Editor Note: this is the first appearance on WildIndiana.com from long-time Indiana outdoor writer Rick Bramwell
The weather forecast could not have been much worse for the opening of the Hoosier wild turkey season last Wednesday. While the day was not a wash in Owen County, the hunting was. For some reason the turkey had relocated. Ray Novak and I had an afternoon to figure out where and why.
I told Ray that I had seen a flock of turkey headed to roost across a pasture to a little knoll. The field had a finger 50 yards across and 150 yards long. A small creek was between the pasture and the knoll.
With the sky threatening rain, Ray suggested we hunt together from his blind where we usually connect on toms. I chose to give the pasture a look see. Ten paces behind the barn I jumped a flock of nine turkey, three were toms.
The birds were next to the barn where the landowner had installed new tile and tore up the ground. Whatever was unearthed the squirrels liked it too. There must have been 15 fox and gray squirrels that went scurrying for the woods.
Two hours after things settled down two hens came off the knoll followed by the biggest tom I’ve ever encountered. He stood in one place for 20 minutes airing his wings and preening. It was a wide open shot, but 80 yards. He showed no interest in the hens and returned to the woods.
That sighting was at 3 pm; with nothing else going on I went to the truck and sent Ray a text. “The pasture is full of turkey.” At 6 pm, I headed back to the pasture and there they were again right next to the barn. I tried slipping through the barn, but they were gone.
My second text had Ray running to the truck. We set up his blind before dark.
At first light three gobblers came marching off the knoll heading for the barn. They were on Ray’s side of the blind and he dropped one at 65 yards. I would have to make another trip in pursuit of mine.
The following Monday morning, I returned; four hens flew down to the pasture and began feeding. They were clucking and calling, it would be just a matter of time for a gobbler to arrive. Instead, a black dog answered the calling.
About 6:30 that evening a coyote came running by my blind and disappeared into the woods. I hit my turkey call hoping he would return. I saw movement to the right and out came a hen turkey as calm as a cucumber. Then, from the direction of the coyote came three more hens.
In the next half-hour, I heard about every call a hen turkey can make. They split up and it was “You come over here, no you come to us.”
I left the blind at 8 pm and wouldn’t you know a tom was running across the field to roost on the knoll; I got busted.
Next morning, the same four hens flew down, but no suitor came to claim his prize. That afternoon, I relocated to the deep woods and saw a young bald eagle flying over the lake, another predator, but a good one.