Since we have been in Wyoming, I had not hunted turkey. I knew we had Merriam turkey in the area, but when we lived in Kansas, the turkeys were everywhere, and I just did not see the challenge of hunting one. This year, with encouragement from Chris, I applied for a turkey tag. I kind of expected it to be relatively easy to fill this tag. We can use both the 22 Magnum and or centerfire here to hunt turkey, so I decided on an Anschutz 22 Mag for close and personal and the H-S Precision HSP 6XC for wide open areas. I ended up carrying each specialty pistol an equal period of time, even though it wasn?t planned that way. The terrain/amount of cover was the deciding factor each time. Chris carried his 284 Winchester center-grip XP-100 and an S&W 357 Magnum iron sighted revolver. My other hunting buddy, Tracey carried a Mossberg 12 gauge. When I was with Tracey, I carried the 22 Magnum and when I was Chris, I carried the 6XC HSP. I hunted a total of four days, walking from 7-10 miles each day in the Black Hills, up and down some fairly steep terrain at times. It was harder hunting for turkey than for my last couple of mule deer and antelope. I hunted two days with Chris and two days with Tracey. On the first two days of hunting we never saw a turkey on public land (We never hunted on private land). On the second day with Tracey, we heard a tom gobble a couple of times, but never saw him. The weather has been weird here this year too, with quite a bit of snow and cooler weather than normal. This past Saturday, I hunted with Chris again, which was my fourth day to hunt. All four times when we went out, we went to different places each time. I have learned more about hunting on public land around the Newcastle and Sundance areas. This past Saturday, the weather was forecast to be in the upper 70?s with wind. The morning hunt, was again a lot of walking, but we did see one young jake. It was nice to know, there was actually turkeys on public land. We took a lunch break and headed out again to the same area we had covered in the morning. As was typical, we saw turkey on private land, but nothing on public. During the afternoon, we heard a gobble, which ended up ensuing in a wild goose/turkey chase up a ridge, but again we never once laid eyes on them. While heading to another piece of public land we spied two toms by themselves, heading toward public land. We were able to get ahead of them and set up an ambush.
We were set up on rocks higher up the ridge that wasn?t the best rest, but it worked. Chris was to my right, and the turkeys should come out to our right on the bottom we assumed.
The first tom (my turkey) came out low, on the bottom of the ridge. My turkey (Compared to the one Chris was going for), was further down below us almost directly in front of me, but behind a tree (79 yards). I had to move to my left to get a clear shot on mine, and when I did, it was about at that time that the second turkey came out higher on the ridge and was to our right and closer, around the 50 to 55 yard range. The second turkey or Chris?s turkey, saw me moving to get in a shooting position and was alerted (Neck strung out high, looking at us). I still could not shoot, as my turkey was behind the tree. He had no idea we were there. Thankfully, Chris? tom was not spooked enough and finally mine cleared the tree, then, I had a limb directly in line with my bore. Finally, he moved left far enough and we were able to make a synchronized shot. If you have ever tried to do synchronized shooting, you realize it is not as easy as it looks. The synchronized shot under pressure or shooting on demand is what made everything so sweet. Shot placement was such, that we lost very little meat. What a sweet way to end the day.