Tell Me Your Mistakes!

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

Postby TreeTrunkNarcoleptic » February 24th, 2010, 6:49 pm

I was set up at the base of a big ridge.  I was about 15 feet into the treeline, facing an open field, with a good natural blind built in front of me.  I'd seen droppings and scratchings that indicated turkeys had recently walked along that field edge and up the face of the ridge and I'd heard gobbling on several mornings coming from the top of that ridge, so my plan was to ambush them on their way home from a long day in the turkey woods.  I also set out a couple of decoys, a feeding hen and a jake in the corner of the field.
 
My sexy hens yelps and cuts weren't getting any responses and I was beginning to wonder if this perfect ambush spot wasn't so perfect after all.  But I decided to try one other tactic.  Between a slate, a diaphram and my hat, I staged a good tom fight for a minute or so.  Then I gave it a rest and decided to do the same myself.  I had my shotgun in my lap and my head back against that treetrunk when I head footsteps in the pinestraw.  He wasn't coming in cautious either, he was on a dead run down that ridge !
 
What's that you say ?  Can't call a turkey downhill ?  ....Yeah, that's what I'd heard too.  ....Don't believe everything you hear.  This old boy was coming in with the throttle wide open.  I knew it had to be a gobbler itching to get involved in the fray, you just couldn't mistake the sound of his feet in the dead leaves and pinestraw.
 
He was maybe about 10 feet behind me and the footsteps went silent.  Mind you I haven't seen him yet, but I can feel him behind me.  He was so close, I thought he might run right into my set-up and join me.  .....Then the other unmistakable sound came, the dreaded "putt".  He'd putt, then he'd purr.  Putt-purr, putt-purr, put-purr.  There was the sound of feet moving about back there along with the putt-purring.  At some point I figured he was heading out of town, back up the ridge and I turned my head to at least what I'd missed.
 
But he hadn't gone anywhere.  He'd just been pacing around and he was only about 15 feet away from me.  Of course, when I moved, he gave me the evil eye and with one good wing flap he turned and raced back up that ridge, putting all the way.
 
In hindsight I concluded that he had lost sight of my decoys behind my blind and perhaps if I had just waited him out, he might have paced around enough to sight them again and subsequently put himself in my gun sights.
 
"You can't grill it 'till you kill it."

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Cut N Run » February 26th, 2010, 4:40 am

I had one gobbler come strutting in to what looked like just outside of shooting range from me. The area I was hunting is pretty thick and there are just not a lot of clear shooting lanes.  I didn't want to wound, sting, or educate him, as this spot had been productive over the years and I wanted to get another chance at that longbeard.  I watched as he eased off, searching for the hen he'd heard. I tried to coax him to come back, but his gobbling kept getting fainter & farther away.  I visually marked where he was standing so I could pace it off when the coast was clear.  From where I was sitting, it looked to be about 60+ yards to where he had been standing.  I may have gotten a killing shot at that distance, but I may not have either. Rather be safe than sorry, especially with birds I respect as much as turkeys.
 
It looked a little closer than 60 yards when I stood up. I paced it off to the leaning limb he was standing beside & it was 46 yards!!! I paced it again to make sure, yep, 46 yards. DOH!
 
Now I tie small black cords on trees 50 yards out from the trees I like to sit against when I hunt so I have a better idea of what is in range and what's not.
 
One of my hunting buddies got that bird a few days later about a half-mile away on the other side of the property.
 
Jim 
Luck Counts, good or bad

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NYSuperSportsman
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby NYSuperSportsman » February 27th, 2010, 5:21 pm

The one that I think about alot lately is the second day of last years season. May 2nd. I got in late but the birds were still in the trees, and right were I hoped they would be. I quickly set up and did one set of tree yelps. I hear a hen cackle and a thundering gobble. Next I watched 2 birds fly down toward me. The hen hit the ground at about 40 yds and the gobbler at 50. I called softly again and the hen came running and the gobbler was about 30 yards behind just gobbling like crazy. ?My gun was up and I was ready. Within 10 seconds the hen was right in my face about 10 feet away. Looking right into my eyes saying (why is he heck is this fat green blob making turkey noises.) out of corner of my eye I see a fan coming my way and hear a gobble that about blew my hat off. The next noise I heard was the worst noise a turkey hunter can hear. PUTTT PUTTT PUTTT. I watched that longbeard walk out of my life with his beard swinging............. I was sitting againse a little tree in the wide open with no foliage. I have learned that an extra minute or two to find a better hiding spot is well worth it. another 30-40 seconds and I would have been tagged out on the second day of the 09 season....... Is it may yet???

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eggshell
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby eggshell » February 28th, 2010, 3:41 am

I'm curious. I have read several post where people talk about birds being close, 10 to 25 yards, and having birds spot them and hearing the dreaded Putt Putt then watch a gobbler walk away. I assure you that when i hear that Putt and a bird turns his back to me to walk away, I forget all about sitting dead still. If I can raise up and shoot or turn and shoot I will. No bird will ever walk away from me if  the shot is not obstructed, if he ain't running or flying (and he better not fly through an open area) he's dieing. The gig is up, move however you have too and quick, heck I've stood up before. Most birds will pretty much ignore the movement enough for you to shoot. If your saying that's not sportsman like, I say you've already done your job, you called him into range. Now I realize sometimes there is just too much brush or he is bobbing in and out of trees or running, but if he is just walking away Putting he is usually going to present a shot. Now you can't take all day aiming, the old grouse hunter kicks in for me. Honestly, I rarely miss one of those birds if I shoot, I think it's more instinct and I don't have the jitters as bad. 

