I’ve never hunted turkeys before. So this year I decided to try it and got my Colorado Spring turkey tag. There are a number of zones that offer over-the-counter tags for spring turkey and so I was eager to try it out.
Now, to be honest, I didn’t know much about turkey hunting and I had actually never seen a wild turkey in Colorado, but I was told they were there and, hey, it was another opportunity for me to go hunting…..so sign me up!
As I said, I didn’t know a thing about turkey hunting in Colorado, but it’s amazing the resources that out there. Things like the Colorado Turkey School offered by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, talking with other hunters, and about a million YouTube videos made me feel like quite the turkey expert.
I’ve mentioned before the Colorado Hunting Atlas and once again this was a great resource as I started to narrow down where I wanted to hunt. I was doing a public land hunt so I wanted to be smart with where I hunted. I did on the on-line research I could……studying maps and google earth, looking at past turkey draw results and checking out online forums. I narrowed my search down to a specific area where there was a trailhead into national forest land.
Now, looking back I should have spent a bit more time scouting, but weather and time restraints didn’t allow me to get out till the season had already started. Still my hopes were high.
The first time I went out was fairly disappointing. The entire area that I had planned on hunting was going through a major construction phase and the entire section of road was closed for any parking. I had a great area to hunt, but no way to get there. I drove around for a couple hours and finally found a place to walk through a fair ways from my original hunting area. Of course….no sign of turkeys.
I did some more research and found another area that looked interesting. I headed out up the mountain to try it again.
Still no turkeys.
I was beginning to wonder if the Colorado Turkey was a myth. With no sign and no turkey sounds, my first season of turkey hunting wasn’t going very well.
I don’t know the hunting equivalent to “When life give you lemons…” but in this case, my unsuccessful turkey hunt did become something else that was a lot of fun.
As I came over a ridge, I saw an elk antler shed right in front of me! It was a fairly heavy 6-point. As I looked around, I saw that there was elk sign everywhere. I briefly looked around for the other side…just in case it was close, but didn’t see anything. I strapped the shed to my backpack and continued up the mountain….still in search of that elusive turkey….but excited to find this nice shed.
About 600 yards up the mountain I stopped and ate some lunch and then started heading down the same general direction I came….just a little lower. As I came up over a rise, I looked down into a little bowl and couldn’t believe it….there was the other side of the shed! This had a couple points that were broken off, but it clearly was the other pair. It ended up being a very nice 6×6 shed pair.
I grabbed the shed and continued my trek down the mountain. Still no turkeys but around the corner, not 75 yards away, was yet another shed. This one was smaller for sure but was just about a 6-point.
At this point, the sheds were getting too much for my backpack and I had to start carrying them. I took my shotgun in one hand and somehow wrestled the three sheds in my other hand. Not very convenient…..not very comfortable….and not very quiet. But it got the job done.
I can’t say that I was super excited when just 50 yards away I came across the second half of the smaller shed. I was excited and shocked that I found it of course….but my arms were starting to feel it a bit and I
thought I better not find too many more.
This shed was idea the second half, but proved to be the smallest of the bunch with just 4 points.
I’m sure if any turkey would have seen me struggling down the mountain with a shotgun and 4 elk sheds, I probably could have killed it by making it laugh to death.
I finally reach my vehicle…..not successful in my turkey hunt, but amazingly successful for elk sheds. I know I’ll get a turkey someday, but I’m always happy to turn a turkey hunt into an elk shed hunt!
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