2011 AZ Turkey Season

After my poor performance in Kansas I was looking forward to getting out into the turkey woods once again here in AZ.  Unfortunately, all the reports from guys who hunted the early season were pretty bleak as no one had heard a gobble or seen a bird.  According to one report, the G&F had estimated that 50-60% of the turkey population in our unit had been lost last winter due to the amounts and longevity of the winter snow.  To top it off the forecast called for high winds and unseasonably low temps for the weekend.

But you can't find success sitting at home...

After not finding any sign or hearing any birds on Thursday night I decided to spend the opening morning in an area that I had seen birds in the past but really hadn't spent much time in.  As I left the truck my expectations were not very high as the wind was blowing pretty good and thinking about all of the negative reports I had been hearing.  Fortunately that quickly changed as I started down a small ridge about a mile from the truck.  Every so often I had paused to call or try to get a shock gobble but had not found an active bird, fortunately a random gobble to my right quickly lifted my spirits.  As I approached the location of the bird he still wasn't responding to any of my calls but did throw out one more random gobble to let me know that I was headed in the right direction. As I was knelt next to a tree on the side of the hill I decided that I should just set up my decoy and hope for the best since the sun was now coming up and he would be leaving the roost soon.  Turns out sometimes it is better to be lucky than good as the spot I picked was right next to the bird's tree and I was able to take him as he left the roost.  Definitely the quickest hunt I've ever been on...

  He had about an 8" beard that was pretty thin

Kade was waiting in the truck waiting for his photo op

My hunt was a quick success and the rest of the weekend turned to trying to help Jay and two other friends find some birds.  Friday evening and all of Saturday left us with noting but a few small amounts of sign and only the sound of the wind in the trees.  Reports from other hunters stayed status quo as no one was reporting any Gobbles or any luck locating birds.  When we met back up at the cabin Saturday night our two friends Scott and Joe said that they had found one bird way up a mountain who responded to a shock gobble after sundown so we decided to head back to that location in the morning and Jay set off with Ron to the area where I had killed my bird.  

When we got to the spot the bird was quick to respond and we worked our way up the mountain to set up above him.  It was nice to finally hear some fired up birds as it turns out there were two Toms in the area and both were quick to respond to each Yelp that we let out.  With all of the excitement we were sure they were going to come in off the roost...until we heard them hit the ground and the gobbles kept getting further and further away.  It turns out the decided to strut about 200 yards from my truck and were down there putting on a show.  Unfortunately, before we could get around the hill to cut them off another hunter had heard them and basically walked right through them and spooked them out of the area.  Game over. Just a part of the hunt when you are sharing the woods with other folks.

Jay and Ron didn't have much luck on their end and were unable to find any birds and we all ended up calling it a day as the wind picked up and we all needed to get back to civilization.  Everyone is planning on trying to get back out before the end of the season so hopefully there will be more to report later.  Turkey can be the most fun and the most frustrating animal to hunt and sometimes it happens all in the same day.

Here's a couple other pics from the weekend...

Ron trying out the new KUIU gear

Me carrying around the camera that we never get to use


Popular Posts