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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:23 am    Post subject: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

I have to admit that this is the first year I have ever tried hunting turkeys, and with two weeks of the season gone, I have yet to see one.

I am using a slate call, and last week got a gobbler to talk back to me, but never saw him. I think I may have scared him away with too much calling.

How about some basic stuff on turkeys:

How early is early enough?
What about afternoon hunting?

Any ideas will be appreciated, I would really like to get one this year, and there's only two weeks left.

HELP

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Les,

Whatcha mean by "how early is early enough"?

If yer referring to the time to get out in the woods, I try to get in position at least 30 minutes before first light (I have a friend that claims I'm already an hour late by then). Some of it depends on whether or not you know where the birds are roosted. IF you do, get in there WELL before first light, and sneak in to within 125-150 yards. If yer goin' in blind, you run the risk of spookin' birds when you don't know where they are, but you can get yourself out there and wait for them to start gobblin' (They are very vocal before they fly down). Of course, you won't be able to get as close, since the birds are already active and very aware of their surroundings, but at least you know where they started from, and can work on a calling plan from there.

One thing about roosted birds. I learned early on to NEVER use hen yelps on birds that are gobblin' on the roost. Hens don't usually make full blown yelps while roosted. They generally make "tree" yelps, which are much more subtle. Even if you can't duplicate a tree yelp, try to listen and imitate a hen's "fly down cackle" (once you hear it, you'll know what I mean). In conjunction with the "fly down", try to imitate the sounds of a turkeys wings flapping as they come down (you can buy wing sections made for this[Primos makes one], but I just slap my gloved hand against my thigh). It seems to work for me.

As far as over-calling:

Just 'cause he answered you, it doesn't mean he's coming to you. In the REAL turkey world, HE gobbles, she goes lookin' for him. What you're doing is going against everything Mother Nature has the birds programmed for. If that Tom already has hens with him, the only way to get him within range is to call the hens in.

If you were conversing with him, and you could tell he was coming toward you, several things can mess it up. The most common is that a hen heard him gobblin' and did what a hen is supposed to do. SHE went to HIM, and in that case, I don't care if you're a world champion caller, yer NOT gonna call him away from her. Next is over-calling. If he's already coming to you, you have no reason to hammer him with calls. Wait for him to gobble, and answer every second or third one. These birds have an uncanny ability to pinpoint your location based on sound, so if he's gobblin' and coming to you, he already knows where you are. If I CAN see him, I won't call anymore (Unless he's in the middle of a field with a bunch of hens, then I'm calling the hens, not the Tom). After that, I would say he may have gotten hung-up on an obstacle (fence, ravine, stream, even a large log) and eventually he lost interest. You didn't say how long you were talkin' with him, so this may be possible. I once had three Toms hung up just out of shotgun range behind an OLD single strand of barbed wire fence, that they easily could have ducked under, or walked around. That standoff lasted nearly 2 hours (Another exception to my "never call a bird you can see rule"). Last thing I can think of is he stopped gobblin', came in silent, and saw you before you saw him (remember, he's prolly already got a fix on your location).

Please keep in mind that I've NOT hunted turkey outside of my home range (Northeast Ohio), and that this is what I've found works for me here. Them Southern Birds may well have a totally different set of habits!

Check out the National Wild Turkey Federation (www.nwtf.org) for more info (including sample sounds).

Anyway, I hope this helps, and good luck with the remainder of the season!!

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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:25 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Excellent post HJ. I reckon even I could have a bit of success following your instructions mate.

Cheers, Vince

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whittling
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

I'd also like to try turkey hunting this fall . What Equipment would I need to get started?

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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Thanks for the pointers HunterJoe. I will give them a try. I guess I better do some scouting and see if I can find the roosting tree.

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

whittling wrote:
I'd also like to try turkey hunting this fall . What Equipment would I need to get started?

Why wait 'till fall?

The spring season opens tomorrow for the Kiddies, and the regular season starts Monday. Give it a shot now. Besides, fall turkey hunting is a completely different game than the spring season (which I don't enjoy nearly as much).

As far as equipment, the basics include a tight-patterning shotgun, head-to-toe camo (including a facemask and gloves), and a few calls. That's all you really need. You can get as extravagant as you budget will allow. A decent turkey vest will help keep all your "stuff" organized. I use a small folding seat (HS Strut made mine).

