Intrepid Outdoors’ Challenge of the Hunt series rolls on with part four this week. It’s a story of another easterner who heads west, taking in what Wyoming has to offer for big, mature Merriams Gobblers. Intrepid Outdoors producer Bob Lott shares it with us today.
Jeremiah Kolhfeld is one of those turkey harvestin’ machines from back east.
Growing up in Missouri, he had the ability to hunt some of the toughest, most stubborn birds in the country. As he progressed in the hunting world, he was noticed by a couple of good ol’ boys named Mike Ponder, and Stuart Reuhling — a duo that just happened to own one of the best choke tube companies out there.
Indian Creek Shooting Systems are far superior to anything I’ve seen come through in our neck of the woods. The members of Indian Creek’s Pro-Staff kill birds every year at more than 60 yards, so I was really anxious to get one of those good “jelly head” type kills up close and on video. The three Creek guys were split up between us. Solitude ranch owner Mike Schmid would take Jeremiah Kolhfeld, Guide Jay Norman would take staffer Matt Lauck, and ranch manager Frank Amos and I would take Indian Creek co-owner Mike Ponder.
Mike Ponder wasted no time getting on the board early after spotting a group of birds in the open. Being preoccupied with food and breeding, we were able to put a sneak to within 100 yards, then call and decoy a big gobbler to within 50 yards. Mike made a perfect shot and dropped the bird in his tracks on film. After their long drive from Missouri to the Devils Tower area, Mike decided to take advantage of the extra time to rest, so we headed back to the Hulett Motel to meet up with the rest of the Turkey Killin’ Mafioso.
That evening neither Matt or Jeremiah had the same luck as Mike Ponder. So the next morning Mike Schmid had a plan for Jeremiah. Before daylight the two crept in right under some birds they had roosted the night before. They quietly set out a Flextone Thunder Chicken equipped with a real Merriams tail fan. Five yards from the Thunder Chicken, they added a hen decoy, which lay flat on the ground in a breeding position.
As daylight broke, the birds were going crazy gobbling, yelping, cutting and cackling as they began to fly down. The best part of them flying down was all caught on tape as the birds just rained down on to their decoys!
One of the Toms immediately began to strut right by the Thunder Chicken and Jeremiah wasted no time in dumping him with one clean shot. BOOM, and the first of his Black Hills birds was done! High fives and big smiles were all that could be seen as he walked up to his gorgeous Merriams Gobbler!
Tune in for this weeks episode of Intrepid Outdoors Monday at 6:30 PM ET, Fridays at 3 PM ET and Saturdays at 12 PM ET.