Explain your hunt...

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
Big Daddy Long Beard
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Explain your hunt...

Postby Big Daddy Long Beard » January 9th, 2010, 8:06 pm

What do you do to prepare, how do you decide when/where to go, what is your routine on the hunt? What do you do when you first hit the fields?
"Practice your calling, your family may complain, because face it: A turkey call is music to the ears of no one else but a turkey hunter" - Jim Spencer

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby icdedturkes » January 10th, 2010, 6:19 am

I blow a mouth call 90 percent of the time so I practice with one for about an hour 365 days a year..

Scouting: very little, been hunting most of the properties for 15+ years. One morning listen to find out how many birds are on a particular place and than can determine which properties get the bulk of my time. Outside of any major change in farming or timber management birds are going to roost, dust, feed and travel through the same areas each and every year. Plus as foilage, crops and other natural factors occur throughout the season pre season scouting knowledge becomes out dated. Scout on the fly.

I live and die through mobile hunting. The hours spent by some blind calling, I feel as if I can work 5-6 birds by being mobile, the more birds you work the better your odds of slapping the trigger. Being our state is composed of small parcels, I can hammer out 10-20 parcels in a day, its a modified run and gun.

If cover allows, I tend to walk around the property boundaries. Even a square 40 acre parcel offers 1 mile of walking vs 400 walking down a two track through the center. Invisibility is key in killing turkeys and keeping them from feeling they have ever been hunted.

I feel as if I can make even the stubbornest, henned up gobbler, gobble at least once and that every turkey has a death wish, you must be good enough to convince him of that.

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby grizzly » January 10th, 2010, 7:33 am

i have been hunting the same land for a long time but i get out  a couple of months before opening day to see where turkeys are comeing and going when i find places where there been a lot of action i will find a good place to sit then i will clear brush for good shooting lanes. i will also make sure my trails to my spots are clear so i can walk threw the woods in the dark . knowing where the toms are roosting can be very helpful when picking a setup spot .i have come to believe the you don't have to carry a lot of stuff it's better to be mobile if with all my planning the toms have other ideas and i will need the relocate.[:D] wayne

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Cut N Run
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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby Cut N Run » January 10th, 2010, 10:21 am

I keep an eye on bird movement during the deer season, and keep up with what the landowner sees & where. I scout as I walk the lease, making improvements in winter where necessary. By late winter I watch a couple of open areas for turkey movement from deer stands with a spotting scope.
I go to unhuntable places in early spring (state parks and farms where hunting is off limits but where calling practice is allowed) and get used to being still & working on my calling, so that I am good to go once the season starts.
I take several trips out to the range and run a few boxes of shells through my shotgun on turkey targets at different hunting ranges so I am ready to make the shot count when it arrives.
My lease is limited in size and I am familiar with several favored roosting/travel/ hang out areas for the birds.  Before the season I make sure the trails to each spot are as clear and easy to walk quietly as possible. By opening day I usually know where some gobblers are more likely to be spending part of their day. Hopefully, I can position myself to notch a tag.
Patience and luck is about all that's left.
Luck Counts, good or bad

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby nhtrkybstr » January 10th, 2010, 12:35 pm

I pre-scout my areas in April. Once I have a decent idea that birds are in the area, on opening morning I get to my spot very early. And by early I mean 2:30am if I have to cross a field to get to my spot.
Once I'm there, I get all my stuff out and ready. I pull out my pot, and striker, get my box out, pop in a mouth call and settle in.
Once first light approaches, if no birds sound off, I pull out my slate pot, and do some soft tree yelps and purrs.
Once he responds and I know where he is, I stay quiet and won't call again.
Once he has pitched off, I try and gauge his temp, by using soft yelping and purring. If he hammers me hard I shut down, and get my gun ready.
Then it's luck and patience. Hopefully, he'll come to my decoy, and I'll walk out of the woods with him over my shoulder.
Sometimes, he won't like anything I'm doing, or he'll hook up with a hen, and I get skunked.
That's what I do.
You can't kill'em sittin' on the couch!

