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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Today was the Nebraska archery opener and, after getting my first bird with a recurve in Montana this past Fall, I wanted to go for another first and score one with my Parker Tornado F4 crossbow. I ended up bagging this Tom a little after 1PM after a slow, quiet morning.

I made the hilarious mistake of laying down in the blind for a quick nap after lunch that ended up being a *really quick* nap. 10 minutes into my snooze I awoke to the sound of this 27 pound bully beating the snot out of my Avian-X half-strut Jake like a speed bag. Got in the chair as fast as I could, put the crosshairs just to the side of his beard on a quartering angle and let one go at about 9 yards.

The spurs were a pedestrian 1", but the beard measured a solid 10.5", and after having him weighed at the taxidermist, this one is officially my new biggest bird.

This had to be angriest, toughest turkey I've ever seen, with the most shocking will to fight. The instant that the 125 gr. Slick Trick smacked trough his vitals, he staggered backward for a second, collected himself...and went back to continue beating on the decoy until he slumped on top of it dead, slithering to the ground!


This is exactly how he curled up and died. You can see the blood trail from where he stumbled and traveled back to continue the fight. He left quite a mess on the deke:










While it looked like it was going to be a fruitless day when the birds came off the roost in the wrong direction and were silent once landed, sticking with it into the afternoon paid off nicely. I love having the early archery split out here, even though it takes non-resident tag fees to take advantage.
 

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Wow! Congrats!! Pretty cool hunt! On my bucket list to go out of state to someplace that has an early turkey season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Wow! Congrats!! Pretty cool hunt! On my bucket list to go out of state to someplace that has an early turkey season.
Thanks!

Unless you're going for a Grand Slam, Nebraska would be an excellent choice. I say that because most of the state has hybrid birds that are genetically mixed with multiple subspecies (lots of Rio/Eastern hybrids near me, as is the one I bagged) and won't count toward a proper Slam, but the success rates here are off the charts. Last season, I want to say that statewide hunter success was right around 65%.

While this hunt was on a 10-acre private farm, I've killed the vast majority of my birds here on public. Hardly anyone archery hunts turkey on public out this way, and you can have a LOT of space to yourself this time of year. With a season start date for archery (good for both crossbows and vertical bows) during the last week of March, I know guys who have called in birds over a good bit of snow before other states are even close to starting.
 

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Thats an awesome bird. Congrats. I really want to get back to NE soon. We loved it when we were out there. I really wanna get back and try my luck on public land. When we were there we saw a ton of birds. Good job on your bird.
 

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Nice bird congrats!!
 
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Cool story !!

I am always amazed at how many of the "mixed" birds there are between about Grand Island and Lincoln …………..that end of the state. And what's cool is, you'll see a field with 3 strutters and one looks like an Eastern, one looks like a Merriam's and one looks like a Rio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thats an awesome bird. Congrats. I really want to get back to NE soon. We loved it when we were out there. I really wanna get back and try my luck on public land. When we were there we saw a ton of birds. Good job on your bird.
Nice work, have to hit Nebraska some time...
Cool story !!

I am always amazed at how many of the "mixed" birds there are between about Grand Island and Lincoln …………..that end of the state. And what's cool is, you'll see a field with 3 strutters and one looks like an Eastern, one looks like a Merriam's and one looks like a Rio.
Thanks again, guys! As a Philly transplant who knew nothing of the Midwest world, I was scared to death of how "Podunk" this stretch of the country is. Of course, that feature is exactly what makes Nebraska amazing for outdoorsmen. While 90% of the of the state is private, the public lands (state management areas and leased CRP lands) are extremely well managed. You get 3 spring gobblers in this state and I filled all 3 tags last season on public land (2 on opening day). As Strut10 can attest, it doesn't hurt that the hybrid birds out here - showing any number of features from multiple subspecies - are all very unique and grow huge.

The left and center fans in this pic are NE hybrids. The bird on the left was shot last season and shows primarily Rio Grande plumage. The bird in the center was shot the year prior very close to the area as the one on the left, yet shows mostly Merriam's plumage. The one on the right is a pure Merriam's shot in Montana (note the faint copper colored band in the black part of the fan).

 

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Congrats Six-Gun great way to start the season. I used to hunt Rio's in Kansas in the early 90's, I think now Kansas has a lot of Rio/Eastern hybrids but is still predominantly Rio's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Congrats Six-Gun great way to start the season. I used to hunt Rio's in Kansas in the early 90's, I think now Kansas has a lot of Rio/Eastern hybrids but is still predominantly Rio's.
That's exactly how I've heard it, too, regarding Kansas' sub-species breakout. In fact, I'm scheduled for my first ever guided hunt in Kansas to try and bag a pure Rio. The guide's big marketing pitch is "NO HYBRIDS", which is presumably driven by a lot of outfits selling Rio Grande hunts in areas that have a more likely chance at a hybrid bird but pitching the hunt like it's for a pure bird.
 

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Great hunt the smile says it all.. I have family with several hundred acres in NE but never have approached them about hunting...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great hunt the smile says it all.. I have family with several hundred acres in NE but never have approached them about hunting...
If it's in the cards to go there and hunt, I can only highly encourage you to do your best and get out there. What part of the state? We do have some pure Merriam's turkey's in the far northwest/panhandle corner.
 

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If it's in the cards to go there and hunt, I can only highly encourage you to do your best and get out there. What part of the state? We do have some pure Merriam's turkey's in the far northwest/panhandle corner.
They are in the S/W near Sidney.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
They are in the S/W near Sidney.
Oh, wow - you would have a legit shot at a pure Merriam's bird in that panhandle corner if you can get out there.

By the way, I looked up historical success rates and while rates average in the high 50 to low 60 percentile, 2010 Fall season was a one to remember: overall harvest success statewide was 84.6%!!
 

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Thats just plain awesome. Great way to start the spring turkey season off. Congrats.
 

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That's exactly how I've heard it, too, regarding Kansas' sub-species breakout. In fact, I'm scheduled for my first ever guided hunt in Kansas to try and bag a pure Rio. The guide's big marketing pitch is "NO HYBRIDS", which is presumably driven by a lot of outfits selling Rio Grande hunts in areas that have a more likely chance at a hybrid bird but pitching the hunt like it's for a pure bird.
I lived in Cheney Ks at the time and hunted the Byron Walker Wildlife Area West of Kingman some, but mostly hunted a farm that was two sections with the Ninnescah River running through it. That big cottonwood creek bed was rank with turkeys at the time and no one hunted them but this Pa. boy. Non residents couldn't hunt deer at that time in Kansas, but my dad would fly out and hunt turkeys with me, some great memories.
 
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