It was an amazing day and an unforgettable hunt. The weather was perfect and birds were gobblin all over the place. I spent the first couple hours trying to get closer to the birds and farther from other hunters. Finally while walking a ridge i gave a few calls and heard a gooble from the canyon below me. Hiked halfway down, got set up in a little clearing and got busy. Turned out there were actually two toms gobbling down at the bottom of this little canyon but try as i might i couldn't get them to come in. Then i hear a hen call behind me and up the ridge. At first I though i had competition from another hunter. After a few minutes i heard the call again, too perfect for anything but a real hen. She circled around me and headed down to the gobblers. I took advantage of the distraction to move a bit closer and set up again almost at the bottom of the canyon and just on top of a little rise. I played it cool, only giving a little purr every 10 mins or so and could here this gobbler going crazy at the bottom of the little hill but couldn't see him. Eventually i see his head poke up over the hill, about 10 yds from where i expected him to come up! He saw the decoy, gave another gobble, but i couldn't move to use my box or slate and didn't want to risk scary him off with my crappy diaphram calling. When he didn't get a response from the decoy he turned around and started walking away. He went about 5 ft before he was behind a tree and couldn't see me. This gave me time to swing over 90 degrees to my left and as soon as he popped out from behind the tree i let him have it, knocked him right over at 15-20 yds with my 20 ga. Hiked back to the truck, had some lunch, rigged up my fly rod and spent the afternoon catching brown trout. It was a heck of a day, the best cast and blast I've had so far. That bird is soaking in brine right now and going on the smoker tommorow with some applewood.
As for the trout, the first is a Rio Grande Cutthroat, by far my favorite to catch. The second is a brookie from high in the Pecos Wilderness. I can't tell you how surprised i was to pull a brookie out of that stream cause none of the books i read mentioned them being there. It was quite a treat and completed my grand slam of new mexico trout (not counting the gila, but I might head down after them later this summer) Although I'm not sure i want to support fishing for gila trout since i think they made a big mistake downlisting them. Sorry for the long post, hope you enjoyed the story.
Go catch some fish! I'll probably head up to the Cimmaron this weekend. I'll keep ya'll posted.