Hunting turkeys on South Dakota''s Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in late April, 2013. The Weather Channel called it the worst spring weather in the region in more than 100 years, with winter conditions -- dawn temperatures in the low to mid-20''s, daytime temperatures never over 40, and, often, blowing snow.
That means the turkeys remained in their winter flocks of, sometimes, more than 100 birds, making it extremely difficult to hunt them. We could not get close to roost trees before dawn or they would her us on the crunchy snow. So, the tactics were to try and locate them, usually in the afternoon, get as close as we could, and use the technique that has proven super deadly the last few years -- a real gobbler fan attached to a Feather Flex Thunder Chicken 1/4 decoy.
See the action below as Bob Swanson, sales director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, along with Ken Byers doing the decoy thing, hit the field.
We located a line gobbler after hearing him gobble, but he would not come to us. So, we crept closer to him. After sneaking through the thick timber and across a patch of crunchy snow -- our sound was muffled thanks to a 20 mph wind -- Ken and Bob crept to the edge, where Ken showed the decoy. The gobbler came in cautiously, but finally, Bob was able to make the shot at 15 yards. He was using a Remington Model 11-87 12 gauge topped with an Aimpoint sight and loaded with Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey shotshells filled with No. 6 nickel-plated shot. Swanson''s bird was an unusually large Rio Grand/Merriam''s hybrid turkey that weighed a tick over 22 pounds.