As everybody knows life gets busy. Work, family, friends, commitments, all tend to stack up and often hunting & fishing seasons go by and all we think is “Dang maybe next year”. I wasn’t about to let a chance slip away to head out to Platte Creek Lodge in Platte South Dakota and try to put a gobbler on the ground.
The ice is still lingering which means I am out on it, filming ice fishing in late-April…Needless to say, I’m thoroughly ice fished out. Frankly, it couldn’t get the H*** out of here fast enough! Weekends seem to disappear, and weekdays are reserved for bringing home the bacon.
Last weekend was shaping up to be one of those weekends. We had spent the last few days in Northern Minnesota trying to stretch mother nature as far as we could, and when 5pm rolled around we were still hours away from getting home. I was on the fence about going as my license was possibly in US Postal Service limbo as I pulled into my driveway. Sure enough my ticket to the west was laying on the table in a pretty little envelope labeled South Dakota Game Fish & Parks.
The clock struck 9pm before my tires hit the pavement. I thought it was quite fitting as Mary Chapin Carpenters I’ll Take My Chances hummed through the radio. It’s about how I felt, walking into a place I had never hunted or scouted before, chasing birds in relatively foreign terrain.
I pulled into Platte Creek Lodge around 2:30 A.M. on Saturday to find an open door, and a great room. By the time I finished prepping my gear for the morning, I would only find refuge in my bed for less than a couple hours.
Steam rolled off my cup of coffee as I crept down the driveway deep in the Missouri breaks. The sunlight began to filter over the horizon prompting dozens of Toms into a thunderous gobble. I set up on the hilltop trying to pinpoint a bird to pursue. The first hour I found myself sitting on an open patch bird less. I stopped up at the house to meet my hosts, and enjoyed some coffee as conversation points drifted from Turkey hunting to vacationing in Texas. Finally, it was time to hit the dusty trail.
I headed down into the hills, calling as I slowly meandered up and down the ravines. I let off a series of yelps when I was starkly interrupted by an unmistakable gobble from across the valley. I quickly took refuge behind a Cedar tree as I could hear him working his way down the ridge into the open grass. He made quick work of covering the distance, as he half ran half strutted across the bottom of the ravine and started the daunting climb up the other side of the ridge. I was almost certain I would be making a nearly straight down shot as below me there was an eroded hill in excess of a 45 deegree angle.
I was proved wrong, as he climbed the hill with a mountain goat like skill and proceeded to come into full strut on the top of the hill. I tried to coax the gobbler into a few more yards but he wouldn’t budge. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of Mr. Tom getting cold feet, and drew back at 27 yards. The arrow buried into the wing bone and directly into the boilermaker. He rolled a few yards down the hill and came to a stop.
I was more than excited to put a bird down as soon as I did and I spent the next few hours just enjoying the near 90 degree day in the Missouri River Valley.
If you are looking to find world class Turkey hunting, or Walleye fishing Platte South Dakota is a destination you will want to visit. Be sure to stop by at Platte Creek Lodge to hang it up for the night. Great prices, and even better accommodation. Heck they even have a cleaning area, and live bait right on site!
I want to thank Tom & Molly for all the help setting up my awesome hunt and Judy & Dennis for letting me trek around their land.