There is nothing like the first hard hunt of the season after the long winter months here in Idaho… the chance to get out, doe some Idaho turkey hunting, stretch your legs, and take in that mountain air.
My opportunity came last month when co-worker, Marc Warnke, and I needed to visit one of our outfitters for some Idaho turkey hunting. They are located in the central part of Idaho and offer incredible elk, deer, and bear hunting. The plan Saturday morning was to hike hard and really get a feel for the terrain, and if we were lucky, find some turkeys. We would then spend the evening with the Outfitter and explore another ranch we hadn’t had the chance to cover. We left town on a Friday. The drive seemed short with good conversation and before we knew it, we arrived at the ranch house.
The early part of the morning consisted of several shock and locating calls with no response. We soon found ourselves nearly six miles into our hunt and still no turkey action, although seeing many deer and elk. We continued on, up and over another ridge and dropping in a new canyon. We were greeted by a pack of howling coyotes. I started to bark-howl with my mouth reed and they were soon coming to run off the intruder. As they came up the bottom of the canyon we couldn’t help but notice one of them really stood out from the rest. It was much larger in size and was running the others off the whole way up the draw. As it came over the last roller at 80 yards we soon realized the stand-out was a wolf.
Unfortunately the wind was drifting down and the wolf was gone in a flash, followed close behind by the coyotes. As I watched them run over the ridge I picked up a muley shed in my binos. Yeah, Marc was a little jealous.
After a high-five and smiles from what we had just witnessed, we were on our way toward the shed and heard our first turkey gobble. It wasn’t long and we were trying to set up when the tom flew off the ridge toward our calls. Fortunately he landed short of us and we were able to get the decoy out and tuck into the brush. To our surprise he lifted again and landed within 40 yards of us. I made the decision to keep my bow pointed toward the decoy and he was soon within 10 yards. Noticing me, he dropped out of strut and was heading out. Marc sent a wad of shot his way but nothing connected. After more smiles and a couple jabs our hunt continued.
At around nine miles into our hunt and having seen hundreds of deer and elk, a moose, several coyotes, a nice tom, and a wolf, we expressed to each other what a great day it had been up to that point, and it still wasn’t over. We were walking an old logging road and I spotted another coyote below us. I grabbed Marc’s arm and we knelt down and began squeaking on the back of our hands. He was soon circling us for wind but made the mistake of stopping in range and I was able to send an arrow through its vitals. There is something special about those confidence booster shots. This led to more high-fives and a few pictures. We were soon back on the trail and heading toward the ranch house.
Not long after glassing the buildings we heard another gobble in the distance. The strategy was quickly decided and we were back on the hunt. During the final dissent of our set-up we bumped several deer toward the bird, which caused him to take flight down the canyon. We followed and were soon able to get him calling again. The long call session finally coaxed the bird close enough for Marc to get a shot and the tom was on the ground. This led to more high-fives, smiles, and another photo shoot. The hunt was concluded with a prayer over the bird and a two-mile walk back to where our journey began. We ended up hiking over 12 miles, saw abundant wildlife, and experiencing a hunt to remember. What a wonderful first outing.
Our arrival to meet the outfitter was expectedly late, but we had time to cover a portion of the other ranch and saw more amazing country as is usually the case with Idaho turkey hunting. We now know how Matt is able to consistently bring out trophy elk, deer, and bear as well as some great Idaho turkey hunting. For more information on this exclusive area and details of what I can offer as your personal hunting consultant, give me a call… I’m excited to help you with your hunting adventures. Good luck in 2011…….