2018 Journal #4: Nebraska Turkey Hunting Woes

By Alex Comstock 

The sun rose, illuminating the timber of the rolling hills in eastern Nebraska. Gobbles filled the air as we located multiple turkeys, and before long our dave smith decoy was getting battered by a double bearded tom, and I sent an arrow right through him. Just how you draw it up. 

Except that's not how it went. Not at all. Actually the furthest thing from the above scenario was how my turkey hunting played out over the course of this past weekend. I spent about a day and a half hunting, and it just happened to be the worst two days of weather I could have drawn up. That didn't stop me from trying though, and here's how my turkey hunting played out. 

Saturday

Saturday morning, the plan was to hunt near the roost along a river bottom in a spot that has been a consistent producer for my cousins Kaleb and Keaton. The night before I arrived Kaleb set up a blind, that way Saturday morning we could just slip right in. We got in to the blind super early knowing that we had to practically walk right under where the birds were roosting. After getting set up, Kaleb made an owl call and a tom let out a shock gobble right next to us. Unfortunately he was roosting right by the blind, and we knew that he had to pitch down just right for us to have a chance. As luck would have it, the tom pitched down to our right in a spot where I couldn't get a shot and drifted off with a few different hens. Almost as soon as he moved off, a large rain storm was approaching, so we decided to pack up, head in for breakfast, and wait out the storm. 

After The Rain: Once the heavy rains passed by, we headed to a big piece of land to run and gun. The plan was to walk open ridges in between chunks of timber, do some calling, and hope to strike up a bird and make a play on it. We did this for a few hours, struck up a couple birds, but didn't get any to cooperate and give us a chance.

 Kaleb trying to strike a bird so we could make a move. 

Kaleb trying to strike a bird so we could make a move. 

At about 1:00, we decided to head in for lunch, but thought we would first glass a hillside to see if we could spot any birds. Immediately we located three toms strutting on the hillside across a creek, and made a move. We drove the polaris ranger around to the backside of where the toms were, and I made an attempt to reap a tom. If we would have had just another minute or two, I firmly believe I would have had a great chance as the toms appeared to be receptive, but we were a little late and as we were making our move to get in position, they busted us, and that was the end of that hunt. 

 My first attempt at reaping a turkey was short lived. 

My first attempt at reaping a turkey was short lived. 

 After getting busted, I was feeling a bit defeated. 

After getting busted, I was feeling a bit defeated. 

Saturday evening we spent time in the same general area as we did early in the morning. Kaleb had multiple birds on trail camera in this portion of a corn field in days previous, so we decided that was the best bet given the fact that the rain had picked back up. The rain continued to fall all evening, and we only saw one hen. The weather was forecasted to be much nicer on Sunday, and we had high hopes for the morning. 

Sunday

Sunday morning ended up being more of the same. The weather forecast was horribly wrong, and not too long after getting our blind set up, a severe thunderstorm rolled into the area. We were sitting right up along a ditch next to a field edge, so we inched up the ditch to peek into the field to see if there were any birds. Down the field there was a group of toms, and we decided to make a move. At the same time, the torrential downpour started. In the rain, we sprinted down the ditch, popped up to edge of the field and the group of turkeys were going by at about 50 yards. I decided to take a shot, but missed, and that was the end of my hunt. 

Conclusion

As with any out of state hunt, weather can have a major impact on what kind of activity you see, no matter what the species you are hunting. These two days of hunting were frustrating given the weather conditions, but I still made the most of my chances. It didn't pan out as I hoped, but it was still a lot of fun! It's not always about the end result, but the memories created while pursuing wild game.