The spring of 2017 brought a new adventure for myself and hunting buddy Jimmy Wilhelm. He was needing a second Colorado gobbler for his goal of 2 superslams and I was just out to hunt turkeys. As with any long distance hunt trip preparation had begun months earlier. Jimmy has all kinds of resources and contacts and he chose Daniel Borrego of Trujillo Creek Outfitters in Aguilar Colorado for this hunt. For me half the adventure is traveling new ground and enjoying different sights. Its not all about just going and shooting turkeys but I really don't mind that part either. The western states offer adverse terrain and a different experience than the eastern woodlands. Not to say its easier or harder just different. Depending on your location you could be hunting Merriams, Rios and still the Eastern subspecies of wild turkey. Goulds in the U.S. are found in southern Arizona but we were far from there this trip. In our particular location there was a mix of Merriams, Rios and hybrids. I would say in most cases half the challenge is weather followed by locating and trying to pattern birds in a short amount of time depending on your trip schedule. As with your home turf the old Toms still like the ladies and you just have to try and find the one that will cooperate. We arrived in the town of Aguilar midday and met our host Daniel Borrego for details. We followed him several miles outside of the desolate town to an old ranch home in the foothills which really offered a "step back in time" experience.
(Back view of ranch house)
(Near the front yard..an old wagon from times forgotten covered with a dusting of snow greeting us the 3rd morning of our hunt)
Once Daniel showed us the property lines he departed to continue his ranch work and the hunting was up to us. After unloading our bags we started scouting and later that evening watched some turkeys from a distance. We could have hunted that evening but decided to see what all moved about before we jumped in and spooked them. We watched a flock of birds with a couple nice Toms feed in a bottom near a creek. Once evening set in they retreated to the tree line which bordered a cattle pasture and went to roost. Jimmy and I decided on a game plan of covering each end of the pasture against the tree line the following morning. If in fact the birds came down and hens pulled them either way one of us would at least get a chance. That morning we crossed the creek on a deadfall log bridge. Luckily the log was there because the majority of the creek water was from snow melt off the mountain peaks and it was deep and cold. Getting to our spots we chose from a distance the evening before it was a matter of waiting on daybreak. As I sat and listened to coyotes carry on a the sky brighten up I heard the familiar sound of tree yelps maybe 150 yards away. I let them have their time just listening to the language. Getting about that "flydown time" feeling I purred a little on my copper call. I eventually put in a little wing beat and cackling letting them know they had company.
A few minutes later the flock appeared at the edge of the treeline. I got some hard stares my way with some raspy cutting and yelping from a mouth call. I watched a couple scraps and listened to a mess of hens as they went about their morning roll call. Luckily I had put out a jake decoy over a sitting hen to try and pull something my way. I watched the biggest Tom and every time he would look my way with interest I would purr and cluck. Maybe 10 minutes had elapsed and the main hen group started back into the wood line. The best Tom at the rear was accompanied by a satellite gobbler and I figured to go above and beyond my normal calling routine. The Tom came out of strut to follow his hens and I began some cutting mixed with wing beats to give him something out the norm to grab his attention. He looked my way again and I purred a couple times. He peeled off in my direction for about 10 steps. It was then he saw the decoy and the sitting hen in the grass. I guess at this moment he figured some sneaky jake had wrangled one of his hens away and his walk pace hastened. Half blown up he was on a mission headed my way and there was no need for any more calling. I focused on his approach gun on knee picking my spot watching his body language. Its always nice to get them close but be wary of getting busted. The closer they get the more they pick up on if just a simple finger twitch to unhinge the safety with a click. At 50 yards I pushed my safety off and focused on bead alignment of my Browning auto 10 ga. At 50 yards our game ended and the tom was in hand. I waited awhile before exposing my hiding spot hoping Jimmy would have some luck on the other end of the field but the birds had enough that morning. I went out to check out the tom and he was a good gobbler.