Fred Tags A Merriam’s

Fred Lutger

After we took pictures and shot video of my set up of my Nebraska Eastern longbeard. I carried my gobbler and hung it in the garage we were using as a mud room for the hunt. I got out a new Grip Reaper broadhead and replaced the used one on my arrow.

Terry said the birds come out of the river bottom an hour before dark and make their way through the corn field before heading for the roost trees north of the ranch. I returned to my blind and started my afternoon vigilance.

Late in the day I spotted turkeys in the hedge row at the fare end of the field. This area is thick with trees and brush. The field farther east is a pasture with trees and drops into the tree thick bottom area of the Keya Paha river. The river is the east and north boundary of the Marcukaitis ranch. Both sides of the river are thick with Cedar, Oak and Cotton Wood trees.

The hens spent time picking through the downed corn stalks. They walked up to my decoys and one of the hens had an excited turkey conversation with my hen decoy. I talked to the hens with my mouth diaphragm.

I saw more turkeys heading my way. They were long beards, several of them.

I turned on my video camera and picked up my bow. Several gobblers stopped in the exact same spot where I shot my gobbler this morning.

I drew and heard the tell tell thunk and puff of airborne feathers from the arrow hit. The other gobblers pealed off to my left. The hens and the tom I shot went right.

I pulled out a second arrow. My gobbler was on his feet and did not run but walked with the hens heading for the right side of the field. I launched another arrow and missed. I could see my first arrow dragging on the ground behind my hit gobbler. All the birds disappeared in the tall grass and sumac. I glassed the area but the turkeys were out of sight. I waited until dark and walked back to the house.

I decided to wait until morning to look for my bird. I wasn’t sure of the hit and like any big game animal I like to back off and not run the risk of spooking the animal into the next county. The next morning I walked to the weeds and the last spot I saw the wounded wild turkey. There he was, a really nice long beard Merriam’s!

I was thrilled. I worry every time a wounded turkey gets out of sight. I walked him back to the house and made plans to fill my third tag.

I have 3/4 of my grand slam and can’t wait to head for Texas for my Rio. But wait. Saturday South Dakota’s season opens, and in a couple weeks Illinois spring wild turkey gets going. And I have several more days here in Nebraska to try and fill my third tag.

I love Spring.

EQUIPMENT: Fred used a F1 Fireball by Alpine Archery set at 70 pounds. It is smooth to draw and shot fast and accurate. His broadhead was the 100 grain Grim Reaper Whitetail Special with a 2-inch cut. This gobbler was down in 70 yards.

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