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby thunderchicken » January 10th, 2010, 3:08 pm

I will be taking notes all fall on where I see the birds. I will record this info and then over the winter months I will study maps of these areas and spend my free days driving roads around these areas looking for access areas and maybe birds. Then in late march I will maybe start to hike into these areas looking for roost sites and turkey sign. I spend early mornings getting to good listening spots and listen for the first gobbles of the year. this gives me some good info on where birds are hanging out and roosting.

I too will get to my spot opening morning very early. I do this because I want to be there before anyone else and be set up. Here in NH the competition for a good spot is high. I like to get off the beaten path away fron the EASY access spots and get to the birds that hole up on the high ridges and deep into low points. I would much rather hunt the mountains of Maine and VT than the fields and farms here in NH.

Thats my plan and I am sticking to it!
Impatience is hard to ignore, but patience puts the bird in the truck!

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby swpatrkyhunter » January 11th, 2010, 11:26 am

Good question Big Daddy!
  I would say it depends on what part of the season it is. Opening day is always dependant on where I feel the best chances for me will be based on scouting and weather or not there will be other hunters in the area.  As far as preperation goes that can be a rather lengthy list! LOL! I must admit that every season I start out with just about everything but the kitchen sink. But I am getting better about it. I like to plan my hunts as much as possible. Know where I plan to set up in the morning and get there about 30 min before daylight. I get set up as quietly as possible. If it looks like rain I will slip my rain gear on. I will have sitting on the ground beside me a slate, glass friction call, two strikers, box call, two mouth calls, and one in my mouth, and my water bottle. Once I'm setup I become a tree, motionless, untill the birds hit the ground. sometimes I might make a couple soft tree yelps before flydown but usually I wait till they hit the ground. After that it all depends on the birds as to how I call. Whatever seems to sound sweet to them that particular day is what I will do. If the morning does not pan out then I put to use what I learned from my scouting to help me decide where to go to next.
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby shaman » January 15th, 2010, 2:10 am

What do you do to prepare, how do you decide when/where to go, what is your routine on the hunt? What do you do when you first hit the fields?

First off, let me remind y'all that I'm turkey hunter that hunts his own 200 acres.  I can go out on my front porch in the morning and owl and have gobblers sounding off a full 360 degrees.

When the alarm goes off, I usually take my bag of calls out onto the front porch and put them out on the table, and then go in the house and start getting ready.  I put on the coffee, and grab the latest weather report.  I suit up and then go out on the porch and try out a few calls.

To me this step is important.  I want to know how my calls are going to sound after they've been exposed to the current conditions.  Some calls, especially box calls, sound great in the house, but can go bad as soon as you hit the woods.   It takes me only a couple of minutes.  The guesses I made the night before usually are right.  Once in a while I still need to swap out a call, usually due to a change in the weather.

I've usually done my strateme-gizing the night before, sipping scotch at the thoughtful spot.  Usually I balance two things in my head:  1) where will the birds be  2) How often have I been busted in a given spot.   It is really easy, even on  200 acres, to get the birds wise to you.  If I've been someplace the day before, I'll try another place and rotate my favorite spots.  If I've managed to slip in and out without a turkey seeing me,  I may or may not hit it again the next day.  After all this time on the same plot of ground, it's hard to be surprised.  The terrain and the buildings  haven't changed in a hundred years.  These turkeys have been in somewhat the same place for generations.

 There are a bunch of things at play here:

1)  The turkeys may or may not be utilizing a given spot.  Even some of my favorite honey holes have off weeks or even off years.
2)  The weather may or may not be conducive for the turkeys to show themselves.  Example:  I have one pasture that is a sure fire place for turkeys to go sun themselves on ultra-cold mornings.
3)  The season itself may be advanced or retarded from what I'd be expecting.  One year we had 90F+ days during opening week, and the turkeys were as fired up as I've ever seen them.  Another year we had snow and 26F for the Opener, and I did not see a receptive gobbler until the last week.
4)   Some days I just feel like going somewhere and being in the woods.  We talk about taking the turkey's temperature.  There's also taking my temperature: do I feel like being intense about my hunting or do I want to go out and yelp a little every 15 minutes and see what happens?  I've been known to be successful either way.

