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Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results!
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gobbuster
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:17 pm    Post subject: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

I've seen where some of you have drawn a tag or live where its over the counter. In either case some of those posting I noticed a number of you are having difficulty bagging your birds. It isn't all that unusual for me to run into dedicated turkey hunters that have been doing it for an extended number of seasons without a lick of sucess. I can't immagine the laughs and other responses I would get if I were to saY" TURKEY'S HUNTING ARE THE EASIEST ANIMAL TO HUNT". But the truth is they really are, and they are as well the dumbest animal I've ever hunted. I have never had an unsucessful turkey hunt, except for my my first one.
The first step to a sucessful hunt is to find the general area where they are feeding, watering, and roosting. If you are huting in an area that has a limited supply of fresh water than look for tracks and scratching areas. These scratching spots, or feeding sign as it is, will be large patches of cleared ground that they have created while scratching for food under the surface of dead leaves, pine needles and such. They will nearly feed exclusively on Acorns if this food is in good supply. But even if this is the case the feeding sign will still always be an easy way to locate the birds. If the birds deal with snow in the winter than you will have your scouting season shortened dramaticly.
Once you have a good idea where they are than you need to start finding their roost and keep tabs on them until the season begins. To do this go out in the late afternoon and use some locating calls that will shock them into gobbling. The most effective method for doing this is to immitate the sound of a coyote. even a poorly immitated attempt will shock a gobble. Make the sound and then be totally silent for about the next 60 seconds. If you don't get a gobble try again 2 more times. If you get a response don't shock him additionally or it can cause him to silent the next morning when you need him talking to you. Just carefuly mark the spot and continue locating as described about looking for as many roosting birds as possible before the season begins. Go out and check the birds for location as many times per week as possible keeping tabs on their where abouts. The birds should be starting to talk good by late febuary or the first week in March. again, this is some what dependant on the type of winter they normally deal with.
Now that you have spent the preseason locating it is time to go call that Gob in. Get to an area 75 to 100 yds. away from him. Set up with a tree against your back. Turkey will spot you so much easier if you try to hide in a bush or behind something. Just put your back against a tree and be still. Wait until he starts talking before you begin to call him off the roost. Don't try to call him before the forest canopy has become good and illuminated, he'll know something isn't right. Once he has sounded off on the roost and its good day light you can call him 1 time being as soft on the call as possible. This barely audible call is often the only time I need to call him. It should at least get him off the roost so be patient and give him at least 5 minutes to do something and have your weapon ready to use in a moments notice. I've had them fly down and land almost on top of me at this point. If for some reason he hasn't sounded off or flown down you will need to sit still and be silent for up to the next 15 minutes. Actually I sit a half an hour before I do anything else. I know he heard me so this is an indication it is still to early to call him down, or, he is just being catious and a little spooky for an unknown reason. In either case patients is the rule. Now you've waited to see what he's going to do and still he isn't coming off the roost, or he is hung up as we say. Now is the time to fool this old tom. Try another couple of soft calls making sure to remain barely audible. If that doesn't work than you need to make a wing beat. this is done by slapping the sides of your pant leg with your hands trying to duplicate the sound of wings as they would sound flying down from the roost. Again these birds are stupid so it doesn't take any perfect sounding calls or other sounds to fool them. You should have them off the roost by now as I've only had a couple of birds hang up so bad I couldn't get them to fly down by now. But if this does not do the trick you will need to call a little more aggressively by calling slightly louder, and back to back sets of 2 or 3 clucks.
Once they are on the ground do some scratching as though you are a feeding turkey. They are pretty noisy when they scratch for food so be sure to kick some debries up when you are scratching the leaves and such back. If they gobble then you know you have their attention and be ready for about the next 15 minutes listening for their approaching sounds. If additional calling is necessary use a purr or cluck as these are easy calls to make and are about all you need to know to get them in.
I'll write more on this subject in the next week or so. But for now just try to locate where they are roosting each day.
Gobbuster
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Now this one I might debate with you!

