Wyoming Merriam Turkey Hunt

Dan Braman

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  • Prostaff Member Dan Braman

Day 1- We arrived in camp well before noon and I couldn't help but think that Wyoming is the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. True, I've said that at least a hundred times before but it is very pretty. With the Big Horn Mountains on the horizon and the greenest rolling hills meandering to the mountain's base, the view from camp was amazing.

We spent a little while getting to know everyone and unloading our gear; then it was off for the evening hunt. A friend of mine had flown in for his first turkey hunt and I was eager to try and get one to come in. The first place was a long narrow piece of property with a flowing stream on the west side. To the east were hills and rock ledges with scattered shrub brush here and there. I thought the weather was perfect; slight wind, clear skies, and around seventy degrees. We set up in a nice shady spot with the sun to our back and put out a couple decoys. Our visibility was virtually unlimited in front of us with 300 yards to our right.

After the third series of calls I heard a hen yelp behind me. I didn't know if she was on our side of the stream or the other. I cut at her and she answered and I cut at her again. Just then, I gobbler cut us both off. I waited a while and nothing ever sounded closer so I assumed they were on the other side of the water. I stuck my head up and looked and sure enough they were. Standing in full strut about seventy yards on the other side of the stream were four hens and a long beard. With hens and water in our way I told my buddy they weren't coming.

After maybe forty-five minutes we saw six beards coming from the shrubs about 400 yards away. I waited until they telescoped their necks at our decoys and I made some cuts on my slate. All six of them came to the decoys at a dead run. Once they got close we could see that they were only jakes. I don't like shooting jakes but they did out on a heck of show for us at very close range. Later in the evening two hens came out and that was all we saw that evening.

Day 2- We had to get up at 3:30AM just to make it to where we wanted to hunt. We decided to hunt the opposite side of the stream where I had seen the gobbler the day before. Just as daylight started to change the horizon's colors I blew my coyote howler. I was shocked to hear nothing. I blew it a few more times and never heard a gobble. We set up any way called for about an hour. With nothing showing up, I decided to move east down the creek and see what happens. While moving we reached the property line sooner then I thought so I found a shady spot and set up again. The wind picked up and it had a serious bite to it. Four hens came out around 8:30 and that was all we saw.

After lunch we went back out and while driving to where we wanted to hunt we found a Strutter down in a river bottom. My buddy and I slipped in as close as we could and set up. On my first yelp the tom cut me off with a gobble. In a very few minutes we saw a blue and red head coming out way. The tom got to 38 yards and walked to his left just a little. I saw his snood tuck up tight on his head and realized it was now or never. I gave the go ahead to shoot and BANG. The bird flew away.....A clean miss. My buddy was down but I honestly didn't care. I called in and heard him gobble the whole way. That's the best part for me anyway. I got up and walked about seventy yards to glass a mountain when I heard a gobble. Long story short we found him on top of the mountain I was glassing.

We slipped around to a ditch and climbed down in it. Every time I called he would gobble and strut back and fourth on the top of this rock rim. After a few minutes he walked off and we knew he wasn't going to come to us. We took a chance and walked right at him and made it to some shrubs. We called from there for a minute and he gobbled but wouldn't move. Again, we moved further up to just below the rim. We could see his Tail Fan but nothing else. He walked away and I walked up to the pine trees just at the top. The turkey sign was everywhere so we set up once again there.

After nearly an hour we saw two birds about 500 yards. They fed and gobbled slowly our way. When they were about 200 yards away they turned to walk away. I started a fighting purr on my slate and one of them headed our way. He walked 20 yards under me as I stood near a tree on the rim. This presented my buddy with about a 30 yard shot. He missed again. He was shocked, sad, mad, and in shock all at once. Again, I was happy it worked out the way it did.

Day3- Found another bird on the side of mountain and slipped in to set up. The birds were with hens and wouldn't respond. We walked the entire property and never heard or saw anything. We moved and heard a hen yelp so we set up hoping she had a gobbler with her. She walked within feet of us but no gobbler around. We decided we wanted to go fishing so now we are in Montana and we will fly fish tomorrow.

Posted by Dan Braman under DBraman, Turkey Hunting on May 17, 12 08:24 AM | Permalink

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