Rios in Texas
This season I had opportunities to hunt Texas for Rio’s and Ohio for Eastern wild turkeys. I was on a mission to finally get that Eastern long-beard since took 4 years of self-taught turkey hunting before I finally shot a jake.
I found a deal for a hunt online, just outside of Abilene that I couldn’t pass up. It was an unguided, pay for access kind of thing. They showed me the land I had to hunt, and that’s exactly what I did. That evening I got in a short hunt/scouting session on the largest parcel. It was about 800 acres planted with wheat scattered with mesquite around the edges with a larger section of woods in the center with a pond. After looking at satellite images I knew that pond would be the ticket to success for this short weekend hunt, because it was the only water source for quite a ways.
The second option was another planted pasture next to a large block of woods with a feeder. Myself and my friend Jarrett, who was joining me for the weekend hunt, set up a blind that evening out in the field so we could slip in quietly the next morning. Little did we know, it would be blowing 20 miles an hour, drizzling rain, and 40 degrees – in Texas – in April that next morning. Needless to say, we didn’t see anything.
That afternoon we headed back out to the 800 acre plot. We set up next to one another at a crossing of several lanes in the woods leading to the pond. We placed 2 hen decoys where they were clearly visible from any one of the lanes.
The wind was still blowing quite a bit, so I wasn’t expecting to hear any gobbles, but I knew any turkeys in the area would come to our spot to drink eventually. After about an hour and a half of intermittent calling, I spotted two toms comping down the lane to our right. They came in completely silent and never broke into strut. I told Jarret to get ready, it looked like we were about to get a double!
The birds came down the lane, just like they were supposed to, but once they spotted the decoys they got a little nervous. The lead tom kept moving in towards the spread, while the sub dominant bird was clearly ready to get outta dodge. At that point they turned to leave, out of range for Jarrett, but not for me. Only one of them got out of there alive, but we’d be back for him.
It was around 2 when I shot the bird the day before, so we were confident the place had cooled down enough to hunt in the morning. This time we set up just like we had the day before, but without the decoys. Obviously the bird we were after didn’t like them. As day broke I started calling with no response. I though maybe birds were roosted on the back side of the woods we were hunting, but the must have been on the trees bordering the property.
After about an hour and a half of calling we got up to stretch our legs. After standing up for a bit we spotted a hen on the edge of the water hole to our left. We quickly sat down and resumed calling. On the second calling sequence we got a gobble – Game On! That tom was following the hen to water. We sat quiet for another fifteen minutes before calling again. He gobbled, letting us know he had cut the distance in half. Jarret got in shooting position. A few minutes later, a blue and white head comes bobbing around the edge of the pond and toward our position. I gave him a few final clucks and purrs the set him off one more time before Jarrett took the shot. And just like that he had his first turkey on the ground.
It’s just as exciting to call in a bird for someone else as it is to shoot one. I had the opportunity to call in a friends bird last year, it was her first bird as well. It was awesome to see those 3 toms work in at 10 yards full strut and to see her reaction. Here’s a photo of that bird since I missed posting it last year. And while were at it here’s my double from last year too.