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In the Turkey Woods 2012: Nebraska Double-Take

Brady Thomas

Brady Thomas of Heritage Outfitters shows off two Nebraska longbeards.

My second day in Kansas was an all-morning washout. Just as it got nice, I had to say goodbye to host Cecil Carder and head northwest to Nebraska, where I would hunt two days with Brady Thomas of Heritage Outfitters, and good friends Shane Simpson, of Turkey Hunt Public Land, and Neal Herrman, of Hook’s Calls. Herrman and Simpson had taken fine birds before I arrived, so my hopes were high.

The first morning, Simpson and I listened to an all-out yelping, clucking and gobbling onslaught before flydown. The hottest-gobbling bird flew away from us, but several hens and jakes visited our setup. We left after an hour and located a strutter with several hens on the other end of the property. We then crossed a creek, found a good setup and started working the turkey.

And it worked … sort of. Until the turkeys decided it was time they left the bottoms and headed into the vast array of breaks above us. We gave chase but were always two or three ridges behind them. By about 10 a.m., we knew we were sunk.

That night, we found a good setup near a hot afternoon feeding area and waited. And waited. Finally, some hens came through, but no gobblers showed.

The next morning, I accompanied Thomas to another property. Again, we witnessed an incredible roost show, and several hens waltzed past us in the fog. The gobblers, however, slipped by.

We eventually fired up some birds in a creek bottom and gave chase, getting close once but not getting a shot. The birds then led us on an up-and-down chase, and we finally had what seemed like a good setup, with two hot-gobbling longbeards just 80 or 90 yards away. However, we soon figured out they were still across the creek.

But during the battle, another bird sounded off in the prairie above us. Thomas and I finally slipped toward the turkey, and the bird gobbled 10 steps away.

“11 o’clock,” Thomas whispered. “Rock back and shoot him.”

And I did, finishing a great hunt.

As we celebrated the turkey, one of our old friends gobbled below.

“Let’s go fill your second tag,” Thomas said.

We slipped down an eroded cattle path, sneaking and peeking into the prairie. Soon, Thomas saw the tops of two white heads. I rose up to see an entire breeding flock and shot the gobbler on the right.

Two turkeys, 10 minutes. You really have to love Nebraska.

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