Here is another great turkey hunting story my friend Chris Coffey shared with me from his Nebraska hunt this year. Along with the Osceola I guided him for, this completed a 1 year grand slam, great work Chris!

 

(Story by Chris Coffey)

For those that have been following along for my quest to try and get a North American Grand Slam of Wild Turkey in a single season, I am happy to inform you that I did it! I am very proud and very humble. I have such a respect for the great wild turkey and to be able to travel around the country making new friends and seeing new places really drives home a very important point………I LOVE THIS STUFF!

Nebraska – Merriam’s

Chris-Coffey-Nebraska-Merriam-Gobbler-5-3-14
With 3/4 of the Grand Slam complete, I began to make last minute arrangements to try and get a Merriam’s hunt lined up. I was able to find a place to hunt and made room in the schedule for a weekend trip. After driving 6 hours on Friday, I found myself in Nebraska and ready for the next morning’s hunt.

My hunt took place on Saturday, May 3, 2014. With a very early alarm clock wake up, I looked outside to see nothing but stars, light wind, and cool temps. A perfect turkey morning.

I made the 20 minute drive to the hunting area and parked the truck in a secluded spot on top of a big ridge. Hurrying to get my gear together, I heard the first gobble and it was coming right from where my ground blind was situated. I made my way down to the blind and set out my Dave Smith Hen Decoy. As daylight began to creep over the landscape, the gobbles began to get more intense and more frequent!

After fly down, I began to call in hopes of drawing in one of the many gobbling birds I had heard. With each call, I began to hear the hens getting more aggressive. I stepped up the calling and before long, I had a whole group of hens coming right towards me. Final count had 12 very upset hens surrounding my decoy only 20 yards away.

It is amazing how well concealed you are in a Double Bull Ground Blind.

The hens began to fighting purr and flog the decoy at will. Having spent a lot of time in the turkey woods, I thought I was getting close to seeing it all……I was wrong. As the hens continued their assault of the decoy, one of the hens began to strut! I had never seen a hen reach full strut before, but she put on a show. And then, I heard it, the same hen that was strutting, let out a gobble!! If the hunt had ended there, I would have went home a happy hunter for that experience.

As you can imagine, with all the commotion, the gobbling birds finally made their way into the picture. As more and more red heads came into view, I got more and more excited. I then began to realize that all the birds that were now 20 yards and surrounding the decoy, were all jakes! Yes, 8 of them!! At one time, I had 20 turkeys within 30 yards of me and not a long beard in the bunch.

After things settled down and the birds finally started to move off, I happened to look to my right and noticed a full strut bird with a full fan coming my way! He was only 30 yards away and locked on to the DSD decoy. As you can imagine, I only let him walk into the first opening and took the 20 yard shot to anchor my first Merriam of the trip! He was an old bird, had good spurs and a double bird. What a start!

After gaining my composure and trying to take some solo pictures, I moved on in pursuit of my 2nd bird. Only traveling about 100 yards, I sat up and made some calls only to be cut off by an explosive gobble. I moved quickly to a cedar tree and began to call aggressively. Soon I seen 4 red heads headed my direction once again. As the birds got closer, I realized that they were again all jakes!

So, after some close interaction, I let them pass and moved on to my 3rd location. As I was slipping into position, I heard another gobble directly above me and not 100 yards away. Once again, I began to call and had an immediate response. There were hens with the birds and we began a cutting match that would have impressed any contest calling judge. That’s when I heard more gobbles from my right. With each call, they were cutting the distance in half. I moved my gun in that direction just soon enough to see 3 red heads heading right toward me. My eyes strained to make out the beards, but once again, I had called in 3 more jakes. After calling in 15 jakes in the first 3 set ups, I was beginning to think that I needed to try a new mouth call! LOL A quick look at the watch told me that it was 11:30 am and I then made my way back up to the truck for some lunch.

After a short bite to eat, I headed to the other side of the ranch in hopes that I could get away from the jakes and locate an older bird. Walking for what seemed like a mile, I finally found a set up that looked too good to be true. The large cotton wood tree was just off the edge of a picked cornfield with a dirt two-track lane right down the edge only 25 yards away. So, I set up my DSD hen decoy right in the road and settled in for the afternoon hunt. I made some calls and then looked at my watch to see that the time read 1:57 pm.

With all the excitement of the morning, traversing of the hilly terrain, and the long drive to get out west, my eyes began to weigh heavy and eventually closed shut for a quick siesta. Drifting off to turkey dreamland, I was woken by the sound of a spit-n-drum. I opened my eyes to see a turkey in full strut, 40 yards away, walking right down the road to my decoy. That’s when I saw the long beard hanging from his chest and knew that I was going to get my chance at another fully mature tom. “Just let him walk to the decoy”…I told myself. He is in love, so just let him come. You know, it is so hard to let a turkey walk by the first good opening. LOL You guessed it, the Benelli moved into position, the crosshairs were settle on the Nikon scope and the Nitro shells hit the turkey’s head hard. After a short walk to the bird and a glance at the watch, which read 2:15 pm, I had taken my 2nd Nebraska Merriam’s!

Chris Coffey - Nebraska Gobbler

Chris Coffey - Double Bearded Nebraska Merriam 5-3-14Taking solo pics is much harder than I anticipated. I will definitely have to practice a little more. Times like that sure do make me wish my Dad could have been there to help with the picture taking and to experience the joy of chasing Merriam’s gobblers out west!

 

Your friend,
Chris Coffey

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