Boots on the ground for chasing spring turkeys

My New Dryshod Boots Saved The Day

The thundering gobble echoed through the trees at 5:22 a.m. We had already been sitting in the woods for an hour and it was surprisingly comfortable. It was the middle of May and temperatures were in the 50’s with no pesky insects to speak of. I honestly did not know what to expect and had my trusty ThermaCell wafting up an earthy scent next to me to my right.

Adding to the level of comfort was a new pair of boots that came highly recommended from Rush Outdoors host Tim Andrus of Barker. When he heard I was in the market for a new pair of footwear, he told me hands-down I needed to get a pair of Dryshod boots. I took him up on his offer.

It was a year ago, while turkey hunting with my good friend Dennis Morris of Youngstown on his property in Wilson, that I discovered that my old boots had a hole in them. We had received over an inch of rain the night before, forcing us to come up with secondary options the last minute due to excessive flows of water in normally more subdued field ditches. It only took about 5 minutes of walking to find the inside of my boots just as wet as the outside. More than 15,000 steps later (based on pedometer calculations), my feet were killing me. I ended up with a serious blood blister underneath my big toe. It was the final reminder of last year’s hunt, a mark that had just disappeared in the last week.

I was back out with Morris this year, and he was 20 yards behind me social distancing, making calls to try and entice the tom into range by making yelps, cuts, and purrs. Morris has been a buddy for a long time, sharing not only plenty of time in the woods and on the water, but also on the ice and a ball field. His nickname of “Merc” was after the quick-footer Mercury Morris who played for the Miami Dolphins years ago. My buddy was fleet-footed, too. He still is … for his age.

As I set up into position based upon the direction of the gobbles, I thought about last year’s hunt and how uncomfortable I was with wet aching feet. These new boots were the Nosho Ultra Hunt boots that are guaranteed to keep my feet warm and dry. With six layers of protection, my comfort range was from minus-50 degrees to 65 degrees F. I had nothing to worry about in that department and I could focus all my attention on the love-sick bird heading my way.

Turkey hunting has always been my nemesis. Something always seems to happen to me when I am chasing these elusive birds in the spring. This morning hunt would prove no different.

It took a little while for the morning light to filter through the trees and the lighting was muted when the bearded bird made his appearance out in front of me. He was just on the other side of a fallen tree and as I slowly scanned the woods, I noticed an opening to the right that could be the perfect spot for the bird to move in closer to me.

I shifted to the right ever so slowly as the bird’s white head disappeared behind a tree. I waited for the bird to hit the opening. It had stopped. My heart raced and I wondered what he was doing. It was around that time that I could feel a small spot on my underside starting to feel hot. I was sitting on my ThermaCell! Yes, there is a small hot-spot inside my unit, and I guess I never realized how hot it can get in there. A good future tip is to keep your ThermaCell on the left side of you if you are right-handed.

The bird walked into the opening and for a moment its head appeared. My focus was on my burning butt. I quickly estimated the range to be about 50 yards. Close enough to pull the trigger? I decided against it. If it stepped on this side of the log through the opening, I would take him.

The bird stayed to the outside and moved into some thick brush. My gun was trained on the brush as I waited for the turkey to reappear. It was at that time that Morris saw me jump up and sweep something out from underneath me and go back to pointing my shotgun at the brush. When he heard why it would make him chuckle.

That was when I heard the bird off to my right. Morris had seen the bird move through because of where he was, but its movement was obscured from my line of sight. The bird moved on the back side of Morris’ call and then disappeared when it could not see any hens around. With the bird putting its own social distancing mechanism into place, Morris and I came up with another plan. We would work back around because we thought we could hear a second bird off in the distance earlier in the morning.

About an hour later, we had not one but two birds working – both in opposite directions. It became evident that one bird was more dominant than the other, out gobbling the other and quickly moving toward the sound of the bird we were making.

There was a huge deadfall in front of me and in hindsight, it would have been better to be in front of it than behind it. But we needed to react quickly. As the gobbler projected its call, it sounded like he would be coming out the left side of the fallen tree. It was close! I was set up and ready. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. A white head stuck out, on the right side of the tree! He had outsmarted me!

I tried to shift back into position for a shot, but my prime opportunity was gone. Ultimately, it was probably my movement that alerted the bird that something was not quite right.

The morning was not a total loss. Even though it had rained several times, it was still an exciting morning of turkey hunting. And my feet were as dry and comfortable as when we first walked in. Check out www.dryshodusa.com for more information.

Incidentally, I also tried the company’s Legend Camp Shoe for an earlier fishing outing on the Niagara River and the temperature was below freezing in March. My toes never felt a bit of cold, offering a comfort range to minus 10 degrees. Now that I think about it, we were as successful that day on the water as we were on this turkey hunt – but that’s another story.

