Bunch of Turkey-Hunting Weirdos

I spent a beautiful day with my family turkey hunting this past Monday. We accessed a place that I've run into a few turkeys while hiking. My Brother Shawn and 12-year old Nephew Parker and myself rode up up on a trailer (hay-ride style) pulled by my dad on his 4-wheeler.  We looked ridiculous but it was a good way to get us all up the mountain along with all our gear. 

The spot I planned on hunting was already occupied by other hunters so we had to improvise and headed to another spot I had seen birds recently. As we were hiking to the spot my dad's breathing really started to become labored. We were all concerned and once again had to change our plans to make sure his health wasn't compromised. It really sucks to see your parents grow old to the point they can't participate in the things that they once loved so much. He road hunted (napped) the rest of the morning. 

Shawn, Parker and I went to another spot and finally got set up about 7 a.m.  We set out the decoys in a likely looking spot and made a few calls. About 10 minutes later we had a gobbler start gobbling from the top of the hill behind us. We made another call and the tom was sprinting down the mountain to us. We had to reposition ourselves a couple times because he was working back and forth behind us trying to locate our position. Soon he was right on top of us. We were all pumped and hoping that we would get 12 year old Parker an opportunity to get his first bird ever. This was his first actual hunt where he was able to carry a  gun and shoot. I was closest to the Tom as he approached us. I put my bead on his beautiful, bald, blue head and held it. He was in full-strut, big and gorgeous. I waited for my nephew to take the shot. Nothing happened. !? "Please Parker shoot!" I thought. I still had my bead on him but was waiting on Parker thinking he should be plenty close enough. Finally, I gave up on Parker and was about to shoot when this Tom suddenly dropped out of his strut and took a step back. The gig was up, something had spooked him, I had one last second to take a shot but I hesitated because of some brush was sort of in the way. He was gone. Damnit! I should of shot. Crazy! 

My nephew never had a shot. A 4 foot tall pine tree was blocking his view.  From where I was sitting I couldn't tell and none of us dared move to tell each other to shoot. Hopefully that wasn't my only chance of the hunt. My brother told me thanks and he appreciated what I was trying to do but told me in no uncertain terms,  "If you got a shot, take it, don't worry about Parker getting his."  We hunted hard the rest of the morning and afternoon. We had a real cool experience where a Mother moose and her year old calf walked right through our hiding spot. They were right on us before we knew they were there and I didn't dare move to reach into my pack to get my camera out for a photo. Very cool. That and the missed opportunity was pretty much the excitement for the day. It was so much fun though. I love turkey hunting. Hopefully we will get another opportunity in the coming weeks. 


  1. I realize this is against the code, but where did you go. I would really like to take my daughter turkey hunting but, I've never gone and have no idea where to go to see some.

  2. Cory, I won't tell you where I go. With the luck we've had so far this season you wouldn't want to hunt those areas anyways. But... I will tell you that turkeys are more prevalent than you may think.

    Here is my advice to anyone who would like to start hunting turkeys in Utah:
    The state DWR has been introducing turkeys since the 80s throughout the state and the birds have done really well. Many major mountain ranges and most of the major canyons now hold turkeys. My advice is go to the state dwr website: http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/ and start poking around. Look for all the information on turkeys you can find. They even have species distribution maps that can point you to the areas that they might be found.

    Next step is go out to these areas and look for turkeys. I promise if you look long and hard enough you will find them.

    Get a book or some dvds on hunting turkeys. Get some calls and practice. It's not as easy as it looks and the birds make it a challenge. But the challenge is what makes hunting so rewarding. Once you get your first tom turkey gobbling at your call you will be hooked. It's a very fun hunt.

    My first turkey was from a total shot in the dark. Looked on the state distribution map. Looked up an area I liked on Google Earth. Found out where the water was in the area. Drove out there and headed up a jeep trail. Got out of my truck and looked around and found turkey tracks and sign (poop). 3-weeks later I bagged a bird and have been helplessly addicted ever since.

    If you put in the work and you will find birds. Then, it's just a matter of getting one within shotgun range. It will be better for you and more rewarding in the long run than someone like me just telling you were to go. Thats the easy part. The hard part is getting up at 3:30 am, hiking in the dark to your spot, setting up before the sun comes up just so you may have a chance to call a bird in. And then if your so lucky, getting that bird to come in that last 50 yards or so you can take a clean shot. When it all works out it's about as good as it gets. And if it doesn't you at least will be out in the woods with your daughter enjoying nature and daddy daughter time. Some of the coolest things that I've seen in my life were during my hunting trips. Even if you don't shoot your gun it's still going to be worth it.

    I don't know if that helps you or not but it's the best I can do.



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