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Black Hills Adventure


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I came home from the Hills yesterday after a three and a half day hunt that started just as DonBo's finished.  Weather was ok in the mornings, bit cool, but rained most afternoons with snow on our last day.

 

Day 1. 

The first area we checked, which has been productive the last couple years, was not holding birds this year.  We scouted a few other past productive areas and again struck out with little to no sign and no birds located.  Finally went back to our old stomping grounds in a hard rain just to scout and found lots of sign that first evening.  Miserable conditions, so did not stay until dark, but did have one bird gobble in the rain.   Lots of elk sign in the area and I walked up to two bulls bedded, and as they left three more cows went with them.   

 

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Day 2.

Came back the next day and had birds gobbling on the roost.  I went after the first group while my uncle planned to cut back to another area that we suspected more would be in.  I had two flocks come together into one big flock with five mature gobblers and ten hens.  I dogged them for over three hours and had multiple close calls but no shots.  Finally got into some terrain where I could get ahead of them and was able to set up tight to the feeding flock.  They had split, and now came back together, and I was pinned in a rock pile with fighting gobblers just out of range.  Had to sit there watching for over a half hour unable to move and just hoped they would drift into me.  Finally one of the dominant toms chased another past me, and the bigger bird circled into a sunny spot in range and I was able to take the shot at 40yd.  We were not able to locate any more groups on public ground that day, and bad rain/sleet rolled in for the afternoon.  

 

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Day 3. 

Back to the same area, uncle still has his tag, and I am helping locate and call.  Birds did not cooperate off the roost, and we ended up on a long walk per the usual.  Went back to the "Killing Hill" as we like to call it and immediately had a tom fired up.  He came in slow, we had a bad position as we were not on the hill but on the open side like dummies...  I called him in to gun range for me, but my uncle has less range with his gun and could not take the shot.  Another gobbler came in from the opposite side and both proceeded to fight directly behind me.  My uncle turned around his tree, both toms were fighting just out of range for his gun.  Neither bird would come back in range.  We went back to the truck for a break and I left my uncle for lunch since he wanted to just sit and see what happens during mid-day.   Turns out he walked in on a small group not far from the truck and had to sit down in the open and try to call the bird closer.  That tom came in range but the grass was covering the head too much and my uncle did not want to take the shot.   

 

Day 4.  

Rain and snow over night, coldest day yet, and a bit breezy.  We had birds gobbling a little on roost but they were quiet after an early fly down.  We made some wrong moves and the birds went one way and we went the other...   A big flock of yard birds waved as we left for home.  

 

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Great bird Josh, I know you work hard for them.  Tough, beautiful country.  Sorry about the weather, it was perfect for us with the exeption of one afternoon of rain.

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