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hobbes

SD Black Hills

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hobbes

I hunted the SD Black Hills for the first time over this Memorial Day weekend.  We arrived later on Friday than what I'd planned, but tried to roost a bird without any luck.

 

A "new to me" 2012 Tundra that I bought day before this trip.

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hobbes

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hobbes

The next day started with lightning, wind, and light rain.  I didn't hear a peep and didn't really like the area that I was in.  It had been burned years before and had a lot of blowdowns that just didn't appeal to me.

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Don Steese

Nice trip and a nice truck! The Black Hills have become on of my favorite places! Love it there!!  

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hobbes

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hobbes

I did a lot of driving that afternoon looking the region over.  During the afternoon it stormed hard complete with hail.  I saw two hens the whole day, so was a little disappointed.  I was still digging the Tundra though. :)

 

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hobbes

The next day was much better weather so I picked a couple spots on the map and drove there in the dark.  The first two spots turned out to be closed trails that I thought would give me access in my truck, but were going to require almost parking in someone's yard.  I moved on and started listening at likely spots. I heard a bird gobbling at the second or third spot that I stopped.  He was likely still in the tree, so I started walking a really muddy forest road. I rounded a bend and there sat two cars with four hammocks hanging in the trees. I walked by them on the road and found a "road closed" sign and barricade.  I assumed that meant that I was on my own to hunt this bird, but I found a truck parked past the sign.  I  assumed that the hunter was on the bird and backed out.

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hobbes

I stopped a couple more spots listening then finally decided to hike in behind a gated trail.  I heard a bird a short ways in, but it turned out to be jakes and hens.  I heard a bird gobble a long ways back after bumping the flock of jakes and hens while trying to move.  I climbed up and over a couple ridges then sat and waited to see if he'd sound off again.  I didn't wait more than 10 minutes before he gobbled, but still sounded a long way. I dropped down, crossed a small creek, then climbed the next ridge to a big rolling opening with scattered patches of pines.

 

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hobbes

I set up and he started gobbling at anything that I threw at him but wouldn't budge.  He moved away from me, so I decided to risk moving up into the shade of anther patch of small pines.  It looked like I could make it 75 yards or so and stay out of sight before breaking over the hill.

 

The bird gobbled just before I sat down and was close, closer than I expected, just out below the drop in the terrain.  I sat down quick, got the gun up and yelped.  The bird gobbled from 50 yards at the most.   I waited with gun ready, confident he'd pop into view any second.  He didn't disappoint and within seconds I could see the top of his fan moving right to left and angling slightly towards me.  I started to see his head just as he cleared a small tree still strutting and drumming.  He then did me a favor at 32 yards and came out of strut and stretched his head out to look for the love of his life.  He never knew what hit him.

 

My first Black Hills turkey.  I don't plan on it being my last.

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hobbes

He had a little darker wings than most Merriam's that I've killed.  The white bars are usually more prominent in the birds that I kill.  It reminded me of an Eastern's primaries.  He had also been strutting a lot. 

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hobbes

I never want to wish that I'd taken more photos, so I stopped uphill in some rocks and took more.

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hobbes

Stitched panorama shot looking back down towards where I killed the bird 

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hobbes

I needed help getting a photo here, but did the best that I could.  I forgot that I could have rigged a tripod in my truck to hold my phone.

 

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tut

Great story for sure.  My buddy killed a bird there about 8 years ago.   He was hunting in an area that still had snow drifts that he had to navigate.  He also dealt with ever changing weather.  He believes it is one of the most fantastic and beautiful places to hunt turkeys.  You do for sure earn them as they say.  

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WMassGriff

Congrats and great story! BTW, what optic do you have on your shotgun? I use a saddle mount on one of my shotguns and considering changing out the red dot currently on it.

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