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4 states, 3 birds (pic heavy)

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Prologue: Well on Wednesday April 26th I had an "old man's hernia surgery". I was hoping things would go well, as in talking with others this surgery can have a fast recovery (3 days) or up to 2 weeks. I was lucky and 3 days later I was off pain medications and doing great. Doc checked me out the following Tuesday and told me as long as I did not lift anything over 25 lbs. or climb mountains I should be OK. Great I told him I was taking my time off (as a large animal veterinarian I do lots of heavy lifting and straining so time off was required so I didn't do anything stupid) I was planning a 11 days vacation out west turkey hunting and visiting friends. Yep, this surgery was planned as to hit turkey season perfectly smile.png

Wyoming & South Dakota: I packed to the F-150 and headed west to Hulett, Wyoming. I would stay with my good friend Walter. I met Walter 14 years ago when I knocked on his door and asked if I could hunt deer. We've been good friends ever since and anymore it's more of a "visit" then a "hunt". Upon arrival the "Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot" was going on. Hulett & the local ranchers host celebrities in a money making event to support the local community and the Wyoming wildlife fund. I don't participate, however, Walter lets me be his guest (lots of good food and trap shooting). This year Walter's ranch was assigned 3 star General John Sattler. I had the opportunity to talk to the general while he was there. I have met a lot of nice people in my life, however, some just leave me in awe and the General was on of those people. His intellectual level and way he talked was so inspirational. Let's put it this way, I have never been in the military, however, if I was to go into battle..... I would want to be alongside this guy.

The General and me.


Since I wasn't able to hunt Walter's ranch as the celebrities were there..... I headed to Four Corners and hunted turkeys the Friday morning. I set up on the South Dakota side and had no luck (no gobbles what so ever). At 8:30 am. I decided to relocate a few miles away and found I found a lone gobbler and hen. Bang... my South Dakota tag was filled with what looked like a Merriam hybrid (the tail feathers were more tannish then white). 7 inch beard, 1/2 spurs and 17.5 lbs (under the 25 lb. limit doc had given me). I went and dropped off the bird at my friend's place who lives in Four Corners and took photos. He says: "let's see if we can find you a Wyoming bird". We drove up the road and onto a old logging trail and went no more then 1/2 mile and there is a tom strutting with a hen in the quakies. A quick plan and a short stalk while being as stealthy as I could for a hernia surgery guy, and my Wyoming tag was filled. Checking my GPS I was no more then 100 yards into Wyoming. These birds can be quite dumb when with a hen. Maybe he felt sorry for me. 8 inch beard, 1/2 spurs & 18.75 lbs. (still below the 25 lbs. limit). A true Merriam.

2 birds within 2 hours in 2 different states. This old car is in the area and I thought that it would make some neat photos.


The state line :)


NOTE: Whitetail population in northeast Wyoming is rebounding very nicely since the die off a few years back.

I left Walter's on Sunday after a nice visit and stay and headed to see my rancher friends in Wright where I hunt antelope. After a nice Sunday lunch I headed out to shoot some P-dogs before I headed to Chadron, Nebraska to hunt more turkeys.

Eating at "Hank's" in Wright is always a MUST.


I shot P-dogs for 2 hours. The deadly combination: Savage .223 and Fiocchi "50 grain V-max polymer tip BT"....... they make P-dogs fly.




Side note: The antelope population in eastern Wyoming looks very good. More then I have ever seen this time of the year.

Nebraska: I arrived in Nebraska Sunday night and made on early hunt on Monday morning on public land (without scouting), however, no gobbles. After a nap I went out in the afternoon (to one of my honeyholes) and called in 8 hens and 2 jakes. As it was the first day and I was optimistic of a tom I passed. The next day I met up with a friend and we headed back to the national forest. While driving the forest service roads we located a few toms, however, they didn't want to play as they were henned up. About 10 am it started to mist and we located a tom with 6 hens. We watched them feed for 40 minutes before we could figure out where they were headed. A plan was hatched. As flock went over a hill crest it allowed us time to close the distance on foot. As we peeked over the hill there they were feeding (deadfalls between us and the turkeys). As luck would have it the tom was last in the flock. My friend made a call..... he gobbled and turned to us. Hiding behind a deadfall log and he gave me the perfect neck/head shot. 8 1/2 inch beard, 1/2 spurs & 20.5 lbs. (still below the limit).

What the area looked like.


The Tom.


Later that afternoon we went and took down a blind that I had set up way back in the forest service land and came across 3 different solo toms. After shooting three birds already I decided another $109.00 for Nebraska wasn't worth it.


North Dakota: Note: the dumb North Dakotans won't let outsiders, foreigners....... non-residents buy turkey tags. Ahead of schedule I headed to Bismarck, North Dakota to visit my best friend. Living north of town she has turkeys on her ranch. Everyday they do the same thing... roost in the same tree, travel the same pasture, feed out of the horse corral, go to lay eggs. Let's just say they are very easy to pattern. Since they won't let me shoot on with a gun I would shoot them with my camera. I set up the Double Bull blind and my DSD decoys (man I love these decoys). Just a note: I was expecting to see Merriams, however, these appear to be Easterns.

Hens coming into the decoys.


Subordinate tom coming to the decoys.


Tom intimidating the DSD decoy (man I love these decoys).




More strutting.


More strutting.


Getting ready to mount the DSD breeding hen decoy.


Mounting the decoy. Note: notice the two dominate toms in the upper right. As soon as they saw the subordinate breeding they came a running.


Turkey "porn".


The toms after I made a movement and frightened them away.


A great vacation, lots of memories and 7 more days off before I can go back to being a veterinarian.

good luck to all
the dog



Edited by pointing_dogs_rule

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Congratulations Marty.  Looks like it was a great trip.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your time off and get healed up.    

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pointing_ dogs:  Great photos,  friends and hunts.  Very nice photos there.  Glad you had a chance to enjoy your medical leave, and were successful on your hunts.  Hope the healing & recovery goes well.   HH    

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