Every now and again a great opportunity comes around for some of us here at Camp Chef to get to go out and play. Recently, Matt Anderson was invited to join Yamaha and others on a turkey hunt in Nebraska. It wasn’t all fun and games though, Matt volunteered to cook for the turkey camp. He prepared smoked turkey in the Camp Chef Smoke Vault and cherry chocolate cobbler in a Camp Chef Dutch Oven among other meals. Rick Sosebee, of UTV Off-Road Magazine wrote this great article detailing their exciting hunt.
A transcript of the article can be found below the images.
Turkey Hunting with Yamaha
Story and Photos by Rick Sosebee
Yamaha has been involved with hunting and the outdoors for many years, and their continued effort to introduce new adventure possibilities to their consumers seems to grow with the brand. For 2012, we knew there had to be some really cool riding destinations, but it was the call to go hunting that made our ears perk up and take notice. We would have only a couple of months to plan for this hunting adventure, so we had to act fast.
The planning that goes into a single turkey hunt can be enormous. I, for one, had never hunted turkey or any other game, so there were a few things to take care of before getting on the plane to Nevraska. The state of Georgia, as well as many others, requires that each hunter take a hunter safety course to ensure that you have knowledge of not only the weapon you are hunting with, but also how to be as safe as possible in your hunting environment. In early March we logged on to the hunters education website and began reviewing the courses needed to get our hunter safety card. After a week or so of online education, we then had to set up our final exam to make this first part of our hunting experience complete. With my fresh hunter safety card in had, it was time to get final preparations together for the trip.
Back in the suburbs in the quiet rolling hills of North Platte, Nebraska, the cars move a bit slower and the sound of nature can be heard from miles around. With one main street and a local restaurant keeping everyone fed, the small-town feel makes the fast-paced city life seem very far off. Early in the pre-dawn moments, as the small outlying towns come to life, you may be able to hear the bearded Tom make his call. It is the elusive and very colorful Merriam turkey that is on the bucket list of hunters everywhere, and for a brief week this was our goal as well. Arriving at our hunt destination, it was clear that this would be an adventure indeed as Yamaha brought along many of their great ATV’s, including on of their Yamaha Rhinos to get us around the properties. This was no ordinary Rhino, though, as it was decked out in Realtree AP camouflage and several accessories specifically for hunting. This would be our premier ride to scout out the land for our hunt. The Rhino is such a versatile part of the hunt, as it allows us to carry our birds and gear in the cargo bed while keeping the cab area open and clutter free. The Yamaha accessory gun scabbards keep our shotguns nice and snug to prevent damage during the ride out across the plains. And as far as the power of our machine is concerned, there isn’t an obstacle in our path that the Rhino 700 cannot tackle. So with this confidence-inspiring machine at our disposal, the hunt is sure to be a great one, and the half windshield would keep the chilly morning breeze off of our faces.
Starting bright and early, we received our goals for the day from our guide, Doug, with Table Mountain Outfitters, and that was to sight in our shout guns for the next morning’s hunt. Without wasting a second, we chucked our gear in the bunkhouse and our guide had us loaded back into the trucks headed over to a neighboring field to get some shooting practice in. Unloading only two shots, I was able to kill the cardboard turkey proficiently enough to be considered a threat in the turkey hunting woods. With my first test passed, it was our next goal to make sure we found the prime location to sit and wait for the big one.
Wandering in the fields of Nebraska we found many places that we were hopeful of a great turkey meeting, but with the very next morning getting ever closer, we just had to wait and see. It seems there is a tradition that the rookies get banded together, and Steve Nessel saw it important to build a new team of first-timers. Matt Anderson and I would become affectionately known as Team Cherry. It was obvious that we had to make our presence known amongst the veterans and prove we had what it takes to hunt the elusive Tom. Needless to say, we gladly accepted the challenge and became fast friends. As we packed in for the night, all I could think about was how this very smart bird was going to be fooled be a rookie like myself.
The alarm clock woke me from my nod at 5:00 am sharp, and with my gear strapped on my trusty 870 Remington loaner shotgun by my side, Matt, our guide Doug and I made our way out to the first spot for the hunt. Getting into the blind hours before sun up meant we might just have a chance at getting the big bird before it wanders off into the field for the day. This is where I began to really appreciate the hunting lifestyle. Sitting in a portable blind and watching the world wake up is a really peaceful and unexplainable happening. The sun breaks over the earth, exposing the trees and wonderful landscape hidden by the darkness. Once the sun crept into the sky just a little, the hen and toms began to chat amongst themselves. Then it was on. Once the first few birds flew from the roost Doug began calling. It wasn’t long before the air was still and the sound of silence made us wonder if we would even see the fifty or so birds that had once sat just 100 yards or so from us.
Doug slipped from the blind to take a closer look into the field just over the ridge. As he turned back to get Matt and I, he grabbed a pair of decoys to get the gang of winged outlaws’ attention. Creeping up the hillside to where our guide had laid down, we were both instructed to not move or breathe, as the turkey can see and hear very well. With a few clucks and growls, I had a huge hen staring me right in the face and in my left ear all I heard was: Shoot! Shoot! That’s when everything went into slow motion for me. I rose up, and as I did I heard Matt’s gun go off. The first Team Cherry rookie had taken a huge Merriam Tom, and with a quick decision to make, I found the right opportunity to take the second turkey of the day. We had both not only dropped our first birds, but we were the first in the camp and that was something we would never forget.
So now what do we do? We have planned and prepared for this entire trip over a period of months, and in a matter of a few hours the rookies had shown up and shown out. Well, turns out Matt Anderson represents a great company called Camp Chef. Camp Chef builds awesome camp cooking gear that takes your campsite to the next level. Matt had volunteered to cook for the camp, and we had agreed that if Team Cherry did well there would be a wonderful cherry cobbler made to honor the occasion. This cobbler was a great ending to a dinner of succulent smoked turkey, steak and some crazy good potato salad made with 7-up soft drink. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t knock it till you have tried it! I can tell you the food and company really made this a trip to remember.
I want to thank Yamaha for a first-in-my-lifetime experience that I will share with my family for years’ also to Van Holmes and Steve Nessel of Yamaha for giving me the chance to see what the world of hunting can be like. The knowledge of these two helped me relax and feel at home in their world. Table Mountain Outfitters and Mr. Doug, you wore me out chasing those birds, but the results were fantastic and that’s why you are a great guide. To the other hunters, Bob Humphrey and Steve Hickoff, who are professionals in this field and to whom I have much respect as the pros, thanks for your patience as I bragged about the one-handed, 30-yard belly kill. Bob Humphrey so skillfully showed me how to clean my bird after the kill and Steve Hickoff taught me that you can lie on your back with your eyes closed and make music to the hens’ ears with a slate call. These guys are the best. I also want to thank Garmin for the awesome Rhino 655T, as it helped me track where I was and where I had been. This handheld GPS is a must-have in wide-open country like Nebraska. Keeping me clothed were the great folks at Under Armor. From my hat down to my boots, I was ready for battle in my Under Armor Camo. Matt Anderson, you will always be my rookie partner in Team Cherry, and for that experience I am thankful. And last but not least, I want to thanks the Lord above for giving us this wonderful landscape to hunt on, time together, keeping us safe, and for a few new friends to share it with.
UTV Off-Road Magazine, Rick Sosebee
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