One more thing on your shotgun (assuming you're hunting with a shotgun of course). To me, this is the most important part:

Take it out and PATTERN YOUR GUN. Patterning a turkey shotgun is as important as sighting in your deer gun. You MUST know exactly where your gun shoots. If it has adjustable sights, then you are essentially "sighting in" your shotgun (I know it sounds weird to say that, but you're not POINTING a turkey gun, you're actually AIMING it). In addition, patterning your gun at various ranges will tell you your "effective range" It's also very important to know your effective range and work on your range estimating skills. Remember, your distance perception will change drastically once you sit down (same as your perception changes when you get in your treestand vs. standing at the base of the tree)

Again, check out the NWTF website for plenty of additional info.


lesterg wrote:
Thanks for the pointers HunterJoe. I will give them a try. I guess I better do some scouting and see if I can find the roosting tree.

Les,

I didn't mean to imply that the only way to kill a tom is straight off the roost. It seems to be the most effective (at least around here). I've killed several toms long after they left the tree. There are (as you might have guessed) several ways to do this too. Two main schools of thought are "sit tight and call" (kinda old-school) and "walk slowly through the woods and call" (commonly called "cutt-n-run").

I purposely didn't touch on afternoon hunting, as we're currently not allowed to hunt past noon here in Ohio (expected to change in the 2010 season though).

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Here's a perfect example of NOT calling a bird and still having success. I watched this flock of birds for a couple days and realized that they were following a pattern each morning. So I got in there much earlier than normal (because I needed to get a lot closer to their roosting area), got myself set-up and just waited. Once the hens started making their tree yelps, I imitated them a couple times, then put my call down and never touched it again.

Within 30 minutes of them flying down, this one and another Tom were close. I had to maneuver my shotgun around a sapling (I set-up in pitch blackness and didn't realize it was there 'till it was too late), and when I started to bring it up into shooting position, they busted me. I had to throw up and shoot, and this was the unlucky one. The shot was 54 paces, and since I patterned my gun, I knew I could make a clean kill at that distance.



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RPM1031
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Nice shot. Nice bird.

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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:14 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Good job!

Dimitri

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OntheLasGallinas
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Nice bird!

Les,

On thing you have to think about while hunting turkeys in your territory is that you want them to stay around for years. You have to realize that a turkey’s roost is sacred ground to the turkeys. If you get to messing around too close or too often, they will move their roosting area to your neighbors. I’ve had one bunch of turkeys roosting in the same tree for years and years. I make sure that they are not disturbed. Like HJ21 says, study their feeding patterns and hunt in those areas. Study the flock and never take more birds that the flock can sustain. If you only have a couple of gobblers in your area, it might be good to not take a bird and start feeding year round to build the flock. I feed my turkeys year round and keep the ponds full of water. This, by no means, will make them tame. I don’t think hunting within 100 to 150 yards from a roost will make them change roosts, unless you hunt too often. Les, you’ve got your own land, this is ideal for creating your hunting haven. Treat them good and you will be rewarded with great hunting.

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OntheLasGallinas
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

One other thing...

Evening hunting can be great also. Study the feeding patterns and place yourself on a return route to the roost. During the mating season, the goblers (after they have mated with all of the hens on their roost) go on exploring trips looking for other hens to mate with, sometimes they will travel in groups of 2 to 4 birds. Shortly before dark, they make a mad dash back to the roost.

Cary

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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Cary....you're back mate...we were concerned that a mob of javelinas or piggies had got hold of your scrawny butt mate. Whereat ya bin hidin' mate?

HJ....nice bird mate...some good eatin' there old mate. Well done.

Cheers, Vince

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OntheLasGallinas
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Vince,

Naw, my old hide is still running around in the brush. The hogs and javilinas are keeping their distance (for the time being). They are smart animals, once you shoot them up, they’ll change their habits and range, but they always come back. We are overrun with turkeys, though. My wife has me keep feed and water out for them year round. I’ve been watching gobblers fighting, every day. They sure make a lot of racket.

Even though I have not participated in the forum, I always read everyone’s comments. I’ve just been really busy at work and on the ranch.

Cary

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Ah, its good to see your happy smilin' mug mate. We've missed ya. Very Happy Very Happy

Over run wiv turkeys???
OI, YA HEAR THAT GUYS....CARY'S GOT TURKEYS EVERYWHERE.


Haha Haha Haha

Cheers, Vince

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OntheLasGallinas
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: New at Turkey Hunting Reply with quote

Les,

I just thought of one other thing to think about while hunting turkeys. If you see a “jake” (young male), you may not be able to call him in with a hen chirp if he’s living in a flock with older gobblers. He knows (he’s had his butt kicked) that the older gobblers will not let him mate with the hen. He may act frustrated and go back to feeding. Most of the time, he’ll leave the area.

Cary

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