Afternoon hunting?

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Cut N Run
 
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Afternoon hunting?

Postby Cut N Run » February 8th, 2010, 5:35 pm

I realize that many states have restrictions that do not permit turkey hunting after noon or 1 PM.  North Carolina does not have that rule.  It hardly matters for me as I have never killed a gobbler in the afternoon. I must have some kind of jinx on me, because when I've tried afternoon hunting, all I got was to see some hens and to spend a peaceful afternoon in the woods (not that there's anything wrong with that).  I can hunt the same piece of property with a friend of mine and while I see nothing, he notches a tag after getting his choice of shots at more than one gobbler.  Another buddy of mine came to hunt as a guest at our lease and he got a nice gobbler about 1:30 PM and I saw nothing.  It is uncanny how it works (or doesn't work) and is more than a little annoying. Because of all that, I have more and greater confidence in morning hunting.

Are there any afternoon hunting strategies that have worked for anyone else that I might consider trying? 

The same holds true for deer hunting.  I have never taken a good buck in the afternoon and have only taken a few does just before dark (mostly during archery season). 

Does anyone else experience anything similar? Just curious. Thanks for any replies.

Jim
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eggshell
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby eggshell » February 9th, 2010, 5:59 am

HEy Cut N Run,

Here in Ohio we can only  hunt until noon, but in Ky they allow all day hunting. I hunt in Ky. every year and have killed birds all hours of the day, however from 2:00 to 4:00 is absolutly the deadest time in the woods. That is a good time for a nap or lunch break. I have stayed all day, but I'm usually out by 1:30 and back in by 4:30 or 5:00PM. Still there is way less gobbling and activity, but any bird you fire up will be five times more likely to come to you without hanging up. My buddies and I have a phylosophy: early morning birds are either killed quick or are a frustration, late morning birds are horny and willing to move and afternoon birds are dead. Now you will only strike a few afternoon birds during a season, but like I said more of them come than not. I think it is the henned up ole birds have lost their hens and are ready.

As for strategy: I don't like to move a lot. Your moniker (Cut N Run )is not my best strategy. If I sat and listened to a bird sit on a strut zone all morning and not move, I will remember that for the afternoon. I will move right into his strut zone around noon or when i come back at 4:00 PM. Many times he is still in the area and you may spook him, but that's ok, unless you make him fly he'll just run a ways and hide. DO NOT CALL BEFORE YOU GO IN TO SEE IF HE'S THERE! If you call he will either fire up and run right to where you want to be or be watching for you. I act just like a random mushroom hunter and waltz right in and have a seat. Now it's waiting time; sit and wait at least a half hour before you utter any calls. Then start by soft calling and later you can pick it up. Keep your eyes and ears open, many of them come silent. This is a waiting game much like a deer stand...I've waited two to three hours on a bird.

My next strategy for afternoons is to slowly slip around and set up every 200-300 yards and soft call with clucks and soft yelps or purrs. I'll wait around half an hour at each point. If a bird gobbles call agressive to him and kill him before the boss hen or other hunters gets to him. If he's more than 200 yards off move closer. Sometimes by just being out there you hear birds gobble on their own, but it's true the activity is diminished. The biggest afternoon No-No is the run and gun, that only spooks birds.

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby Cut N Run » February 9th, 2010, 6:58 pm

Thanks for the reply eggshell.  The screen name I chose is more like the other side of the coin compared to the way I actually hunt.  Like you, I prefer to scout out a favored strut zone and wait 'em out.  I've taken birds after 11 AM before, but none after noon. I've got to try to break that jinx this year.  Trouble is that I am pretty confident about morning hunting and not as thrilled about spending the afternoon hunting as I continue to strike out.  There is no difference in the way I hunt any time of day.  I keep still, quiet, call sparingly, and am very patient.
 
I have vowed to take a turkey with my grandfather's old 16 gauge pump this year.  Maybe I'll use that to break the afternoon drought I've been suffering through for so long.  I'm not going to succeed if I'm not in the woods.
 
