The DIY Hunter

Turkey strutting on the hill minutes before I shot him.

My 2006 Turkey taken with a Browning 20g Superposed

My 2006 Turkey taken with a Browning 20g Superposed

Although I lived in Oklahoma for seven years where there are many turkeys, I just never got excited to go turkey hunting. I think the idea of sitting on the ground in the spring in a climate that has ticks and chiggars didn't help.  Although very fun to hunt with I have just not been as motivated of a shotgun guy.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to hunt turkeys in Utah with drawing a employee tag that Browning offered as a draw to the employees. The turkeys were transplanted here a number of years ago and are getting established pretty well. To hunt them requires a draw and with a few years of points you can draw a tag.

I hunted a couple of times in the limited areas I had to hunt with no real success in finding any turkeys. I tried the Browning property a couple of times and found that a few turkeys were periodically using the property.

On the 16th of May I was up on the dry farm hills before light hoping to hear a gobbler. As it got light I found a single hen with a gobbler in tow. I sneaked around the hill and set out a hen decoy and backed 10 yards further up the trail and into the edge of the brush. I worked the box call and boy did the tom start a gobbling and the hen got really mad. She cam running in ready to kick some butt. Unfortunately, the tom couldn't just run with her. He had to stop and strut every 10 feet and was a good 100 yards back when the hen got to my decoy and didn't like it. She bolted around the hill, lover boy back in tow.

I backed out and swung out and around the hill as quickly as I could. I figured on their current path that they would pass through a particular area and I setup in this spot with the decoy again. It took a good half hour and the two popped up on the ridge about 50 yards from me. This time I only made soft purring calls every so often, with a slate call. It looked as though the pair was going to come right past the spot I was setup in, but the hen apparently wanted all of the toms attention to herself and turned and went another direction. Can I shoot hens?!

Now I figured they were headed towards a natural funnel and I backed my way out and headed that direction. I had to hike a good mile out and around to stay out of sight from the turkeys. This time I was just going to try and ambush them. My calling stunk and the hen wanted the tom all to herself. Ambush time.

After a half hour or so I could see them working their way across the ridge line in my general direction. As they got nearer, they feed directly away from me and over the hill. If I couldn't see them, they couldn't see me, so I belly crawled straight in the direction I last saw them. As I neared the hill top I would peak up and look to see if the coast was clear then slide another foot or so. It didn't take long and I was within 30 yards of the pair. I slid the safety off the Superposed and raised up and let him have it .

The April 2007 wallpaper on is a photo of the tom I took just minutes before I belly crawled up and shot him. This also happens to be the first turkey ever killed on the Browning property in Morgan, Utah.

The turkey had a 10" beard, 1" spurs and weighed 20.0 lbs. All nice even measurements.

I hunted with a very sentimental shotgun of my dad's. It is a Browning Superposed in 20 Gauge that my mother ordered while she was working at Browning just before she quit to have me. The serial number of the Superposed dates to the year of my birth. With such a serial number the shotgun practically has my name on it. Wouldn't you think? Well my brothers don't think so.