>Dottie’s Bird

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>Colorado’s weather can be crazy…to say the least. Yesterday was beautiful Spring weather the kind that’s made for chasing wild turkeys in the high country! Today is the exact opposite! It’s cold and rainy…could even snow! It’s been awhile since my last blog post…work has been extremely nuts which I’m grateful for in this crazy, unpredictable economy. I’ve had my mind on chasing wild turkeys…day and night. I missed 6 times with my bow in Kansas for various comical reasons…it’s much tougher than it looks on those outdoor shows. I had the absolute time of my life! April first was made for chasing long beards with a stick and string…I’ll be in KS next year!

I had a very nice tom coming to my decoy last Thursday night in Southern Colorado, but whiffed the shot with my Thompson Center Encore at 50 yards down hill…he’d have came right to my decoys but a truck was coming down the road and the bird was ready to blow out of there. I’ve been practicing 50 yard shots and felt fairly confident…I shot clear over his head. So much for practice.

The turkey-monkey (a term coined by my friend Julian) was finally removed from my proverbial back yesterday in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado when I harvested a nice rough-necked gobbler. I didn’t even have to use a Claymore mine loaded with cranberries as was suggested by Julian!

I woke up late…which put me at my spot (5:45 am) after the birds had hit the ground. I’d figured that I’d missed the prime time for locating a gobbling tom, so I sat back against the tree and started day dreaming. To my surprise, two hens came off the ridge behind me and strolled right past where I was sitting…they were 2 feet to my left as they passed me. Those beautiful gals starting their seductive clucking and purring while I just sat motionless against the spruce tree. Within 5 minutes, a love-sick tom was gobbling and heading my way on the logging road to my right. When he appeared in full strut, I almost laughed out because he only had 4 feathers in his fan…he was displaying what tail was left his very best! It was all over by 6:30 am. When I shot him, 2 other gobblers were on their way to our location…they both gobbled at my shot. My first thought was that this tom had been fighting with the other birds for dominance…hence the loss of the tail feathers. As I approached him on the ground, I noticed a large abrasion on his thigh the size of my fist. Gobbler fights? I’m not sure! Possibly a predator was trying to capitalize on a love-sick gobbler…this one escaped by the feathers in his tail!

This story has an interesting interlude…while I was hiking in the back country later in the day, I came across a grave site on National Forest Lands in the absolute middle of no where…an eerie, hair-standing-on-the-back-of-my-neck feeling of someone watching drifted over me! How I stumbled onto this place is beyond me! I don’t think I could find my way back to Dottie’s Resting Place even if I wanted to! Finding Dottie’s Ridge has made me reflect on my own mortality…I’d like to be laid to rest at the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains with my beloved bird dogs and my Filson boots laced…listening to Merriam’s carrying on their Spring ritual.

Dottie’s Ridge


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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy W. says:

    >Shawn, I loved your post. That is a nasty flesh wound on that bird’s leg. I wonder if a coyote or mountain lion attacked it. Probably better that you put him out of his misery. Brother, the cool thing is that you took a turkey in an area that you found yourself and where the birds aren’t very thick. Are there any grouse in that area? Glad you had success.

  2. Scolopax says:

    >Shawn, Congratulations. Well done indeed!.Did you by any chance hear a ‘Thump’, when you picked your Turkey up?Well that would be the sound of the ‘Turkey Monkey’ falling off!.Great photos by the way.Scolopax.

  3. >Nice story… should call my mom today.all bestA.

  4. Dual Setters says:

    >Nice bird, congrats. Its Coyotes round here that take advantage of strutting Toms.

  5. Matt Ortiz says:

    >Shawn,I’m that this hunt will be on that you will never forget. Matt

  6. Mike Spies says:

    >ShawnI have never hunted turkeys. Many areas that I hunt have large and mostly unmolested populations of these huge birds.Used to reant a place on the Grande Ronde and in the AM before I let the dogs out of the mud room, I had to go out and chase the turkeys off the area around the house – as many as 75 or 100 birds flying in all directions. Then I could let the dogs out without having to chase them down and corral them. Maybe one day I will hunt them, for now it is simply great to see them in fine country.Mike

  7. Eric G says:

    >Shawn,Congratulations on a Turkey with a bow, that is quite the feat! This past weekend was my first Turkey hunt and I’m completely addicted.Thanks for sharing about the grave you found. I stumbled across something similar on a ridge in Wyoming hunting for elk last fall. Gave me chills too.Great post!Eric

  8. >Shawn:I’m glad it finally happened. Another year without a turkey and you would have been a basket case!Memories of this one and where it happened will never go away. That’s what it is all about.

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