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hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

There are more than one way to skin a cat. And there is more than one way to access public land with good turkey hunting on it. So when I was told by a landowner that he'd no longer be allowing access through his property to the isolated block of national forest that I wanted to hunt, I knew I had quite a few hours of work behind the screen of a computer scouting for alternate backpacking routes into the area. My easy, 25-minute-drive-from-home-hunt, turned into a 3 day backpacking hunt. Now, I got my fair share of laughs from people that thought I was crazy for bivy-hunting for turkeys, but results don't lie.

It was a good hunt, complete with adrenaline-filled gobblers, hung-up toms and rejuvenating views of the sunrise that only hunters know. I got my bird around noon on opening day. I got on the road right after I got out of my GIS lab on Friday morning. It took me 4 hours to cover the 6.5 nasty miles to the area I wanted to set up camp. Upon arriving in the area I actually spooked a hen and knew my scouting had paid off. After setting up camp I even heard what I thought was turkeys flying to roost. "Sweet", I thought "looks like I won't be hiking too far tomorrow!" Haha I couldn't have been further from the truth. It was a nice night that I am guessing didn't get below freezing thanks to the cloud cover. I woke up excited about my prospects of taking a bird so close to camp. It turned out that the ruckous that I had heard were dusky grouse flying up to roost. Damn!

After restraining myself from blasting the damn grouse --partly from anger and partly from percieved threat; these birds sound like gunships when they spook-- I took off for the area I originally planned on hunting. After 2.5 miles I still hadn't made contact with turks. I decided it was time for some tea and made a little fire and boiled me up some moral-boosting-juice. I then got back on the trail, so to speak, and not long after got a response.

I first made calling contact with him with about a third of a mile separating us. He was down on the opposite side of a creek bottom about 200 vertical feet below me. I slowly made my way down calling occasionally to make sure he hadn't lost interest. I set up on a cut-bank about 15 feet above the creek. He was a little over 100 yards across the creek and out of site. Every time I yelped on my slate call he would gobble in response. I started cutting after every gobble and this got him all the more in the mood.

We went back and forth for about 15 minutes and he wouldn't budge. I then pointed the call in the opposite direction in order to make him think that I was moving away. Sure enough, his next answer was closer. He was coming! I then saw him strutting off the opposite hill coming in like he was on a string; his head red with passion. When he moved behind a tree, I laidd down my slate and got into shooting position. He would have to come across the creek to be within range and I knew that when he made it to the edge and didn't see any ladies, that he would be suspicious. Luckily I had bought a push-pin call that attaches to the barrel of my Remington 870 (the ol' workhorse that she is) and allowed me to give him a couple clucks of encouragement. Sure enough, he reluctantly flew across the creek and I knew I had him. At a distance of 53 yards I let loose lead.

A few moments later and I was marveling at the wonderful animal in which I had just harvested. I cooked one of his legs over the fire back at my spike camp and it tasted like pure paleolithic majesty. Tonight I will enjoy fried turkey breast in the comfort of my own home. My only negative feeling at this point is jelousy for those of you who live in states that allow for the harvesting of more than one bird.

Good hunting to all!

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elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1946
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

hawkeye,

What a great story and SUPER hunt ! Thumbs up

Hard work usually always pays off in the end, Great job man. Applause

HOGGETTER's picture
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Location: CenCal
Joined: 11/05/2009
Posts: 750
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

Nice bird, How long was his beard and spurs?

hawkeye270's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

His beard was 8 1/2 inches and his spurs were R 1 1/8 inches and L 1/2 inches. Not sure what caused the stunted growth on his left spur but it was pretty interesting to see.

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Location: cheyenne wyoming
Joined: 08/17/2009
Posts: 52
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

sounds like heaven to me.. to bad about he landowners do you know why he shot down the access just wondering they do it out of spite here in FLA

PS
oh and my dreams are to be able to have some woods big enough to pack back into yes we do have tons and tons of land here in Fla well let me rephrase that open area some of it you cant walk into 2 feet and drop knee deep in oooooooze

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Location: western co.
Joined: 08/23/2009
Posts: 121
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

nice work,that hunt is right up my alley Thumbs up

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

I'll be danged, very cool!

hawkeye270's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

Another landowner in the area told me that he had gotten his bird for like 15 years in a row but then hit a slump the last 3 years and so he didn't want anyone else up there chasin HIS birds. Not sure if that's the truth but that's what I was told anyway.

HeavyC's picture
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Location: Greeley, CO
Joined: 07/19/2008
Posts: 635
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

YES!!!! Awesome job!! I am so friggin jealous! Where I wanted to go was still snowed in and no birds around yet. banghead

HeavyC's picture
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Location: Greeley, CO
Joined: 07/19/2008
Posts: 635
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

Now that you are done can I go and get his brother? eye roll Brick Wall,)

I am not sure I can get back down south again, so I need to find some places closer to home! banghead Confused

That is pretty sweet though, congrats again!

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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 04/01/2009
Posts: 109
Re: Backpacking Turkey Success!!!

Good work, love the "ok, I'll just pack it in then" mindset. The hunting will probably be better now that acess is limited.

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