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gobbuster
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

I'm always open for a good debate, however my only rebutal is my personal sucess and track record and 25 years of such. Please be a little more specific as to what you might debate with me and I'll do my best to offer a defence and explanation. I think you are probably refering to the calling methods I employ. If that is the case I can see how you might question this. However, other than a few instances in which I had to work a bird, or birds for as much as an hour or two, the norm if there is one, would be 1 to 3 calls to get the job done. And as well my position on the type of calling one needs to employ should not have to be anything fancy. Remember, when you are calling in a turkey you are going against the very nature of the animal. They have to be made to be curious to get results because they don't get called in by the hens. It is the absolute opposit. This is why I use wing beats and scratching the leaves to make them consider it just might be some hens mulling around. And above all be patient and don't try making them do something any more unnatural than is already the case.
Gobbuster
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

You guessed correctly!

Your "method" (for lack of a better term) seems to have a few holes in it.

The birds we hunt are EXTREMELY wary. So much so that a mistake will lead to every bird within a quarter mile fleeing. By a mistake, I mean something as simple as moving your trigger finger at the wrong time with a bird within 75 yards. I believe it's a result of the birds being reared in such close proximity to people, but that's only my theory. Since these birds are so spooky, they never really break up into "bachelor" and "hen" groups. They move and roost in the same areas throughout the entire breeding season.

Typically the first birds down from the roost are the hens (except for the occasional over zealous Jake, and he will soon take a good butt whippin' from a Tom). Since the hens and the Toms usually roost in such close proximity, and the hens hit the ground first and decide which way the flock is gonna go, we have found that in order to kill the Toms, you MUST attract the hens.

There are as many ways to attract hens as there are ways to attract Toms, but if I were to live by your methods exclusively, I would see my Thanksgiving expenses include a Butterball.

Please do not consider this as a condemnation of your methods, merely an alternate way to realize the same goal.

I look forward to a further debate of the "methods" used to kill this fine bird, and I wish that more of the members of this forum had a chance to experience such a hunt. I have heard it compared to an Elk hunt, in that the hunter and hunted actually engage in a "conversation".

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gobbuster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

You are right on the money Sir. Gobbs do roost in close proximity to the hens quite often and the hens do make the every morning descision as which way the gobbs will mate, feed and so on. And so far as being spooky. I believe this is probably greatly atributed to the large number of hunters over calling the birds and mistakes made during those calling incidents. Now for me this is why I try to use as little calling as possible to get the birds to become curious. I've heard a lot of turkey hunters complain about the hens coming in making it difficult or impossible to get the gobbs in close. I look forward to this as because it allows me to just sit back and let the hens do most of the work for me. It can often mean a long still wait while the gobbs wonder in behind the hens, but hey, if I'm real still and only call now and then real soft or scratch when they aren't looking, it will keep the hens in close and eventually the gobbs will follow.
It is a shame that there aren't more of us die hard turkey hunters. This is one of the very reasons I like to guide turkey hunts. I get as much out of getting some fellow his bird as I do killing one my self.
There is a couple of very hard hunted canyons in S.W. New Mexico I've hunted and those birds are so call shy you almost have to work the hens exclusively to get a gob in. But it can be done with patients.
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Now that I have some time, back to a debate.

Patience is truly a virtue in this game. We hunt on small properties, the LARGEST is 157 acres. Perhaps that is where the difference in hunting styles begins. If we "loose" a bird to a hen over the property line it's extremely difficult to get him moving back to your calls.It is NOT an insurmountable feat. I have done it, but it is NOT easy. As such, it is extremely important to make every set count. Otherwise, it's back to the truck to drive to the next property, and we only have four separate properties.

One to three calls around here just doesn't get it done consistantly. It can work on occasion, but "working" a bird around here is the norm. Again, this is probably due to differences in the birds, and in the differences in the area they are raised.

