bringing in the turkeys

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
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Joined: April 14th, 2009, 2:56 pm

bringing in the turkeys

Postby rc912 » April 14th, 2009, 3:08 pm

Ok, I am new to this forum and have a dilemma.I ahve been hunting a piece of land where there are plenty of signs of turkeys but I have not seen or heard one at all.Plenty of tracks and scratch spots but no birds around when I go out and hunt.I have hunted here in the morning and evening with no luck.Calling has not produced anything either.Does anyone have any advice or ideas?Any help would be great.

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Joined: April 13th, 2008, 5:24 am
Location: Calhoun County, Michigan

RE: bringing in the turkeys

Postby Fan Club » April 14th, 2009, 4:33 pm

You haven't given much information about the size or nature of your property, (woods, fields, swamps, etc?) but turkeys are free ranging birds and will travel as far as needed for food, water and adequate roost conditions. You could be hunting a transition zone that they only pass through in the middle of every third day, for example. Without preseason scouting or previous years hunting experience on a property, this is often what happens.
Here are some excerpts from scouting tips I posted in the Michigan forum that may help-
"Without knowing anything about the size or topography of the property you intend to hunt, your first order of business should be to determine where the turkeys roost. All daily turkey activity begins and ends at the roost site, and they usually have several. Obviously you want to look for this in the middle of the day while the turkeys are away. Avoid crossing open fields to keep your scouting low impact, you don't want to "bump" birds and alert them to impending human presence. Wear your camo. Move slowly and stop and observe every few feet looking for turkeys, feathers, footprints and droppings. What you are looking for are some of the tallest trees on the property with an assortment of horizontal limbs 30 feet off the ground or more. If the tall trees are near an embankment, that's even better. Turkeys will fly up and fly down to the hill side so the don't have so far to go. When you locate likely looking trees, circle their trunks and look for feathers and an excess amount of turkey scat, including...uh...diarrhea, a whitish spray on the leaves. Yes, turkeys too have irregular bowel movements. When you locate a roost site, you'll know it immediately.

Actually locating turkeys, will put you on the fast track. If you see turkeys, sit down slowly and keep your movements to a minimum. You can observe them from a distance with binoculars, try to determine their direction of travel and identify their current food source. Areas in the woods where a wide path of leaves have been scratched and overtuned indicate a turkey flock has moved through the area. Note the location and direction of travel for future reference. It wouldn't be a bad idea to utilize a small spiral notebook. Avoid traipsing down old two tracks or deer trails, turkeys like semi-open areas for security from predators and you'll just maximize your chance of bumping birds by walking on them.

Turkeys usually leave the roost, mill around for while and then head for a food source. Mid day they will inhabit loafing areas and strut zones. In the evening they will return to the roost. Your task is to ascertain where the roost areas, feeding areas and strut zones are without educating the birds that they are being observed/followed/patterned a/o hunted. Once you put the pieces of the puzzle together you can begin to formulate a game plan to hunt them.

This is all an overview and oversimplification of course, there are many variables involved. Turkey behavior changes as the season progresses, likewise food sources and roost sites change. When you begin to pattern daily turkey movement, you'll have a better idea of where to position yourself to set up and try to call them in. That being said, the turkeys are far better teachers than an old turkey hunter such as myself, just get out there and let it happen."

Hopefully there is some information in there that you can use. I posted that for a beginning hunter so please disregard what you can't use. The turkeys are obviously leaving sign, you just need to figure out when.

"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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Joined: April 14th, 2009, 2:56 pm

RE: bringing in the turkeys

Postby rc912 » April 14th, 2009, 4:52 pm

That helps a lot.I have never hunted this piece of land before but the owner tells me he has seen and heard turkeys all over it. It is mostly clearcut with some large oak trees all around the boundaries and a decent size creek running across the back corner. I did not get permission to hunt this land until a couple days before season opening.So scouting the land was almost impossible.I am planning on doing more recon and hunting it some more.Again thanks for the info.

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Joined: April 20th, 2008, 4:40 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RE: bringing in the turkeys

Postby swpatrkyhunter » April 15th, 2009, 10:11 pm

Hi rc912! Welcome to the forum!
As for your problem.  To me it sounds like you have not scouted your hunting area well enough. You need to find out where the birds are roosting, At what times do they travel a certain area, how big of an area do they cover, And where water sources are located. The fact that you have signs in your hunting area is good! But if your moving too much or calling to agressive, etc... you might be spooking the birds.
Fan Club has given you some great advice! Do your homework and I think you'll get one of those birds to come in.
Good Luck!
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!

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