My routine is usually to go somewhere I know turkeys roost and try to arrive where I'm going well before they start sounding off.  I don't play the flydown all that hard.  I try and hang back and just witness it.  I try not to be the first to call; I don't try and be the first or last to fly down.  I'm also not the first to crank up the energy.  As I've matured as a hunter, I've become more of a "me too" caller.    That's not to say I don't get aggressive, and I'm more than happy to crank it up, but I'm never the type that a hunter standing on the edge of the property would say: "Hmmmmph! That's a hunter for sure."

Once in a while, I get a gobbler hooked on the roost, and he lets me know I'm going to be his.  I had one this year that did that-- first time in 8 seasons I've closed the deal at flydown. The vast majority of my birds have been taken mid-morning and a surprising number have now been taken in the afternoon.  We've had a lot of cold Aprils over the past decade.  The KY season starts off in the Lull anyway, and if you pile on low morning temperatures, it often takes the gobblers until afternoon to really get themselves warmed up enough to be thinking about love.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY

Big Daddy Long Beard
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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby Big Daddy Long Beard » January 15th, 2010, 5:04 am

Thanks for the info guys...I've been turkey hunting for two years, the first year I was really into it, last year I didn't have much time to go, and this year (3rd year) I'm going to hit it hard. I enjoy turkey hunting more than anything else. I'm just a noobie, trying to get my first kill, I've been working on my calling, but wasn't exactly sure of which calls to get etc. I've got my arsenal ready now with only a few things left that I want.

Do any of you use an owl call to locate or pretty much scout? I've been scouting but haven't been able to go in the mornings. I hunt on private land (4,000+ acres) stretched across the southern parts of Indiana so I've got plenty of options, just was trying to brush up on the skills and understand the turkey in itself, and get some advice from people that walk out with birds on opening day...

A few questions:
How do you know when to run and gun?
How do you know whent NOT to run and gun?
Do any of you use Owl calls or any other locating calls?
If you located a gobbler on the roost, where do you setup at? Under him, or within how many yards?
I know these questions sound stupid to some, but please understand I'm new to this. I enjoy turkey hunting but would like to see my hard work pay off with meat in the freezer!

Thanks Again!

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RE: Explain your hunt...

Postby swpatrkyhunter » January 15th, 2010, 6:02 am

Hi Big Daddy! And again, welcome. Don't ever fell like any question is stupid! There are not stupid questions. What would be stupid is to not ask. As for the questions you asked about.
Knowing when or when not to run and gun is kinda like knowint when not to call and when to call. There are alot of factors to take into consideration. Knowing the birds you hunt and what their daily rutines are is vital. knowing this comes from scouting and woodsmanship. Just because a bird shuts up while your working him does not mean he has left the area. He may be just taking his time to get to you and being careful the last few yards. Remember. it is against his nature to come to you. Also. The run and gun tactic can work well for some guys but alot of how well it works depends on how pressured the birds have been. Basically it boils down to instinct. What you feel will work at a given moment. One thing you will learn about turkeys is that they do things without no rime or reason. This fact will drive you nuts. You have to kind of "feel out" the situation and base what you decide on that. After a couple years you will use experiance to help you with choices like this.
The use of locater calls is very useful. I generally use an owl call to find roost sites in the evening and to locat where birds are before daylight in the morning to make sure they are still in the same roost. After daylight I generally use a crow call for locating birds. But. sometimes they don't answer the crow call. Sometimes you need to change things up. Use a woodpecker, redtailed hawk,peacock, coyote, or even the owl call during daylight to strick up a bird. Some guys will use their turkey calls. Which works to. But what you got to watch out for when you do that is sometimes a bird can be really close and start coming to you when you hit your turkey call and not give you enough time to setup before getting busted.
If you locat a Toms roost you should NOT try to get under him in the morning. Usually doing so will bump him off the roost to the next county. Find out where the birds pitch down to most often at flydown time and try to get in that area giving yourself enough yardage to work the bird.Most guys will say setup around 100 yards from the roost so as not to spook the birds.
Know the terrain of the area your hunting. Look for natural and man made barriers that can hang up a bird from coming to you. When calling general rule is that less is more. Listen to hens in the woods. Notice how often they call, wheather they call softer or vigorous. What cadance and vocalizations they use. Soft calls in the morning will do more for you to get a toms attention then hammering him with excited yelps will. Again you have to "feel' what the birds are responding to the best. 
Good luck this Spring!
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!


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