On the Trail with Mark Kayser
The plan was to get a turkey hunt in on Good Friday before the Easter weekend kicked off in earnest, but Wyoming’s weather put a halt to that plan. Wild winds, snow and rain didn’t add up to a fun day in the field so Saturday was the backup hunt date for Katelyn and Cole.
When we left the house before sunrise snow blanketed the landscape, but by the time we reached the turkeys warmer temperatures melted the snow and the fog was beginning to lift. After being cooped up evading the winds the day before, the turkeys were putting on a show when we slipped up to the first hayfield.
Since Cole had the opportunity to hunt elk, deer and pronghorn last fall, it was Katelyn’s turn at bat first. We used the creek bank to hide our stalk and when we were within 150 yards of the turkeys we crawled over to an old cattle chute and set out the Hazel Creek mounted turkey decoy (www.hazelcreekinc.com).
Katelyn and I set up in the front of the chute while my wife Sharon positioned herself right behind us to film the gobbler. Cole set up slightly back and to the side in case a second gobbler slipped in. He was ready to shish kabob it with his Mathews bow. When I had the thumbs up from Cole I started calling.
As usual I started softly and immediately saw two mature birds go into strut. Soon after a pack of jakes started toward the calls and one of the big boys followed. Unfortunately, they were taking their time like a procrastinating hoarder putting off spring cleaning.
I picked up the pace of the calls and added in more cutting with obvious results. The jakes picked up the pace and so did the fanned out gobbler. In fact the jakes made it to shotgun range, but for some reason turned and headed back to their starting point. As they passed the big gobbler he took a run at them to hasten their retreat and at that moment I thought all was over.
To keep his attention I used a higher pitch yelp and he took a liking to it. Loving the new call he marched right over and soon set up a strutting zone 30 yards from the decoy. I whispered to Katelyn to take him when she was ready. Apparently she was ready as I watched her cock her TC shotgun.
Just then the gobbler decided to think about leaving, but it was too late. Katelyn dropped the hammer and tipped him over on the spot. I couldn’t have been prouder. It was Katelyn’s third gobbler in four shots (she missed a Kansas bird when she was 7).
What impresses me most about my daughter are her varying interests. She’s immersed in the grace and elegance of figure skating with numerous regional medals to her credit. She’s great with our animals and excels in her horse, hog and cat 4-H projects. She also enjoys entering baking competitions, drawing, writing and photographing. Yet, whenever I ask if she wants to go for a hike or go hunting with me, she’s always ready to go with a smile.
What about Cole? The turkeys were a bit paranoid after the shot and not ready for another commitment, but there are still a few weeks of the season left. We all gathered for a great lunch in the field before heading home to enjoy the rest of the Easter weekend. It really doesn’t get any better than that.