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mark hay
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby mark hay » February 28th, 2010, 4:00 am

Yes Sir, Dana.  If that bird is off to my side , out of line with my muzzles , and there is not too much brush , I'll swing on the bird . It's been my experience that turkeys , like most spooked critters , will retreat the way they came in . Not always , but more than not . As I begin my movement , they are generally in retreat . If he's running  , I'll get the gun behind him and swing through on the head , like a quail . I haven't been offered a flying shot at this point in my career .
 Those birds that are running straight away can be a little tougher as they ''tack about'' , in attempt to keep an eye on you . If you pull the trigger as he makes a tack in the other direction it could be a miss , or wounded bird .
 This is one of my favorite reasons for using the double . It's Modified barrel is more than adequate for 30 yards , with good density , yet wide enough pattern for those running shots .

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Fan Club
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby Fan Club » February 28th, 2010, 4:26 am

In that case Dana, I'm sure you'll agree that you're actually better off letting the gobbler get farther away from you. Everybody knows, or should know, that if you get a shot at only 10 yards your pattern is only going to be about the size of a baseball.
 
I also believe that prior wing shooting experience plays a HUGE part in a situation like that. Wing shooting will teach you reaction and target aquisition as a reflex without much thought. Unless you know it can be done, you are much less apt to try it. And while we're at it, let's discuss suddenly shooting in an unexpected direction without much thought. That goes against almost all the common safety rules that are drilled into turkey hunters from early on. On private ground, probably a much safer tactic. On public ground, suddenly rising or standing, shooting in a different direction than expected without being sure of your new background, with a definite gobbler present...probably not such a great idea.
 
It's easy for me to see why a lot of folks would pass on such a shot with the adrenalin rush that comes with having turkeys only a few feet away and the ensuing confusion after being busted. It's been my experience that turkeys seldom walk away after an alarm putt anyway, they're usually headed for the next county post haste. Just playing the devil's advocate here...
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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grizzly
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby grizzly » February 28th, 2010, 4:49 am

an old man that i used to hunt with once told me that there are no mistakes when hunting turkeys only learning expreinces and it was when you failed to learn it becomes  a mistake. so all these years i have only been learning how not to make mistakes[:)] wayne

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NYSuperSportsman
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby NYSuperSportsman » February 28th, 2010, 6:07 am

Eggshell,
Beleieve me if I had a shot I would have taken it. The terrain and the position of the gobbler kept me from doing that. This actually reminds me of a gobbler I shot a few years ago. I shot at about 30 yards and he rolled I got to my knees and he jumped up and took off but he made the mistake of flying right at me.... I send another load of federal #5's into his head at about 10 yards on the fly. I am definately an adapt and overcome type of guy, but sometimes you cant adapt enough with out getting busted.

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eggshell
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby eggshell » February 28th, 2010, 10:02 am

I had a feeling this one would get feedback. Fan club, you are right about distance. If he is still close after you acquire the target ride him out a ways, but most likely he will already have covered the needed distance, by the time your solid and on aim. A good point though. As for safety, I'm very cautious of my shooting lanes and I really wasn't thinking a full 180 degrees, but yes that may be the scenario. I was thinking like Mark said from say shoulder to shoulder. I would have to make that determination from my location. It is however very unlikely a bird just walked by someone else within gunshot range behind you without getting shot at or spooked. There are a lot of variables and no set rules. I agree 100%, don't shoot where you don't have a reasonable certainty that it is safe and directly behind you is one of those places unless you have something like a high bank/ hillside just beyond the bird. You are also correct on the wing-shooting experience.

The trouble with a forum like this is we kind of expect people to have ESP and automatically know just what we were thinking when we post. I really was thinking a clear safe shooting lane was already established and most likely the bird was within say 140 degrees of front center(shoulder to shoulder).

NYSuperSportsman I wasn't singling you out. I was truly just curious and trying to add some information that a newby should not assume the bird is lost when he putts and starts to leave.

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NYSuperSportsman
 
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RE: Tell Me Your Mistakes!

Postby NYSuperSportsman » February 28th, 2010, 11:30 am

Eggshell,
I understand that you werent singling me out. I guess I didnt think about it that way. Your right a putt doesnt mean that every time. Its difficult to find anything in turkey hunting that is the same every time. ha ha.
You know this makes me think of another thing, I have a cousin that is a very successful turkey hunter, and he says he never puts his gun up on his knee. He will call a bird in with the gun on his lap and when its in shooting distance he will just grab it pull up and bam! He said that turkeys dont react fast enough for that to matter. I have never tried it and I am not sure that I will.... Anyone else heard this before?

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