The thundering gobble echoed through the trees at 5:22 a.m. We had already been sitting in the woods for an hour and it was surprisingly comfortable. It was the middle of May and temperatures were in the 50’s with no pesky insects to speak of. I honestly did not know what to expect and had my trusty ThermaCell wafting up an earthy scent next to me to my right.

Adding to the level of comfort was a new pair of boots that came highly recommended from Rush Outdoors host Tim Andrus of Barker. When he heard I was in the market for a new pair of footwear, he told me hands-down I needed to get a pair of Dryshod boots. I took him up on his offer.

It was a year ago, while turkey hunting with my good friend Dennis Morris of Youngstown on his property in Wilson, that I discovered that my old boots had a hole in them. We had received over an inch of rain the night before, forcing us to come up with secondary options the last minute due to excessive flows of water in normally more subdued field ditches. It only took about 5 minutes of walking to find the inside of my boots just as wet as the outside. More than 15,000 steps later (based on pedometer calculations), my feet were killing me. I ended up with a serious blood blister underneath my big toe. It was the final reminder of last year’s hunt, a mark that had just disappeared in the last week.

I was back out with Morris this year, and he was 20 yards behind me social distancing, making calls to try and entice the tom into range by making yelps, cuts, and purrs. Morris has been a buddy for a long time, sharing not only plenty of time in the woods and on the water, but also on the ice and a ball field. His nickname of “Merc” was after the quick-footer Mercury Morris who played for the Miami Dolphins years ago. My buddy was fleet-footed, too. He still is … for his age.

As I set up into position based upon the direction of the gobbles, I thought about last year’s hunt and how uncomfortable I was with wet aching feet. These new boots were the Nosho Ultra Hunt boots that are guaranteed to keep my feet warm and dry. With six layers of protection, my comfort range was from minus-50 degrees to 65 degrees F. I had nothing to worry about in that department and I could focus all my attention on the love-sick bird heading my way.

Turkey hunting has always been my nemesis. Something always seems to happen to me when I am chasing these elusive birds in the spring. This morning hunt would prove no different.

It took a little while for the morning light to filter through the trees and the lighting was muted when the bearded bird made his appearance out in front of me. He was just on the other side of a fallen tree and as I slowly scanned the woods, I noticed an opening to the right that could be the perfect spot for the bird to move in closer to me.

I shifted to the right ever so slowly as the bird’s white head disappeared behind a tree. I waited for the bird to hit the opening. It had stopped. My heart raced and I wondered what he was doing. It was around that time that I could feel a small spot on my underside starting to feel hot. I was sitting on my ThermaCell! Yes, there is a small hot-spot inside my unit, and I guess I never realized how hot it can get in there. A good future tip is to keep your ThermaCell on the left side of you if you are right-handed.

The bird walked into the opening and for a moment its head appeared. My focus was on my burning butt. I quickly estimated the range to be about 50 yards. Close enough to pull the trigger? I decided against it. If it stepped on this side of the log through the opening, I would take him.

The bird stayed to the outside and moved into some thick brush. My gun was trained on the brush as I waited for the turkey to reappear. It was at that time that Morris saw me jump up and sweep something out from underneath me and go back to pointing my shotgun at the brush. When he heard why it would make him chuckle.

That was when I heard the bird off to my right. Morris had seen the bird move through because of where he was, but its movement was obscured from my line of sight. The bird moved on the back side of Morris’ call and then disappeared when it could not see any hens around. With the bird putting its own social distancing mechanism into place, Morris and I came up with another plan. We would work back around because we thought we could hear a second bird off in the distance earlier in the morning.

About an hour later, we had not one but two birds working – both in opposite directions. It became evident that one bird was more dominant than the other, out gobbling the other and quickly moving toward the sound of the bird we were making.

There was a huge deadfall in front of me and in hindsight, it would have been better to be in front of it than behind it. But we needed to react quickly. As the gobbler projected its call, it sounded like he would be coming out the left side of the fallen tree. It was close! I was set up and ready. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. A white head stuck out, on the right side of the tree! He had outsmarted me!

I tried to shift back into position for a shot, but my prime opportunity was gone. Ultimately, it was probably my movement that alerted the bird that something was not quite right.

The morning was not a total loss. Even though it had rained several times, it was still an exciting morning of turkey hunting. And my feet were as dry and comfortable as when we first walked in. Check out www.dryshodusa.com for more information.

Incidentally, I also tried the company’s Legend Camp Shoe for an earlier fishing outing on the Niagara River and the temperature was below freezing in March. My toes never felt a bit of cold, offering a comfort range to minus 10 degrees. Now that I think about it, we were as successful that day on the water as we were on this turkey hunt – but that’s another story.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, New York – Bill Hilts Jr, Turkey

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