Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
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Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Fargohunt » February 13th, 2010, 11:00 am

Since I am relatively new to this forum this topic may have been discussed before.  Nevertheless, I have read many times in T&TH Mag where Brian Lovett writes about the ones that got away, his mistakes, etc., so I am asking for any and all of you to tell us about your mistakes.  Hey, we all love a great success story, but much of the value this and other forums like it offer, is the gift to learn and from not only the novice hunters but even the woodswise guys with 25 years under their vest.
So when doing so be sure to include the following so we can have the same conditions you faced enabling us to not necessarilly be in your shoes, but to envision the setting so we can use our imaginations and learn the most from your situation.
Name the state, what part of the season--early-mid-late, what time of day, the weather conditions, the terrain character, the overall vegetation, decs, or no decs, the call(s) you were using, alone or with a buddy, and give any other details you think were contributing factors in the hunt.
Look forward to learning.   Scott

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby mark hay » February 13th, 2010, 11:37 am

Uh,,,,Fargo,,,,,there ain't enough room on the internet for my list of mistakes ,,,,,,,,,,,,,but I keep reminding myself that I'm gettin' better ,,,,,,,,,,yeah right!
All of my turkey hunting and experience comes from southern Ohio . Started in '98 with a determination to learn all I can about the bird and the hunt.
 Biggest and most consistent mistake is lack of patience . But I ain't near as bad as when I first started. Second biggest would be calling too loud and too much . One would think I should have learned faster , since the majority are public land birds .
 You can teach old dogs new tricks ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but,it generally don't take a dozen years to do it.[:D]

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Fan Club » February 13th, 2010, 1:10 pm

This one happened to my friend Bob who was a 60-year old experienced hunter, but a turkey hunting rookie when I took him to Missouri in 2005-

For two days I tried hard to get a bird in gun range for Bob on our 450 acre lease but he didn't make it easy. He talked too much, too often and too loud along with frequent pointing and gesturing that involved exaggerated arm swings and movement. A lot of the time he looked like he was directing traffic. On the third day, I thought it would be best if we split up and I got a gobbler. On the fourth day we split again and I put him in a great brush blind at my favorite strut zone where I've taken several gobblers over the years. I was about 600 yards away on the other end of a large pasture. Around 9:30 I heard him shoot... BOOM! I thought to myself, "ALL RIGHT, BOB GOT A BIRD!". BOOM...a second shot... oh no.

I told Bob I would be down to get him at 11:00 and for an hour and a half the suspense was killing me. When I finally got down there he was all jacked up, half muttering and half yelling, I had to tell him to settle down. He told me a group of nine jakes came walking around a woodpile and he waited until they were in range and picked out the last one. "He's right over there!" he yelped, again with the pointing. I said, "Why did you shoot twice, what happened on the first shot?" This time he finally calmed down and replied in all seriousness..... "I think I led him too much."

It is seldom discussed but probably should be mentioned for rookie turkey hunters, especially those with wing shooting experience- You do not need to lead a walking turkey. Your shot pattern at 1200 ft per second will cover any range your gun is capable of in suffient time to eliminate a lead in aiming. Your best bet is to at least learn a basic cluck on a mouth call. If the bird you intend to shoot is walking, a loud single cluck will usually him to immediately stop and stick his head up to look for the source of the sound allowing you to get a shot at a still bird.
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby eggshell » February 13th, 2010, 1:27 pm

I've been hunting turkeys 38 going on 39 years which one of my 4126 mistakes would you like me to start with? It's part of the training, earn your stripes private.

Just kidding of course, but reading about other's goof ups will only make you talk to yourself when you repeat them. You'll be telling yourself "so and so done that, why did I just do it" then you'll find an urge to kick yourself. Maybe another day I'll tell a story.

Here's a quicky...You'll get advice to set up over a break where the bird will be in range when you first see him, 10-15 yards from the break is not what they had in mind!

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Fargohunt » February 13th, 2010, 1:32 pm

Well now that's a good start.  Fan Club...loved that story, darn funny and thanks for sharing--that must have been frustrating for you.  I know there are many more mistake stories than success stories so bring them on guys!
Mark, I suspect a lack of patience finds many a good hunter without a harvest, but you seem to have the odds in your favor from many years of experience.

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby mark hay » February 13th, 2010, 2:23 pm

One ''mistake'' that bugs me to no end . Early in my career I read about how movement was the big NO NO in turkeyhunting. Also , it said that noise was not too much to worry about . This is true to a certain point . My mistake was reading more into it than what the author was implying . I was as reckless as a greenhorn could be . Figured if he can't see my movement , and noise don't bother them , I'll just run up to the near side top of the next knoll .
 What opened my eyes to the mistake was when I was trying to get a bird in front of a friend . He was serious enough . He was buying a lot of STUFF for the hunt. One thing in particular was an aluminum framed turkey vest , with a rubber gamebag on the back . Each step he made sounded like a wet pair of hipboots rubbin' one another . That and the continuous brushing of his cuffs . A thunderous gobbler won't put up with it . Too bad for my friend , he never got a bird , and he was long gone when I realized the error of MY way.

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby mcvitullo » February 13th, 2010, 4:16 pm

I was hunting my property in north east Ohio last year in the first week of season, April 22nd to be exact. I already filled my tag earlier in the week on opening day of youth with a great 3 year old. In fact that was the bird thats on my profile picture. Now I'm 18 and those great days are over :(. Any way, I skipped school to go hunting. I walk out the door and to my west I saw lightening. Instead of turning around, I kept on walking to the back field. Yes I would risk my life in a thundrstorm to go turkey hunting and I would do it all over again. Yes I know I'm stupid. So any way there were no leaves on the trees at all. I set up on the roost as close as I legally can which is about 125 yards. I set up a carry lite feeding hen and my peepin tom and pretty penny decoy 20 yards to my right. As the storm got closer and it got lighter, The toms were shock gobbling to the thunder and I was getting nervous from the storm and really exited at the same time.They were roosting with a crap load of hens. I set up in the woods about 70 yards from the back field's edge. Around fly down time, I put in my Primos TR-1 and started calling. I sounded exactly like one of the hens and I got really aggresive with her. She was getting mad and she was bringing the whole flock torward me! When the storm hit, I did the thing a real hen would is to stop calling. It was puring, and lighting bright enough to temporaly blind me and there was thunder crackling above me. All I remember thinking is if I felt the hair on my neck stand up, I was going to run for my life! What seemed like hours but was about 10 minutes, the storm passed. I started calling again and got that hen fired up. In the thicker brush in front of me I could see movement. About 60 yards away I could see turkeys. I could see white heads going down every time they gobbled. This is going to happen I thought. I would of killed a tom right after a severe thunderstorm, how cool!! The were all moving torword me. I could see a bird was 25 yards away and it was leading the flock. I got ready and anticapated it being a long beard. I was shaking from my adrenalin and me being soaking wet and freezeing. It came around the tree to my decoys and it was a hen. She took one look at me, putted and went back torwards the flock, turning them around and out of my life! I couldn't figure out what I did wrong and I looked around me and saw I had no cover what so ever. If your going to hunt early season with no cover or vegataion, make a blind and make sure your conceled!!!!!!!
Fall turkey hunting is boring?! Have fun sitting in your deer stand....

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby hoosierhunter » February 13th, 2010, 4:18 pm

I was on a mountain in W.Va. at the end of a 4 day hunt. I had put a tag on a nice longbeard the opening morning, and had been tryin to get my second bird the next 3 days. I found an ole big gobbler that looked liked he was close to 30 lbs, from a distance at least. I had struck up some chatter on a box call while I was ridge runnin, and he answered from the top of the mountain ahead, some several hundred feet higher in elevation in where 3 ridges came together. After some reconnasance, I was able to get in position from below and glass the area from where the gobble was coming from. I was able to see that he was struttin up there and had a perfect veiw down all three ridges as he strutted back and forth. I could only see him at one part of his strut, as he would only appear for a couple seconds and then about a minute later I'd see him again goin the otherway. It was about 3-4 min before he would turn and come back. No sign of hens or hen chatter that I could see or hear, from my position. I found him about 9:30 on the third mornin and as ya gotta be out by 1pm, all I was able to do was locate the ole fella, cause he was'nt comin down. I snuck off the mountain and was reasonably sure he hadn't seen me.
Next mornin, I was there and so was he, roosted pretty much on top of that peak. I set to work on him, and he was hot, but wasn't comin down. He would come and look over for the hen he was a hearin, and strut so she could see him, and gobble up a storm. I quit callin and concentrated more on leaf scratchin, a wing flap, and a cluck occasionally, all of which he heard and answered to, but he stood his ground. By now it was about 11:00am and I had 1 1/2 hours to get the job done with 1/2 hour of bustin butt to get out of the woods. I only knew of one more thing to try, at that time, and that was to utilize the gobble call I was carryin. I yelp twice with a mouth call and jumped all over it with a gobble, when I had finished he was just finishing his gobble. I sat until he gobled again, and as soon as he sounded off I jumped all over him with a hard good gobble, followed by a couple short cutts. I heard him before I saw him, cause it takes a lot of wing to lift a bird dat heavy. There he is ! Sailing right to me ! Right over me ! As he went over I turned my head to see his landing, and he set down just out of site over the side of the bench, no more than 50 yds away. I had to get around the tree and fast ! I covered my movement with a couple yelps followed by a cutting sequence. He roared back, which only helped to cover my move. I was set ! There he is ! I can see his fan comin in a strut towards me. Just wait till da taxidermy man see wut I brung him ! He turned and strutted back and forth, while all I could see was the top his fan. I purred, some soft yelps, and he returned thundering gobbles. I cutt, he gobbled. He had by now went down to the next shelf about 40 ft further from me and strutted for a bit, and then began to gobble his way away from the hen that would'nt come to him.
It was 12:20 and I was at the end of my 4 day hunt. I stood up to head off the mountain, and had walked a few steps, when the urge to relieve myself came upon me. I leaned the ole 835 against a flowering dogwood, turned away and unzipped,...ahhhh that feels good[:)][:)],... and then it happened !! He walked right out in front of me, looked right at me, and Gobbled, as if to say, GOT YA ! I had the wrong gun in my hand. Piss on my boots and trousers, and my mossy behind me. Away he ran !
I am still laughin about that ole gobbler, and him bestin me on that mountain that day, and to all who read this,... THATS THE BEST DARN TURKEY HUNT I'VE EVER HAD !


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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Cut N Run » February 13th, 2010, 8:27 pm

Some of you have heard this story before, but it bears repeating. This happened in central N.C. in the second week of the season in 1995 or 96. I used to turkey hunt quite successfully with my trusty Stevens single shot, but got a deal on a Benelli Super Black Eagle and switched to using that gun exclusively for turkeys.  I'd found a strut zone a few years earlier where all you had to do was get in there quietly at least an hour before light, be still, patient, don't over-call, and you'd probably get a chance at a good gobbler.  I had already taken 5 longbeards from that area during the previous 3 seasons. Several times I'd had hens roosing in the trees all around me. The trick was to let the spot rest and not over-hunt it. Within 20 yards of the strut zone, there happened to be a long ago up-rooted tree that had rotted away many years before, but had left an ideal sized depression with a mound of soil behind it and a couple of fairly thick trees beside the depression creating an almost perfect natural blind.  There was a few small trees growing in front of this little foxhole making ideal cover, and I had plenty of clearance to swing my single shot.

The first morning I hunted with the SBE, there was a gobbler roosted perhaps 120 yards away from the strut zone who gobbled about 75 times on the limb before he flew down.  As soon as it was obvious that he was on the ground, I threw a few cutts and yelps his way, which were answered before the sound of my calls had even left the air. Ten minutes later, I saw his red, white, & blue head coming through the young pines toward the opening and I got the Benelli ready.  Every longbeard before that time had crossed directly in front of me and was promptly shot.  This bird was crossing to my left and as I started to slowly swing the gun toward him, the barrel of the SBE hit a pool cue-sized tree that was in front of me.  The action and barrel were longer on the Benelli than on the single shot.  I had to watch helplessly as the gobbler cruised through the open area less than 20 yards to my left looking for the hen he'd heard.  If I had tipped the gun barrel up to clear the tree, he would have busted me.  Instead, I froze and watched him amble off into the woods. I hunted the rest of the morning without seeing any more action.

At lunchtime, I hiked back to my tuck, got the bowsaw, and did away with the swing-limiting tree.  The next chance I could hunt there was five days later and I managed to tag that bird then.

I should have realized the difference in length between the two shotguns by how much space each took up in their gun cases. Since that day, every single place I have set up to hunt always gets the swing test ahead of time to make sure that never happens to me again. 

Luck Counts, good or bad

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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Steve_In » February 14th, 2010, 12:51 am

My son and I were hunting at Hunt. Res.  We had not heard a peep all day.  At daybreak a hen came into our decoys and slowly walked away and that was all the action we had.  We moved and set-up and called every 45 minutes or so making a horseshaped sweep of the area.  We saw plenty of sign but no gobblers.  At about noon we were going to make one last try as we had to quit by 1 o'clock.  I went out and picked up our decoys and returned to get my gun and head out when I spotted a gobbler coming out into the strip about 200 yards away.  I yelped and cut but he did not react.  He just pecked around in the stubble.  I was between my son and the gobbler so he could not see him.  He said he could hear him drumming.  Now my hearing is bad but no way could he hear that gobbler drum. We were concealed back in some pines and I told him if he wanted to see that bird to slowly get up and take a look and I would continue to try to get him to come in.  When he stood we heard that sound every turkey hunter dreads, PUTT PUTT PUTT.  I came from about forty yards accross the strip.  I can remember this because Ethan reminds me of it every time turkey hunting is mentioned.
Steve, I love "smoked" turkey


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