Jim
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hoosierhunter
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby hoosierhunter » February 10th, 2010, 2:59 am

I agree with both of ya, that the hunt in the early hours are usually the most productive, exciting, vocal, and visually active time of the hunters day, not neccasarily the turkeys' day. I used to look at the afternoon hunting of wild turkeys, much the same as you fellas seem to, which is the way I feel most turkeys hunters look at the afternoon hunt. Some years back, I began to get more and more requests for guiding services, for spring turkey hunts, and with that came a felt responsibility for giving the client all I had. I found that I felt less than adequate for the afternoon hunts, as the ratio of filled tags dropped sharply from roughly noon to 5:00. I've change my tactics from those days, and have a greater confidence level now, than then, based upon results for clients. I feel the the following changes in my Hunting Style are the reasons for latter day success.......
I talked with my younger brother, who had been a big game guide in Id, for over 20yrs. asking his opinion, as a guide and a hunter. Hunt em like ya hunt elk, he said. There ain't one less gobbler there later in the day than there was that morning, and just cause he ain't talkin don't mean you can't find him, if you look properly in the right places.
Many times I have stated that a large portion of my success, comes from having good optics around my neck, but I have seen that only about 10% of turkey hunters carry them, on this side of the Mississippi, whereas the numbers are much higher on the other side of the big muddy. Those fellas that say, all that runnin and gunnin does is bump birds, are moving way too fast, and need to slow down. They've been watchin too many turkey hunts on TV, and listen to the words RUN-N-GUN, for too long!
In the afternoon while your getting ready to move, you gotta know what to look for, and where to look for it, and always be lookin for it, through those optics. My key to success in the afternoon is having the glass in front of my eyes, 60-75% of the time I'm on my feet. I only sit when sign, vocalisations, and habitat dictate !
I could go on & on, but slowing down and looking for turkeys, turkey necks, heads, backs, splayed wings, feathers ruffled, etc. I occasionally bump a bird, but not multiples of birds. I call when the glasses are close to my eyes, and if answered next call I'm looking at where I'm callin to.
I only move fast when I know where they are, and am pretty sure nothing else is gonna bust or give me away to my quarry. Other than that I'm movin slower than meltin ice and gettin the job done !



GOOD LUCK, GOD BLESS, AND STAY SAFE !
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Treerooster
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby Treerooster » February 10th, 2010, 4:43 am

My reply would echo eggshells almost word for word, right down to the times of day.

The only thing I could add would be that I have seen birds from afar on several occasion during that "dead time of day" and the birds were just loafing in the shade doing nothing. Just standing around or even squatted down taking a nap.

Had a buddy tell me one time he was set up in a blind in the early afternoon and a jake came in to his decoys. He decided not to shoot it and it hung around for a while and then took a nap. It was there for over 2 hours and finally got up and slowly wandered off.

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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby eggshell » February 10th, 2010, 5:51 am

Hoosierhunter, I agree with the optics and in most of Ky, where we hunt wide open woods it can work out, but around home in Ohio all you'd see is a field of brush. Our timbered woods are far too dense to look very far through and the naked eye is just as good, unless your watching fields. There are also many old clear cuts in the area of Ky I hunt and I have had some gobblers come right out of them. I think we all know one of the best tools in a turkey woods is a willingness to adjust and improvise our styles to the terrain and weather.

My main problem is when I am moving I have an intense urge to cover ground, the snail's pace is hard for me to do. if I sit I can force myself to stay, but I still get the itch to move. 

I have a question, how many of those spotted birds will work to a call or are you spotting and stalking? I'm not trying to cause trouble.  Most birds I have spotted just ignore the call if they are loafing.

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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby Bobbyparks » February 10th, 2010, 12:24 pm

Hello Guys,

I pretty much agree with what ya'll have said. I've hunted afternoons for years here in Georgia and I'll tell you its a very slowed down version of turkey hunting compared to mornings. Birds rarely gobble during the mid adfternoon and sometimes will gobble better in the very late afternoon.

I've always hunted until lunch and came out to eat and stretch and then right back in. As Dana mentioned the 2:00 -4:00 can be tough. I have killed birds during that time but it's usually hot and I often snooze if I can.

As far as tactics its simple for me. Because our birds don't gobble much during that time and to walk and call is to bump and educate, I set up in an area I know birds frequent. Often it's near a road, greenfield or a more open area. I'll make a blind using whats around and if you're going to use a decoy this is the time. Set it out in front and thats likely where the bird will end up. I'll call perodically and try to wait 15 minutes between sessions although its' often only 10.

I start low and slow in case a bird is close and I may turn it up to make sure a bird a ways off know s I'm there. Honestly I've killed a bird almost every season in the afternoon and a guy that hunted with me killed all 3 of his that way one year. Almost evry one came in silent and when I had decoys out thats where they'd be. I've awakend more than once to see a birtd standing looking at my decoy or strutting up to it. One woke me up drummin and spitin. Heart attack material .

