Spring 2004 Turkey Hunting

Fri Apr 30

Got up friday morning and quickly packed up my backpack and my laptop. I hit the road around noon or so and started the long trek down I-25. The weather was pretty snowy and traffic through denver was a pain. There were about 5 or 6 crashes in Colorado Springs. I managed to just avoid rear ending someone who slammed on their brakes.

Got a phone call from B, looks like D wasn't able to come down until monday or so so he needed a ride. We determined to meet at the rental car return (He was returning a car) in Albquerque around 7pm. There must have been a weather curse of some kind on the town of Las Vegas. When I got there it started hailing a lot of mushy hail (enough to where there was probibly 4-6" of ice in the road) and then promptly stopped as soon as I got to the other side of town. Managed to get to the car rental return at right around 7pm and picked up B. Kept driving down I-25 and managed to get to the trailhead around 11:15 or so. V and K were already there and setup. We chatted for a while and then everyone passed out.

Pictures from Friday

Sat May 1

Decided that since I hadn't gotten more than a few hours sleep the last few days, and that we had almost never seen or heard turkeys near the trailhead, I decided to sleep in and let B go turkey hunting by himself.

Got up around 9am or so and chatted with V and K and B when he got back. He heard some gobbles, but nothing nearby. We then took a few before pictures and packed up and hit the trail. The trail used to start down in the valley and just go gently upstream, but then a few years ago the people with private land in the valley complained and used some kind of pull and got them to change the trailhead. Now it starts way up high and winds down thru a smaller valley, then down into the valley with the membres river and cooney canyon. So what was once a mile of easy upstream is now about 3 miles of pretty nasty up and down switchbacks. We managed to take it pretty easy and make reasonable time. We did meet up with a guy and his young daughter that were going down to camp just overnight, but didn't see anyone else.

Managed to get camp all setup in pretty short order. Got a fire setup and tent up and so forth. Since V and B are two of the old role-playing group we started up a nice role-playing game, with me refing. Was fun to do for old times. We pretty much wiled away the days and early evenings playing.

Around 6pm we started getting ready to go out and hunt the evening hours. I decided I should go and visit the great outdoors restroom (squatting behind a tree) and what should I see but 2 turkeys about 100yrds away. The front one was definitely a tom, but I didn't see a good view of the other one. Of course they would show up when I was away from camp without my shotgun and with my pants down. Ran back to camp hoping not to spook them, but by the time we went over they were gone. They must have heard me running back to camp. We then hunted up the valley trying to call them in, but no sign of them.

Got back to camp around 8pm or so. My stove is sucking pretty bad. Tried to boil up some rice dish for dinner, and it took forever and ever. Finally ate and got to sleep.

Pictures from Saturday

Sun May 2

Started the day at around 5:30. Quick getting dressed and getting shotguns and heading out to hunt. Headed downstream some today to a big medow that we saw a lot of turkey sign in the other day. Saw a gigantic bull elk down near the creek. He saw us and ran about 150yrds away and stopped and looked back at us. He was very handsome. Got setup and did some calling. Managed to call in a hen. She didn't make any noise, just showed up. Looked around and then flew off. A short time later we got a few gobbles from the mountain side. We headed closer and tried to call that tom in, but he shut up after a while and we had no luck. Gave up and got back to camp around 10am or so.

Took a nice nap and do some role-playing to while the day away. B managed to clean out the nozzles on my stove and it works MUCH better now. It's very hard to get it to adjust low enough of a flame now however. Oh well, at least it boils water in a few minutes instead of 15 or so. Will have to look at it more when I get home.

Didn't have much luck in the evening hunt at all. Went upstream, but didn't get any turkeys to talk to us.

I didn't take any pictures sunday. Must have forgotten that I had a camera with me. ;)

Mon May 3

Got up again at 5:30 and headed up the trail today. Got a gobbler interested on the canyon side. He started coming in pretty close, then decided he would talk back to us, but not come down. Tried various calls to get him down, but after a while he just wandered off. Hiked back to camp and got back around 10 or so.

Around 5pm or so D showed up. He was pretty tired from the hike in, so B and I went upstream and D and V were going to just hang around camp. Had a few distant gobbles, but nothing much. Got back around 8:30pm quite after dark. D and V heard a gobbler just down canyon from our camp just after dark, so we determined to get down there tomorrow.

Pictures from Monday

Tue May 4

Got up a bit eariler today, around 5:15 or so. Got up and went down canyon. Sure enough, there was a close in gobbler down there. Setup and tried to call him down, but he was having none of it. Finally he stopped answering. Looks like he was up in a roost, and when he went down he wandered up over the ridge instead of coming down to us. Tried a few other places and hiked up some pretty steep fingers, but didn't get any other calls.

V offered to hike out with me to the trailhead and back in to get some things from the cars, etc. He's in much better shape than the rest of us slackers. Got back from hunting around 9am, and packed up and left camp around 10:30am or so. The trail is a good deal more painfull out than in is in. Lots more uphill on the way out. Managed to huff and puff my way back to the trailhead around 2pm or so. Transfered some things around and then hit the road to head back home.

Tried to get my voice mail at the trailhead by standing on a stump and holding my arms way up, and it connected and I got a message from J who was house/dog sitting for me about some problem with the dogs, but the phone cut out before I could hear what it was. ;( So, I drove on down the road and got better coverage and tried again. Turns out kurt got a big gash in his shoulder, and she was going to take him into the vet to get it stiched up. About 15 stiches later he was doing ok. Drove all the way back to denver and got in about 1am wed morning.

Pictures from Tuesday

All in all a quite fun trip. Got to visit with a lot of old friend and re-live our role-playing, turkey hunting, backpacking days. I wish I had been in better shape, but I managed to do ok. I probibly walked 4-5miles a day when hunting and more on the days we hiked in and out.

Kevin Fenzi
Last modified: Wed May 5 16:27:33 MDT 2004