For those of you who want a quick read the first paragragh is a short and sweet version while the second part is the very detailed version.
I was happy with how the trip turned out. I was able to harvest my first Rio Grande turkey Friday night and my friend got his first Rio on Saturday morning, here are our pictures. I am the guy in the night picture. We got into the birds everyday and the only time we even saw other hunters were when we were back at the motel or Sunday morning someone else was hunting on the West end of the WIHA land we were hunting.
I got down there Wednesday night and I thought I would be able to go to a gas station and buy a license like you can in Minnesota but that is not the case in Kansas. So I needed to go to the county clerk’s office the next morning and get one there. I get out to the spot I wanted to hunt at about 10:30 a.m. and low and behold what is standing in the field but 2 long beards, they will be referred to as the Twins from now on. The Twins are only about 100 yards from the road so I quietly sneak out of my car grab my stuff and belly crawl up to some grass between me and them. I had my rangefinder out and they got to about 75 yards then started to turn around and go back towards the field. So I snuck to the top of the hill right next to where they were going knowing I would have an easy shot if they didn’t realize I was there. So I popped my head up looking for them but I didn’t realize there were 5 hens with them on the opposite side of the ditch and they busted me. I popped up quick and fired two shots at the twins but I missed, I ranged the shots later and they were about 50-55 yards and running so I am not too surprised that I missed. I ended up going over to another WIHA area and hunted there the rest of the day but I didn’t see anything except for when I was driving to and from the original spot. So I thought what the heck I will go back to the original spot and see if I can spot twins. They are out picking at the ground of a picked over corn field with 4-5 hens so I thought I will just watch them to see where they are going to roost and get ready for the next morning’s hunt. The hens then break off and go to the Northeast and then Twins started coming back towards me, they are about 300 yards away, so I snuck down the hill and got ready thinking if they come back they are in serious trouble. They got half way to me and then turned around and headed back North. I thought no problem they are roosted in one spot and the hens are in another completely different spot. Perfect I thought I would set up the next morning in between the Twins and the hens and use a jake and three hens set up and they should come right in. So Friday morning I set up in between the Twins and the hens thinking this was the perfect spot and I could hear the Twins gobbling but they were on the other side of the creek from me and I could hear them moving South towards my friend. Perfect I thought his decoys should bring the Twins in and he can finish them off. They do not want anything to do with his decoys and they don’t get any closer than about 55 yards of course just outside of my friends comfortable shooting range. He tried to sneak up on them but they busted him and disappeared. Friday afternoon I thought I would get out the tom decoy along with the hens to try and challenge their apparent dominance over the area along the path they use to go back to their roosting trees. I first saw them at about 6:40 p.m. working across the picked corn field but they were not at all interested in my calling or the pretty boy decoy I had set up. They slowly worked their way onto the side hill and started coming my way. So I snuck out of my location and grabbed my buddy to set an ambush for them at the cove they fly up from. So we get set up on a little trail that comes down from the ridge top waiting for the Twins to show up. The next thing we here is two turkeys, the Twins, as they pitched off of the ridge and flew over the trees along the creek and into the adjacent picked corn field. So I get up from my perfect ambush spot and my friend and I are cussing like crazy at the Twins when I see a few turkey heads appear coming down the trail I was just set up on so I dropped to the ground and clicked the safety off. I was just hoping for a jake as I laid in the grass that was barely high enough to hide me in but the birds kept working down the hill and one finally got to within 15 yards and then he turned broadside and I saw a beard off of his chest and I set off a screaming load of #4’s. He was a fairly small bird but he had a full fan and a 7 inch beard but he didn’t have any spurs at all, needless to say I was very happy. So we got out that night and got a plan developed for Saturday morning. We thought since the Twins didn’t like any of the decoy set ups we would just leave them in the truck and that both of us would set up at the funnel location we had seen them go to the last 2 days. However this time I would set up on the West side of the funnel and my buddy would set up on the East side so that way no matter which way they went one of us would have a great shot at them as they came through the funnel. Of course the Twins decided to throw a curve ball and just sat on the hillside 500 yards away gobbling every once in a while and really sounding off when the coyotes were howling. I never even saw it but some Jakes started working their way across the field and got to within 25 yards of my buddy and he dropped on in his tracks. Awesome we both had harvested our first Rio Grande and now the goal was to finish tightening the noose on the Twins. Saturday afternoon my buddy would set up on the side hill under a cottonwood tree and I would set up on the top of the ridge they had pitched off of the previous day. Finally at 7:30 or so the Twins are nowhere to be seen so I popped over the ridge to see a field to the North and low and behold there are 12 turkeys in 2 groups in that field. So we snuck down the ridge and got to a tree line that the turkeys were heading towards and as a few were in range they were all jakes and hens. I was not interested in harvesting a jake just to fill a tag so we backed out and headed back to the top of the ridge and of course now the Twins are in the picked corn field. My buddy decides to try and sneak in front of them and gets fairly close before he gets busted. I tried to get in front of them as they are crossing the hills and miss them by a couple of minutes. Sunday morning comes and there was no sign of the Twins at all.
All in all a great time was had and we both were lucky enough to harvest our first Rio Grande’s. It was a lot of fun to find two bad birds that were fun to play with and proved to be very good adversaries. For those of you that are thinking about hunting in Kansas I would highly recommend it the WIHA is a great program and KS does a great job marking the land boundaries as well as providing Google Earth files that you can download and then print maps off of before you go into the field.
I also learned that a coyote howler would be a great locator call to use as the Twins really sounded off that morning the coyotes were howling. I would recommend trying to locate picked corn fields as it seemed like a great majority of the birds we saw were in picked corn fields and not too many were in winter wheat fields.
What would you guys/gals have done differently to bring the Twins back to MN? I think everything is a learning experience so if someone sees something I could have done differently please feel free to voice your opinion.
- DSC04629 .JPG (155.84 KiB) Viewed 4064 times
Last edited by dewey
on April 20th, 2012, 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer