After getting shutout at Yellowstone Wildlife Area I decided to try my luck at Governor Dodge State Park which is only about a 30 minute drive away. I saved a screenshot to show how the temperatures were screwing with me – weather was unseasonably warm except for this weekend. Low temps on Sunday morning were downright frigid and actual temp on my thermometer in camp was below 30.
While I was thankful for cooler temps so I didn’t sweat so much hiking in, the turkeys were less excited. First morning going in blind I got a gobbler on the roost at Enee Point. I took a guess and hiked in a short way on the Pine Cliff Trail and setup, and while the Tom did actually pitch down off the roost my way he never got close enough for a shot. That was the only turkey I saw and the only gobble I heard the rest of the short trip. I did see one other bird fly up atop Enee Point but you can’t get there from below.
I drove around and scouted but nothing from the road. Decided to follow the only bird I saw and hike the Upland Trail so I could go out onto Enee Point. Lots of hikers walking their dogs today since it was now Saturday. From the Upland Trail there are large drop-offs to the trailsides but zero chance of climbing down without risking certain death (and no way to sneak up on a bird like that).
Once again lots of fresh scratching deep in the woods. I was finding all the sign I wanted but no birds. The most positive spin I can put on this is my scouting skills and intuition about where to locate sign are getting better. Downside is you can’t eat intuition with a side of mashed potatoes & gravy.
Going deeper through the woods I was near the end of Enee Point. The dense oaks gave way to more sparse pines. There are traces of humans here in the form of stacked branches in a crude shelter, probably a day project by some bored kids.
Finally I reached the end of Enee Point. You can climb right out to the exposed rocky point and take in the views, though they are mostly obscured by the tall trees. It was worth the trip to see the view but I knew there probably aren’t any birds out on this point at this time of day.
Another view from closer to the rocky cliff edge. It’s a very, very long way down from here. You can see across the valley to where I roosted the gobbler this morning. Seems like the pitch back & forth across the cliffs and during daytime head deeper into the lower valleys where water flows even in this dry season.
Walking back to the marked Upland Trail you can see views of the other exposed cliffsides. In summer seasons this would probably be fully obscured, but in early spring before the leaves pop it’s much more revealing.
I continued driving the park & hiking trails and ended up on the Old Orchard Trail which seemed to loop around a set of bluffs. My poor old iPhone 8 is showing it’s age and these photos are basically potato quality but behind those trees is a 50-100ft tall bluff. I came across another hiker who saw turkeys crossing the trail but never found them. I did jump a few deer who blew at me from about 10 feet away which was fun.
One last look at the sun behind some clouds over an exposed area in some matted-down fields. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No turkeys. Still fun and hopefully I get better weather next year! Time to go home and eat some tag soup.Lat = 43.008213 , Long = -90.1177597 -- Show at Google Maps