We’re hitting that lull time for the chukars. Lack of scent, nesting, and too many distractions are getting in our way. This time of the year I get a interested in chasing that big upland bird. Turkey. Before the season begins, Jake and Grady help me do some scouting, but once the season begins I’m on my own. I can always tell when Grady is on a hot trail of running turkeys. He hits 700 yards away in no time and suddenly I see a flock of turkeys flying way off followed by an exciting yip, yip, yip from Grady.
So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next forty days or so. Hunting turkeys and walking the dogs at snow level on the days I’m not chasing turkeys. There is nothing that beats chukar hunting with the dogs but I have to admit that calling toms can be very exciting during those off times. I’ve been hunting them for over 30 years now and still get excited every time I call one in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s with the camera, I’m on a solo hunt or calling one in for someone else, my heart always starts racing.
My grandson, Conner, and I have called lot’s of turkeys in together and he’s got two turkeys each year since he turned 10. This was his first turkey.
In true hunter form he insisted on packing the bird 2 miles back to our rig.
At 13 he shot the biggest bird I’ve ever seen. It weighed 24 pounds and had long fighting spurs.
I’m sure we’ll still get some birds together, but he’s now spending a lot of time introducing others to the fun of hunting turkeys. This was our last turkey together.
I really enjoy my solo hunts also. No dogs to try and keep up with and at times just sitting and enjoying the sounds of spring in the mountains. Also, on the successful hunts, carrying a 21 pound bird in a vest is a lot easier than a quarter of an elk.
A good friend of mine, Greg Munther, and his grandson, Tanner are going to spend some time with me chasing turkeys this season. I’m hoping they get to see some of the great stuff I have over the years. Just in case the birds don’t cooperate, I’ve put a couple of videos together along with some photos in hopes of what we might see. I posted this first video on another site so it might be redundant to some. Some jakes I had fun with.
It seems like we here about bullying a lot in todays world. Well, guess what? It’s just part of nature. Watch this Jake torment the another as the other Jakes watch.
At times, a turkey hunt comes easy, but anybody that has done much hunting for these birds with such small brain cavities will tell you that is the exception. For every bird you successfully call in you’ll have five give you the slip. Sometimes even the ones you call into range can’t be shot because a hen is in line with him. When you finally get a tom to gobble back at you, the anticipation of whether you are going to even get to see him is over whelming because of the many times you don’t.
The tom’s finally get in range, but where is the shot as the walk strut away.
And how can you shoot this tom while he’s taking advantage of this hen.
So many times a turkey puts on a show as he comes to your call but stays just out of gun range. Anyone who has hunted elk with archery gear knows that feeling.
Just like trying to draw your bow as the elk is looking at you, you better already have your gun mounted when the turkey is within range. Their eye sight is fantastic and a slight movement will send them away without a shot.
Over the years it has amazed me why it seems easier to call a bird into the camera than to the gun. I really believe that animals can sense that excitement of the kill which makes them more cautious. I saw the same responses many times when I hunted bear with a bow or a camera. These birds called within 10 yards and stayed for several minutes without me having a decoy.
And this guy wanted tp look into the lens.
I know none of this is as fun as being out with our canine buddies. There’s just not much going on in the chukar world right now. I’d fish but I’m the world’s worst fisherman. So I’ll chase Ben Franklin’s bird through the timber and hopefully see some other exciting sights as I hike.
2 thoughts on “The big upland bird”
Really nice photography!