2022 Rookie Turkey Season in Washington

Old_Norther

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2022
Messages
38
First time turkey hunter and I am HOOKED. So Much fun, and such a cool critter.

With my work schedule I really dont get to hunt any other time than spring. So I have been doing lots of virtual walks in preparation for this years hunt. Just your standard digital platforms, nothing new there. By early April, I was able to kick off and do some scouting so I took my 9yr. old along.

We went out one evening and about an hour into the hike Im doing some calling off the bald side of a knob. He is standing on the ridgetop and calls for me to come up, "Dad I saw a bear cub!" I immediately start looking around for mom, and look down to see these tracks in the snow, not 10 feet from the kid! Turns out it wasnt a cub at all. So that was a close call, no turkey but we saw the bear and some muleys.

The first tom was in a public land canyon, way back 8 miles on an old road. I was 2 days into the hunt and had unsuccessfully made several stands. The further back in I went, the more old sign was stacked up on the road. At one point, around 1pm. I hear a gobble and look up to see a Tom hot footing along a knob 80 yards away. I was busted. I was backing out when another one cut loose in the canyon below, literally right below, in a roost tree. I had stumbled right into them. As I was backing out further, I look down the ridge from the bald face of the road and sure enough theres a third tom sneaking through the trees! I hit one knee right on the road and sealed the deal. A smaller tom, not much to speak of in terms of trophy, but man did he make for good eating!

The Second tom was way out on the far east side of the state, big piece of public land. I had read and made some connections into the area and literally almost ran over 3 hens as they crossed the road while driving up to the spot I picked for a campsite. I bailed out that first afternoon and made my way up a knob to a glassing spot over a meadow. I no sooner hit the top of the ridge than I heard gobbles. It was about 530pm so I snuck to a vantage point and I see 15 turkeys running around on the south side of this meadow 100 yards away, 4 toms strutting all over, gobbling like crazy, pushing hens. I had no play here, it was just too far. They were moving along, Toms pushing the hens, so I watched for 30 minutes and went down to the truck to make a plan. Next morning I set up on that stand of pines, only to see a tom strut down a bald spot in the opposite side of the meadow! He was 30 yards from where I was last night. He moved along for an hour, strutting and silently moving his hens around. They fed off into the pines and I figured I would come back that evening. Forecast was rain, and I set up as close to the road between the two "spots" as I could get. Sure enough, it rained for 2 hours and about 530, 15 turkeys come walking single file up the road in the middle of the meadow! I had read they behave this way in rain, and sure enough they feed out into the middle of the meadow where nobody, including me, can get at them. I tried to move back into the trees and get around in front of the group but they fed off too quick for me. That night back at the truck, I could hear the tom high up on a knob gobbling. I scratched my glass call and he answered, we went back and forth for 30 minutes around 930 at night. It was awesome.

Third day I was up at 5.00am sitting, decoys out, on that bald face I had seen the tom strutting previous morning. I had heard him the whole 2 mile hike in, screaming off gobbles from the knob above the meadow like a madman. about 515 He went silent, and a hen popped out of the pines, feeding toward my decoys. I had to set up just down a rise, into the trees, to stay concealed. This meant the final 15 yards or so into the decoys were hidden from my view, sitting under a pine tree. I just couldnt sit high enough, and stay concealed, to see the whole set. I sat for an hour. That hen fed in and I couldnt hear a thing. I was watching, listening, suffering! It was brutal knowing there were birds up there and not being able to see them. They are so quiet, its crazy. after an hour and fifteen or so, a RUSTLE and a bright blue head pop into view over the rise, just past my decoys at 8 yards. Immediately the only thing I can hear is my heart hammering away in my chest. He struts along and slowly turns back to my decoys, walking below the rise. I pulled my gun up to my shoulder at this point, waiting for him to pop back out. Felt like I waited an hour, it was probably 2 minutes. I was convinced he was going to find me out, hear me, see me, or not like the decoys. I couldnt wait any longer so I crept to me knees, crouched, and as I stood up I walked toward the decoys. Two steps, and standing upright I was met with no less than 10 turkeys preening around my decoys!! That old tom was strutting away from me and as he turned to look I sealed the deal at 5 yards. Blood and feathers were everywhere as the flock collectively GTFO. The old tom was down. It was about 630 and the sun was coming up, the meadow turned to a foggy haze and I just dont think the moment could have been a better one. 3rd day it was done, after hunting him for all three days, we finally shook hands. His spurs were just under 2" long, caked with feathers from fighting. His breast bone was completely bare, no feathers left. He had been rutting his heart out. He weighed around 35 pounds. Just a great old warrior bird.

We made BBQ out these birds, did a braised turkey with gravy out of the thighs and legs, and used some of the braised thighs to do a yellow curry. If you havent braised wild turkey, you ought to try it out. Low heat in a pan for 6 hours and it just melts apart.

All in all just an amazing chasing a really cool critter.

Some details on my gear for this hunt - Cabelas everything, Squaltex pants and jacket, redhead glass call, random brand diaphram, and a green plate carrier vest with pouches as a pack with a bag hooked onto it via carbiner for my decoys. I shot these birds with a Browning A5, 1957- Kent Turbo load size 5 shot.

I did the taxidermy myself.
 

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