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gobbuster
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

I can't begin to immagine what it would be like to not have an unlimited range to hunt in. In Arizona and New Mexico, our public lands are so vast they are referred to in square miles rather than acres. In northern Arizona alone, one of our national forests is over 1 million square miles in size. A person can easily empty a tank of gas and never see a single sign of civilization. So I really can't relate to private land or small properties to limit my self to. This is probably why a hunter that is motivated and prepared can find record book deer, elk, antelope and so on. Nearly all world record book elk and antelope are taken in Arizona. And in the Grand Cayon region we have what animal biologists have decided may be an entirely different species of mule deer. Hunters buy tags for this hunt at our anual game and fish auction for around $100,000 to $150,000. 30" to 35" mules are common in this particular region and plentiful. They have named them the Kaibab deer. If you ever want to experience this wonder land and a hunt of a life time, as AG&F refers to it. You can book a hunt for this next fall. For an opportunity to hunt these big animals let me know and I'll get you booked and help you with the application process. Its expensive though, starts at $10,000 and goes up from there depending on what you want to hunt. An awesome hunt to do is our January couse deer and javelina which is around $10,000 for the combo and also includes quail during the off time of the day, or after you've finished your feature hunts.
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Ohio opener is in 3 weeks. Can't wait to get back in the woods!!

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gobbuster
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Hey there,
Good to hear from you again Hunterjoe and glad to hear your getting all set for the spring hunt. Myself, I'm waiting for my oldest Son to get home from Afghanistan so we can go get us a few of those gobbs too. He just set foot on U.S. soil 3 days ago and will be back in Arizona ( home) on Friday. After a few details he needs to take care we will be off to New Mexico for a our spring hunt and some much needed R&R for him. I was looking over our last blogs and recalled our discussion about what it takes to get those long beards to come within range and I can honestly say I've only had a few that needed any serious calling to get them in. But again as you stated, it probably has something to do with the presure on them and I'm sure the predator presure has a lot to do with how easily they are fooled. I don't know how long you've been sucessfully hunting the gobbs but I do have a couple of tips you could try that may make it a little easier for you. Try going out in the late afternoon, about an hour or so prior to sun down and right up to dark and holler in a way that would simulate a coyote just before dark. You know how they yelp as the sun starts to set. If your in a vehicle shut the motor off, get out of the auto, close the door softly, make sure you take the keys out of the ignition before you open the door so it doesn't make that ding- ding noise, and wait a couple of minutes before doing this yelp. Do it only once and wait a good minute or so and listen for a gobble. If nothing happens then go another 1/2 mile or so and try again and so on. Once you've gotten a response use some sort of a land mark that will direct you straight to the gobble from that mark. I sometimes stack some rocks up on the edge of the road or hang a piece of white or bright cloth from a tree branch I won't have trouble seeing. And if you want to you can actually take the time to set up markers to within a couple of hundred yards of the gobble. Just be careful not to get too close to the gobble or you can force the bird to move or not talk to you in the morning. I do this as well in the pre-season so I can keep track of the birds up to opening day as well. This a guarentee to get a gobble when nothing else works and especially so with birds that are heavily presured. Anyone else that hears you doing this will think your off your rocker, but the truth is it is a well kept secret amoung only the most accomplished turkey hunters. This is what is called putting the birds to bed! The next morning just quietly, quietly, make your way towards the roost setting up around a hundred yards or so from the bird and wait until it is very light before you start to call that bird. I wait till the bird either gobbles on its own before I start to call unles it is well after sun up and he has done nothing. When its nice and light out and your ready to start make the softest light scrape on your call that sounds like a sqeaky door hinge. You will most certainly get a gobble response from that alone and like I said he may just land nearly in your lap at that point. Thats a tree call and will almost always get the bird to fly down often right in your lap. It simulates a hen that has flown down and is ready to get it on! Prior to that cal I simulate wing beats by slapping my hands against my coveralls sounding like a bird fluttering down from the roost and then I wait a minute or so to do that tree call. If everything goes wrong and the bird won't get off the roost( hangs up) you can always sneak up on the roost and blast him right out of his bed. I've had to do that a couple of times because I accidentally spooked him while making my way to the roost in the dark by getting too close to the roost. I would check your stae regulations for that advice though. In our stae and New Mexico it is legal to shoot them out of the roost if it is legal shooting light or time.
Good luck and I hope you keep me informed of your hunt. I like to hear the details of a hunt its what keeps us enthused. God Bless, Gobbuster
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Good to hear your son is home safe. Please thank him for his service to the Country for me.

