 
Due to the conditions, the sound from my call wasn’t carrying out the way I would ideally like, with that in mind we decided to put our optics to use and try our luck with good old spotting and stalking. 
We quickly found a group of turkeys flocked together pecking around in the nearby wheat field. For fear of being spotted by the flock I chose not to set up decoys and instead set up immediately on the field’s edge under the cover of the woodlands. One young jake was tempted to come in to the sounds of my putts, purrs and yelps, but the hens that he was following quickly changed his mind when they fed off in the opposite direction. With the morning fading away and the weather not cooperating, we decided to back out of the area.
Later that afternoon, the temperatures climbed to 75 degrees and the wind faded to a soft breeze. We set out our decoys just down from where we had spotted the large flock earlier that morning in hopes that they would once again return to feed before heading to their roosting area. 
The ground I was sitting on was transformed into a sea of movement before my eyes. What I had not anticipated was the hundreds of ticks that had also decided to get out and enjoy the warm change in the weather. The ticks were crawling everywhere and I thanked god for Under Armour base layer that is tick proof and kept me safe from literally being devoured by the small creatures. 
Despite the infestation, I sat tight and let out a series of soft putts, purrs and yelps, a single hen came in with an eager tom on her tail. The hen literally walked 5 feet in front of my friend and fellow hunter whom we will call “Bill” in order to protect his identity. Bill had taken the gift of warm weather and used it for a nap instead of an opportunity to hunt. 
Set up and patiently waiting.
Watching from 40 yards away, I was shocked that Bill could hold so completely still with the invasion of ticks and all of this action unfolding directly in front of him. The huge tom was staring at him when he let out a series of snores that spooked the keen hen causing her to take off with the tom in toe.
My only regret at this set up was not being able to capture Bill with the hen and huge tom only 5 feet away from him while he slept. To this day, I am not sure if Bill really believes what unfolded that afternoon.
Thanks to Hartz dog flea and tick shampoo, I was able to get a good night’s sleep and wake up rested for the following mornings hunt.  Under the cover of darkness, we set up the decoys; the toms were gobbling from the roost tree before the sun had even crested the horizon. With the weather cooperating and the gobblers vocal, I was sure that our luck was about to change and had high hopes of calling in a nice tom. 
When the birds hit the ground and the sound of the gobbles grew close, two nice toms quickly approached on the tail of a hen. Unfortunately for me, the trio did not cooperate and break out into the field where my decoys were set up, but instead chose to strut and display behind me in the cover of the woods leaving me no shot opportunities and no way of moving without being detected. 
Kansas Sunset.
We spent the rest of the day trying to call in a fervent tom without luck.  The gobblers that we had encountered were not willing to abandon the hens that they were flocked with. We didn’t even find any enthusiastic young jakes that were willing to strut around for us. 
The next day, Kansas had decided to throw in a severe storm with winds gusting at 60 mph and pouring down rain. We decided to take the day off and drove to the small town of Great Bend Kansas in order to prepare to hunt in a new location when the weather eventually broke. 
The following morning presented clear skies and temperatures dipping down to 34 degrees.  It was cold but the toms were gobbling in the roosting trees from multiple directions. Once again under the cover of darkness, we snuck into position and set up on the edge of a new food plot that was near the roosting area. With the decoys in place only 20 yards in front of me I visualized success in finally being able to take that long awaited shot. 
Success in KS.
The birds were just as anxious as I was to get moving after being relieved of the heavy storm that had ripped through the day before. I called for just over an hour letting out a couple series of soft yelps and purrs when an aggressive gobbler responded quickly coming in out of my north. Moments later I had several gobblers also respond and start coming in out of my south. 
I was in the epicenter of eager gobbling toms. As quickly as the weather had changed, thankfully, so had my luck. A flock consisting of a jake and three mature toms emerged into the food plot out of the south and ran straight to my decoys. Without hesitation, I took aim and fired on the tom of my choice. 
After three days of hunting, I was finally able to fill one of my turkey tags with a nice mature gobbler. Having to fly out the next afternoon, I knew I was growing short on time to fill my second tag, but I wasn’t going home without trying for another tom.
The evenings hunt was picture perfect with warm weather and windless skies. I had two hens come in behind me and peck around a pond; strangely enough they were without a gobbler.  I left the field that night being thankful for the beautiful day and looking forward to one more morning to try and fill my second tag.
The morning gobbles were erupting nonstop out of the sand hills at first light. Eagerly, I slipped in silently on the flock just as I would on a screaming bull elk. I set up just out of sight and called sweetly in an attempt to lure the tom away from his hens. Just like a big bull elk, he wasn’t budging, so I stayed in position for awhile in hopes that a younger tom would come into me like an eager sate light bull during the rut. 
After growing inpatient and short on time, I attempted to creep over the sand hills and get within range of the flock. There were two huge toms, several hens and a couple of jakes in the flock, a lot of eyes in open country that made it impossible to be stealthy enough for successful stalk. Getting within 70 yards of the giant toms made my trigger finger itch but unfortunately today was not my day for scratching it. 
As time ran out, I headed to the airport thankful for my time in Kansas and the reminder that with each dawn lies a new beginning.  On this trip I was humbly reminded that within but a single moments time your success  in the field can change but you must always remain patient,  persistent and thankful of the extraordinary gift of the great outdoors.
     Thanks for the great gear Under Armour, Swarovski Optik, Bugling Bull Game Calls & Eberlestock.

Gear List
Under Armour Clothing for Kristy
Base 2.0 Top
Camo Evo Cold Gear Pants
Camo Evo Cold Gear Hoody
Camo Full Zip Hoody
Quest Jacket & Pant
Women’s Camo Glove
Hurlock Glove
Camo Active Beanie
Speed Freek Boots
Hitch Lite Cushion Boot Sock
Swarovski Optik

 

EL 42 Swarovision Binoculars
Bugling Bull Game Calls
One Arm Bandit Turkey Call
Turkey Strutter Box
Gobbler Getter Turkey Tone Top
Raspy Cutter Turkey Tone Top

Misc. Gear
Eberlestock Mini Me Backpack
Wilderness Athlete Performance Bars, Energy Gel, Energy & Focus Drink Formula, Protein Plus