Turkey Hunting With Yamaha

Published in the July 2014 Issue July 2014 Powersport News Rick Sosebee

Getting outdoors into the wild and sometimes very cool temperatures of early spring is just a way of life for a turkey hunter.  In the spring of 2013 we had the opportunity to spend some time hunting the elusive thunder chicken in Nebraska with our friends from Yamaha.

With a choice of the Yamaha Grizzly or the Yamaha Rhino to get us around the properties we would be hunting, it was time to make a plan. Our good friend and guide Doug Stultz would be showing us around again and sharing his knowledge of the Nebraska hillsides as well as where he stashed all the good spots for the elusive birds.

Stultz had been my guide on my very first turkey hunt with great success, and along with Matt Anderson we were the first two in camp that year to each bag a bird. I was very excited when I heard Stultz would be helping us again.

First things first though. When we arrived at camp we grabbed a couple of snacks and headed out to sight-in the shotguns we would be using. Within a few shots we knew we could at least hit a target on a cardboard box. I had the opportunity to use a Benelli Super Vinci shotgun and this beast could really reach out and touch the long beard at a long distance. That cardboard box and stick-on target being perfectly still would be the easiest target by far during this entire trip.

Scouting Out The Landscape

After unloading the Yamaha machines there was even more work to be done on this first day at camp. Scouting is an important part of turkey hunting and after our sight-in, with the sun slowly lowering behind the hills on this first evening at camp we found ourselves drifting from one field to the next in our trusty Yamaha Rhino and a couple of Yamaha Grizzly machines. This was just to be sure the signs of wildlife were in the right places for an early morning hunt.

It was going to be a great day and getting into the bed early after an incredible meal was my plan. The food at these events is always over the top and with a cook like Camp Chef’s Matt Anderson in the house we were sure to gain some extra baggage for the flight home. Dining on smoked salmon and Ritz crackers before the main feast I felt a little guilty, but not for long. I already had goose bumps anticipating the walk from the truck to the first location and I was trying to remember everything I had been taught in previous years about hunting.

The alarm went off at 5 a.m. and as I struggled out of the bunk I noticed I was already behind as several veteran hunters in camp had already made it downstairs and emptied the first cups of coffee. Trying to remember everything I needed to take, I stumbled aimlessly into the kitchen and heard Stultz ask if I was ready to go. With a non-direct and somewhat blind glance in his direction I nodded. Loading myself wrapped in what seemed like four layers of clothes into the truck, I was finally ready to get out into the countryside.

We would be driving in and parking after letting another hunter out in a nearby plot of land. Our walk from the truck to the blind setup was only about a quarter mile and once we had our blind up and situated it was time to settle in for a couple hours of hurry-up-and-wait. I’m not exactly sure what the temperature was that morning, but I can tell you that even through all of my layers of Under Armor clothing I was still a bit chilly.

Watching The World Wake Up

There is something about watching the world wake up from the cover of a hunting blind. The birds began to sing and the amber glow of the sun slowly covered the darkened landscape. Off in the distance I could hear a hen cackle and eventually a short gobble from the man of the house. It wouldn’t be long before I would find myself completely awakened by the sound of a big gobbler off in the distance. Not just one but what seemed like several hens were chatting back and forth, presumably about the fat guy swinging his tail feathers around in an attempt to impress them.

And this is where everything seemed to slow down a good bit. I knew I might only get one chance to capture the majestic Tom, so I was as still as a church mouse who had been spotted by a house cat. The sounds of a turkey gang began to get closer. And then the birds seemed to change direction. After a deep breath and exhale, we waited. That’s when the first signs of luck began to show their little heads from out of the bushes. I could not believe what I was seeing as three huge long beards came strutting into the scene with a few hens out front and many more in the back. This was my chance and I couldn’t believe it. Taking aim, I heard the shot ring out and then it was all over. Bird down! This was a very proud moment and one I will not soon forget. With high fives thrown, it was time to get out of the blind and check out the hunting bounty.

Now it was time to put our Yamaha Rhino to work. The Yamaha Rhino has since been replaced by the Viking but this machine is still very much a part of many proud owners’ stables and it will forever be one of the most popular vehicles ever built.

For us the Rhino made getting into and out of large, very wet and even snow covered fields much easier than driving a full-size heavy truck in or out. The big single cylinder four-stroke had plenty of grunt for the very snowy ground cover. It wouldn’t be the only chance at a turkey during the four days at camp as I would get one more beautiful Merriam turkey before luck ran out.

The next morning Van Holmes and I waded out into the cold morning and hit up the turkey haven to see what lady luck had in store for him. Holmes was able to take his own big bird and we were off for another adventure aboard our Yamaha rigs. I struggled with one last hunt and the fact is I blew it. I was called out by a very curious hen and her court, whom had told everyone where I was and the great avoidance maneuver was in full effect by every old Tom in the woods. Oh well, such is the term hunting. Sometimes you just run out of luck. There is always next season and I can assure you that no matter what, I will have a Yamaha rig loaded and on the hunt whether it’s a Grizzly or maybe one of the new Yamaha Vikings.

Stacking The Rig

There are a few things that have become must-haves on my side-by-side when I head out to hunt. Equipping ourselves was priority but we had to make the most of our equipment as well. The first of these is a place to put my rifle or shotgun. A good gun scabbard gives me a safe and secure place to keep the weapon until I really need it.

The Kolpin dual gun scabbard on our Rhino gave both hunters a place to store our guns for transport. The second is basic storage from the elements for things like our turkey vests and other essentials like maybe lunch if we decided to stay out all day. Yamaha had equipped our rig with a half back storage box for just that purpose. If you’re driving in cold temperatures you will most likely want a windshield of some kind. Keeping the bone-chilling wind directed off of you will make for a much more enjoyable experience. And last but not least, don’t forget a rooftop. The weather in Nebraska can change just like anywhere else and with our hard plastic roof we were at least sheltered from the elements.

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