All good suggestions, but since we have limited land resources, driving 1/2 mile down the road would put us out of an area we have permission to hunt.

We manage to put a few to bed around here, although it is largely not necessary. We KNOW where they roost. They return to the same area every spring. It's become a cat-n-mouse game over the years. We know where they are, and they figure out we're huntin' 'em pretty quick. We hafta get in and whack 'em before they realize what's going on. Sometimes we barely make it through the youth season before they know they're being hunted, other years it takes 'em a little longer. (BTW, our youth only season is the weekend immediately preceeding the Monday morning general opener, so you have two days of little ones wandering around the woods, some with no REAL interest in being there, other than their Dad's urging).

In Ohio shooting a bird in a tree is illegal. It does not matter what time of day it is. It seems as though the older birds have this figured out. I've seen them fly back into a tree on several occasions. I thought this was extremely unusual, but this behavior was mentioned in either the latest F&S or OL as becoming more common.

I intend to make a spring trip out west at some point to hunt Merriam's turkeys. From what I hear, they are the LEAST wary of the sub-species. It will be interesting to compare the methods used out west to ours here.

I'll post pics IF I kill one this spring. Somewhere on here I have a pic of a banded bird I killed in '06. He was my best bird to date.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Hey there Ron,
I first want to thank you for your much apprecieated show of thanks for my Son's service to our country. It really is nice to know others care about our men as you do.
I'm rather familiar with the lack of land issue you mentioned. After having lived in South Dakota for about 7 years. I can see why you wouldn't need to go through all the formalities necessary out west. I hope all goes well and you get a nice long beard this spring. And please send some pics if you score one. I truely enjoy seeing a bagged bird and then hearing the story that goes with it. And if you get an opportunity to hunt out west be it Arizona or New mexico please contact me and I would be delighted to help you get your bearings in a place where you can get lost every day your out there due to the massive square miles of area to hunt in.
Thanks for the exchange of e-mails about this awesome animal we hunt. I think just the fact that we hunt the wild turkey characterizes us as a bit ecentric, turkey hunting just seems to do that to the serious turkey hunter. Even after all the birds and years I've got under my belt, I still have difficulty getting to sleep the night before the hunt. You would think guys like us would grow bored or complacent with a hunt we've been doing for so long. One of my Son's asked me the other day how many I've killed and I guessed it to be approximatly 50. But now I realize thats way off. I've been killing 2 per year since 1972 and in 1984 I started hunting them in 2 states in both the spring and fall. Then in 1984 I killed 5 per year to present. But I lived in South Dakota for 7 years and only killed 2 per year for that period. Help me out here. I'm getting some where around 121 birds or so. Of those I think maybe 10 or so were jakes and then a few were hens from the fall hunts, maybe 5 or 6 hens, but with beards. I only shoot birds with beards. The longest beard was 10 1/2 inches, although I've guided some who have taken longer beards. I guess my point once again is you just don't ever grow tired of turkey hunting if you've been doing for as long as we have! But if you do get the opportunity I would strongly suggest New Mexico as it has an incredible number of birds and is an over the counter tag 1 bird for $95, 2 for $110, or something close to that for a non resident.
Have a good time!
Michael
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Anyone out east wanna hunt?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Hey buddy, I want to hunt. In fact I'm going turkey hunting in a couple of weeks.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

I killed this one today:



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Turkey Hunting tips sure to get results! Reply with quote

Congrats to you Hjoe. Well done. Smile

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