My six-hour drive to the Sooner State flew by. Visions of my Colorado Merriam and my pair of Nebraska Rios danced in my mind. I kept replaying both hunts over and over again, and before I knew it, my Chevy was rolling down familiar red-dirt road.
I’ve always said Croton Creek Outfitters is one of my favorite places on earth. Aside from the 5,000 acres of well-managed deer and turkey dirt, Scott and Joni Sanderford are two of my closest friends. Our families spend a lot of time together throughout the year, and I was excited to see what Scott had up his sleeve for the evening hunt.
The plan was pretty simple: Set up in the corner of a wheat field the birds like to cruise through on their way to roost. We got in the blind plenty early, trail camera footage showed the first birds hitting the field no earlier than 4 p.m. It was just past 2:30 p.m. when I had the Double Bull set and tied down, and my Avian-X trio set. Scott was setting up our camera gear and mixing one of his favorite drinks: water and red Kool-Aid. Hey, whatever works, right? We passed the time talking about hunts past and the many adventures the two of us will be sharing in the coming months.
A pair of 5:35 p.m. gobbles halted our conversation. The birds were a good way off, but were willingly gobbling on their own. Using my Zink Power Hen Slate and Purple Heart Striker, I let out a few soft yelps. Nothing. A few minutes ticked by and a grip of hens appeared at the south end of the field (the opposite direction from which the gobbles were coming). The hens couldn’t see our fakes due to a rise in the hill and passed by in a hurry. A short time later a gobbler popped out in the same spot the hens had come from, then another and another. The two once boisterous gobblers had circled the field and joined forces with a third. Switching to my diaphragm, I let out a series of soft, content purrs and clucks. The first tom started down the hill toward our position, but turned and hung up at a distance of 50 yards (confirmed by my Nikon rangefinder). The other two birds came on a string, and eventually broke into a run. The duo began flogging the Avian-X Jake and trying to climb on top of the Lay Down Hen. With the video camera rolling, I pulled back my Mathews Halon 6, settled my Montana Black Gold single-pin and pulled through my Scott Hex Hunter release. The Rage tipped Carbon Express found its mark and the tom collapsed within sight of the decoys. As for the other two birds, they didn’t miss a beat, the jake flogging and hen mounting continued. I could have shot another bird, but Scott and I are planning to do a run-and-gun style hunt with a fan later in the week when my family arrives.
Stay tuned, as team Grand View Outdoors members Derrick Nawrocki (VP of Grand View Outdoors) and Jared Pfeifer (Group Publisher) arrive at Croton Creek in a few days. Then, later in the week, I will be joined by my son Hunter and wife Amy. It’s sure to be an amazing time!