Colorado Merriam Turkey Hunt

Dan Braman

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  • Category Turkey Hunting
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  • Prostaff Member Dan Braman

My wife Stephanie and I drove two hours to the San Antonio International Airport to fly to Colorado Springs. We were both excited to hunt turkey in Colorado as neither of us had hunted them there. Things started off slow at the airport because we had two problems.

First, the lady at the ticket counter told everyone that the plane would be delayed because it needed new tires. Once the tires were fixed we boarded and made our way to the run way. The pilot came over the PA and said that we had to return back to the gate because the right engine wasn't functioning properly. Back to the gate we went. I was happy that they happened to notice this before we were in the air, I think Stephanie was just about ready to call off the whole hunt. We finally boarded again in about an hour and were on our way.

Once in Colorado Springs we drove out to where we'd be hunting after a stop at the " Big R" for our license. I was hunting on property where I had been well over fifty times. Tri-State Outfitters have what I consider to be the best mule deer hunting in the world. Not many places can average over 190 inches but they do it every year and have for a long time. I knew the elk hunting was incredible there as well. But, I had never hunted turkey there and try as I might, I couldn't remember ever seeing one there. However, Tri-State's owner, Bridger Petrini said that they were there so I believed him.

We unpacked our gear and waited on John to get in. I have known John for a long time and due to our flights being delayed I had asked him to go and see if he could roost some birds. When John got back he said that he found several birds. Excitement escalated again as Stephanie and I couldn't wait to get after them in the morning.

4:00AM couldn't come fast enough; I grabbed a cup of coffee and Stephanie and I headed out. We drove a short distance to where John told me that he had seen a good bird all by himself. We parked the truck and walked up and over a ridge well before daylight. I blew my coyote howler and a gobbler cut me off. The bird was in a tree about 200 yards away. Stephanie and I closed the distance to about 100 yards and set up. After letting things calm down for ten minutes I made a very soft tree call on my slate and the gobbler cut me off. I made one more and he gobbled again. By this time I could see fairly well and I started telling Stephanie which way I thought he would come in.

I heard him fly down and gobble one more time. For thirty minutes we waited and never heard or saw anything. Finally, he gobbled again, but this time he was 300 yards from us. I was discouraged and knew we had to move. Stephanie and I got up and walked over another small ridge toward where we could still here him hammering. Once we got as close as we could without being seen ( 200 yards) we set up again. This time when I called he gobbled and started coming closer.

I am not someone to call much. I feel that the biggest mistake most people make is over call. I would rather have a bird come in looking for me then know exactly where I am. I also think that the more I call the more he will gobble making the chance of real hens a serious problem. This bird would walk to within 40 yards of us but out of sight then turn around and walk back to his starting point. He did this over and over again for an hour. Finally, I whispered to Stephanie that I was going to call more. I tried every trick I had in the book including walking away. Nothing worked. We decided then that we would ease out and come back later. There was no way we could sneak into his comfort zone without being busted.

Jimmy had gone another direction that morning and when came in a around 11AM he said that he had seen a bird by the big curve in the road, That was our bird, he was still there. Later, around 1:00PM John stopped by and said that he had seen a bird by the big curve in the road. My plans of going out around 4 and sitting by the roost changed. Stephanie and I grabbed our gear and asked John to drop us off so we would have the truck well out of the way.

We set up on the edge of a small clearing about 200 yards across. We could see for miles to our left and about 50 yards to our right. I felt like the bird had heard the truck coming and had walked off into the timber in front of us. We had set there about 15 minutes and I had made one series of calls with me slate when we heard a gobble. " Steph, where was that," I asked? She said that she thought it was to our left. I looked out into the huge prairie and there was our bird at 450 -500 yards away standing there gobbling. How he got there I have no idea, how we didn't see him I don't know either. He slowly walked our way gobbling every minute or so.

He was so far it took him ten minutes to get to our set-up. When he walked between to big pine trees and Stephanie made an awesome shot. The bird was down and she was so excited. I love seeing her happy and I loved how it all unfolded. It's always better when you have a morning go like ours did and then go so perfect that afternoon.

Merriam Turkey Hunting

I was putting my things in my bag when I heard Stephanie say something I turned around and to my disbelief there were two mature gobblers standing by the hen decoy strutting. Stephanie was standing ten yards from them and videoing with her Iphone. I walked up beside her and started videoing with my phone. They would spit and drum and rub against that decoy. At one point they were feet from us, I was talking in a normal voice and moving. They stayed there until John showed up with the truck. I guess it's true that animals do seriously dumb things in the mating season. I had a tag in my pocket and Stephanie's shotgun was right beside me, but, I didn't have any desire to take a bird like that.

John told me that he knew where a roost was that he thought was full of birds. Before daylight Stephanie had the video camera set up and we waited for a gobble. Again we were in a small opening surrounded by pine trees. After sitting there 15 minutes a bird gobbled straight across from us about 150 yards away. I made some calls on the slate and he answered. I stopped calling and he gobbled probably 30 times more. After about twenty minutes we saw him walk out of the pines and started walking in our direction. He stopped at about 100 yards, strutted for a minute, then came at a full run. I noticed two jakes coming from the right at the same time. All three birds got to my decoy at the same time with the big bird going into strut. I wanted him to hang around for a minute for the camera but he started to walk off. I took him at less then 20 yards. He was the biggest in body size of all the birds. It was another text book turkey hunt.

Merriam Turkey Hunting

With luck, I will be back in Colorado hunting turkey again with Tri-state Outfitters. Just like everything else they hunt, they don't over hunt anything. They have enough land to give animals rest. Now, we wait two days in Colorado Springs then it's off to Wyoming. I sure hope we do as well there.

Posted by Dan Braman under DBraman, Turkey Hunting on May 14, 12 08:16 AM | Permalink

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