Weird flock structure I think???

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T.W. Houk
 
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Weird flock structure I think???

Postby T.W. Houk » April 6th, 2010, 8:40 am

Hey guys i have viewed your site for some time but this is my first post. First off you guys know your stuff and are very informative.

Illinois season just opened monday, i took my girlfriend out to i farm that i have hunted for several years knowing the general roost area. Sure enough birds were there, approximately 25 but only one tom was sounding off. He was first to fly down i hit him hard with a series of cutts he came in on a string and the gf shot him at aboout 20yds. The tom was the only bird on the ground, the hens fly at the shot from the roost to the north. She was thrilled so we leave this farm and go take pics.

Now here is what seems strange to me we go back this morning and hear nothing but see several hens flydown. i have never not heard gobbles on this farm. We saw hens everywhere we went on this farm but not a single tom or jake. Do you think the brids could still possibly be in same sex groups and the tom she shot was just a little early or have we lost our toms?? My brother was a half mile north on the farm and he did not hear a gobble either. Granted it was windy today temps in the 70s

thanks in advance...

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby Everyday Hunter » April 6th, 2010, 8:54 am

Hi, Tim, and welcome to the T&TH forum. I'll spare you any words about the value of this site -- you've already said them yourself.

Others might have better insight into this than I do, but I'll take a stab at an answer. I'd say that since you're in the north (Illinois) it's possible that you're in a pocket where the turkeys are a little slow to abandon their same-sex groups -- especially if you're in northern Illinois. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that your season opens a little early for a northern state. In both Illinois and Pennsylvania, the 40th parallel cuts through near the middle of both states, so I'd think our turkeys would be pretty much on the same schedules. But here in Pennsylvania the season won't open for another 3½ weeks.

I doubt you've lost your toms. You probably have some closed-mouth jakes in the mix, and maybe a couple of sub-dominant toms.

Keep us posted, and hey -- how about a picture of that bird?

Steve
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

T.W. Houk
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby T.W. Houk » April 6th, 2010, 9:14 am

I forgot to state that i am hunting in south central IL fayette county i thought the same thing about there being subordinate non vocal birds in the flocks but the bird that she shot was a two year old with one spur not excately a limbhanger. I will post a pick as soon as i figure out how to she will be home and maybe she can figure it out lol...

dam3391
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby dam3391 » April 6th, 2010, 9:18 am

I am by no means an expert, but I want to know how you got a lone gobbler to come off roost with 20 hens around him?  Here in VT he would gobble and laugh at you from the tree until 9 am, then he might think about flying down!  haha

I would sit tight, if you took out the dominant gobbler and there are that many hens around another one should take up roost shortly, maybe in the next few days.  Especially if you're used to seeing multiple gobblers.  The batchelor group theory is also a good angle as previously posted.

T.W. Houk
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby T.W. Houk » April 6th, 2010, 9:46 am

I understand your doubts and this adds to my confusion i did not make a peep to this bird while on the roost he was within 100yds i could see him and several hens in the trees. i knew from past years that the ridge that i was on was the place to be first thing in the morning. As soon as he hit the ground i sounded like i was the hottest and only hen on the ridge, he was dead approximately 1 minute after hitting the ground like i said before the hens were still in the trees.

This bird was to anxiuos in my opinion to leave the hens for the breeding cycle to be very far along. Maybe i am over thinking this and today was just a bad day but i will know more tommorow. Thanks for your replies keep them coming.

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby Everyday Hunter » April 6th, 2010, 11:00 am

ORIGINAL: T.W. Houk

I forgot to state that i am hunting in south central IL fayette county i thought the same thing about there being subordinate non vocal birds in the flocks but the bird that she shot was a two year old with one spur not excately a limbhanger. I will post a pick as soon as i figure out how to she will be home and maybe she can figure it out lol...

Age doesn't have everything to do with dominance. Dominance has more to do with being aggressive. "Napoleon complex," I think it's called. (Definition: the condition of being small in stature but aggressively ambitious and seeking absolute control.)

To respond to dam3391's comment, I agree that it is surprising, but maybe those hens have a habit of staying in the trees longer than what suited him. Or, if this gobbler was especially anxious for romance, he may have just been going after what he thought was the first hen on the ground. Either way, he says, "C'mon honey!" They say, "A little later." Here's one that didn't say "Later, dear." So he's on her, and now he's dead.

I don't think we should try to explain all turkey behavior and make it fit some preconceived mold. That violates one of the primary principles of turkey hunting, the principle that turkeys are unpredictable.

Sit tight. You will hear other gobblers.

Steve
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

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mark hay
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby mark hay » April 6th, 2010, 11:28 am

I ain't gonna try and figure this out , as to why that tom hit the ground before the hens ,,,,,,,,,that's puzzling . But he did , and your calling hit the right nerve on a tom that was eager to breed . He knew the girls were still upstairs and this new chick sounds willing,,,,,,,,,,WE'LL NEVER KNOW .
 
CONGRATS to your girl friend . Now she'll never be the same again.
 
About the fact that there was no other gobblers to be heard . Well , I'd say the weather had them mostly shut down , and there are still plenty of toms around .
 Last fall I scouted , hunted for 3-4 weeks before I found reasonably fresh sign . Early in the season it looked as if the majority of the turkeys had  vanished . Finally I found them . They were spending the majority of their time on about 30 acres of a 1000 acre prime spot.  When I did finally see the flock I could hardly believe my eyes . 30-35 gobblers  of all ages . Another flock of 27 hens .
 And now , based on the number of individual bird gobbles we hear on sat & sun , there's more birds in that area than I dreamed .
 
 On the other hand ,,,,we did have a tough winter . There is the remote possibility that you actually did suffer a great loss of birds . Just an idea .But I hope it ain't true .
 
 Best wishes on your remaining hunts .

T.W. Houk
 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 8:23 am

RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby T.W. Houk » April 6th, 2010, 12:00 pm

Thanks guys you have definately helped my mood. As far as my girlfriend i will post as soon as I learn how some of her prior harvests she has had some luck in the turkey woods over her 4 year turkey hunting career lol.

To be honest i didn't realize that the tom flying down first wasn't all that common. I have seen this happen several times on this ridge they flydown,gobble there brains out until the hens come to them.. See im learning as i go, anyways thanks guys i will keep up updated on the remaining days of my season. wed-fri....

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mark hay
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby mark hay » April 6th, 2010, 12:05 pm

It may be more common than I think . I just have never seen it nor heard it before.
 Like said earlier ,,,,,,They'll do the unexpected ,,,,expect it.

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Weird flock structure I think???

Postby Cut N Run » April 6th, 2010, 12:26 pm

I quit trying to make sense of what makes turkeys do what they sometimes do.  Just try to learn from it.
 
It may take a little while for the rest of the gobblers out there to realize that Mr. Big is out of the picture.  The pecking order there has been pretty well set for a while.  If the subordinates have been getting their butts kicked by a badder bird, they aren't real likely to risk it again until the coast is clear. 
 
I took the Boss off the lease a few years ago and it took about a week for the rest of the longbeards to relax enough to gobble like they meant it.  Let it cool down a little out there and see what they have to say in a few days.  With that many hens around, there has to be a replacement willing to step in.
 
Good luck.
 
Jim
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