If you live in Montana, two days of rain is nothing to complain about. In fact, out West rain is normally a much-welcomed happening, but if you’re hunting turkeys and your time is limited, two days of rain is nothing short of frustrating—maybe even infuriating.
It was my first opportunity to hunt Merriam’s turkey, supposedly the easiest of the turkey types to locate and call in. After a recent difficult hunt for Rio’s in South Texas, I was ready for easy—but it wasn’t meant to be.
Last Monday when I flew into Billings it was raining, drove about 85 miles east of Billings to Forsyth and it was still raining. Woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of steady rain that lasted all day long. Long story, short, southern Montana received more than 5 inches of rain in two days.
Everything was affected by the wet—people, turkeys, roads, vehicles, rivers, creeks and fields that became four-foot-deep lakes.The only thing that wasn’t phased by the rain was the Benelli Super Vinci, which we patterned in the rain. Shot great with Federal’s Mag-Shok Heavyweight Turkey load.
On Wednesday morning it was clear, but the turkeys were soaking wet and not sure what to do, so I guess they did what we did and stood around drying out. I assume that’s what they did because we heard them but never saw them that day. We set up in one spot, heard the swoosh of wings and looked up to see a drake blue wing teal happily swimming down a cow trail.
Thursday was our last day to hunt. Wildlife photographer, John Hafner, (www.johnhafnerphoto.com) and I split up to increase our chances, but that was the wrong call. John had some early-action luck and bagged a big gobbler by 7:30. If we’d stayed together a second long-beard would have been a slam-dunk.
I got over to John and we shot some photos, before we picked up the trail of the two gobblers and a hen that had been with John’s Tom. We had a long day of hard hunting with lots of walking up-and-down hills, but when the sun sank I was turkeyless. Weather happens and still it was a good hunt.