In Texas or evn here late I may locate closer to a roosting area although I don't do that much because I don't want to change what they're doing if they have a pattern. In Georgia they roam. In Texas they roost in certain areas unless you mess with them close and they react right away by changing what they do. It's kind of amazing actually how word gets around between them. lol

Truth is I don't like to hunt afternoons here but you can't kill em from the couch.
Out west birds will gobble much better and I will still do set ups in Texas like I do here but in MT I hunt more like in the mornings.

I suppose if I had a place with the right terrain and field s I might ease around and peek into them but I don't have that ..

Anyway thats my 2 cents worth
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hoosierhunter
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby hoosierhunter » February 10th, 2010, 2:18 pm

Those are some real good points eggshell, and I understand each fella has, if he's hunted gobblers very long, developed a technique that he is comfortable with. I am a kind fella who gets bored with the comfortable, simply because I'm not pushing myself to achieve past my comfort level, in new ways.
Optics,.... Let it be understood, you don't have to be looking long distances, short distances, or even 40-70 yds, as you come over a rise to use optics efficeintly. To say you cannot use optics to your advantage under 100 yds, is close mindeness, in my opinion. Case in point,.... your hunting a bird with eyesight your that mind can't comprehend, A wild turkey has the eyesight at least equal to that of an American Bald Eagle, if not equal to that of an California Condor, according to Ornithology biologists. Now I'm not tryin to ruffle feathers here, but to think your eyesight at short distances is good enough to make a move on a turkey is ridiculous. You're simply outgunned,... and optics are only a help and in no way level the playing field. If you are bumping birds, then those are birds you did not see or were moving to fast to see. Yet we all bump birds !
It seems to me that to overcome the itch to move fast, and move as slow as melting ice, or at a snails pace, depends upon what you are willing to accept as good enough. Moving slow like I describe takes as much disipline and determination as sitting in one spot for 10 hrs.
I am a hunter, yes I spot and stalk, and call. No I ain't sneakin up on ole tom sleeping under a pine tree,in the afternoon, and blowin his head off. Yet, let there be no misunderstanding, I'll be set up on him when nap time is over, and that call will work then ! If yyya ain't done it ya ain't gonna know it. What is the difference between roosting a bird on the limb vs on the ground?
Well momma says my dinner is ready, so let me close leaving these thoughts,...We know pretty much what ole gobbler is doin in the afternoon, sleepin or restin, tryin to get some, or eatin and cruisin. My point is optics can increase a hunters success ratio, when runnin n gunnin time comes, whether your in Montana Idaho Neb.Oh Ky Geo. or wherever, and to rule them out is a handicap. Go to Mi. thread and look at a redhead I killed last spring with a longbow, spot and stalk, calls only scared em May 31, I was were they was passin on their way to my dinner.

GOOD LUCK, GOD BLESS, AND STAY SAFE !
L.K.LESLIE
HOOSIER HUNTER CUSTOM CALLS
MOSSY OAK PRO STAFF
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eggshell
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby eggshell » February 11th, 2010, 3:46 am

No problem Hoosierhunter, I completely understand and believe you have a good technique. Me on the other hand, I am what I am you can ask my wife about my patience. So I am content to do what fits me, as I suspect most do. The great thing is the question was asked about strategies and there is a lot to chose from in this thread. I'll bet somewhere a gobbler dies this spring as a result of this thread and that my brother is what we're about! Oh yeah, I actually do carry good optics.

Many years ago we had so few birds that a blown opportunity might of meant a season eating tag soup. In these days of bounty I have become sloppy and rely on the premice there are enough birds, I'll find another chance, if I don't kill this one. I fill most of my tags from year to year (last year I filled 7 of 9, leaving only the fall archery tags in KY. and most of you know why that was)  so that keeps me happy.

I really wouldn't want to be a Gobbler in your woods. Hang em high brother.

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Afternoon hunting?

Postby Cut N Run » February 11th, 2010, 7:35 pm

I really appreciate the replies guys.  It motivates me to give afternoon hunting a more thorough try this Spring.  Who knows, you may see my ugly mug grinning over a dead longbeard in a picture posted here from an afternoon hunt.  I promise to try harder to break that jinx this season, cross my heart.
 
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Jim
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