Northern Turkeys

Your place to talk about anything and everything hunting-related!
User avatar
ticklishtompro
 
Posts: 314
Joined: April 19th, 2012, 9:36 pm
Location: Sheboygan,Wisconsin

Northern Turkeys

Postby ticklishtompro » January 30th, 2014, 10:13 pm

I have been asked to give a seminar in March at a local Cabelas. The description of the seminar is: Old Tom Turkey acts just a little bit different in the North. Learn local tips and tactics from Northern turkey hunting pros.
I have some ideas, but I would like to hear from some of you all in the northern areas, what do you think are important on this subject.

Like I said, I have a few things in mind, but I want to hear what others think also. Also those of you from the south, what are some questions you might have for hunting up here.

This wouldn't have been my first choice of a topic, but I can make it work.
Ticklish Tom Custom Calls Prostaff
ttcutomcalls.webs.com
Mossy Oak Prostaff
Hips Archery Targets Prostaff
Dixieland Outdoors Prostaff

User avatar
dewey
 
Posts: 1623
Joined: January 16th, 2009, 6:18 am
Location: Minneapolis Minnesota

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby dewey » January 30th, 2014, 11:26 pm

I have no idea as I have never hunted Southern turkeys but I would be interested in reading what others have to say.

Insert your favorite southern joke here:-)

Dewey
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

User avatar
ylpnfol
 
Posts: 698
Joined: February 4th, 2011, 3:57 am
Location: Central Virginia

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby ylpnfol » January 31st, 2014, 9:16 am

It's more like a ga-y'all-ble down here.... Don't cha know :?
Unofficial mascot for Team 2
Springtime Assassins

User avatar
WillowRidgeCalls
 
Posts: 3400
Joined: May 25th, 2009, 4:26 pm
Location: Reeseville Wisconsin

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 31st, 2014, 9:50 am

I don't believe there is much of a difference between a northern and southern bird, but your hunting/calling tactics are a bit different. The southern birds get a lot more pressure on them than these northern birds do, but a bird is still a bird, you just have to learn what tactics are needed?
WillowRidgeCalls
WI Youth & LTH Mentor
Dodge Co. NWTF
Scott
Image

User avatar
retranger
 
Posts: 685
Joined: January 23rd, 2011, 8:11 am
Location: Lake Placid, New York

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby retranger » January 31st, 2014, 10:12 am

First thing that comes to my mind is I don't have to worry about the crawly things on the ground like they do down south. :o :o Cut n Run had a copper head run him off his set up last year!!!! and I hear the water moccasins are real aggressive. In my area it is pretty much woods hunting. There are a few open areas but not many. You can travel 50 miles and get into farm land, but I am pretty much in the woods. Power line right a ways are real good to hunt and they are usually 30 yds wide, harvested many birds on them. Our shots are usually not more than the 30 yds and many times closer so you really need to take a fine bead and make a good shot. Many a bird have been missed at 10 or 15 yds. Decoys are a hit and miss, can't say I have ever had a bird shy away and the foam hen I have is pretty beat up,,,,by both hen and tom. I usually put a pop up hub blind in an area where the birds hang out and leave it for the season to use in bad weather.
What works for me may not work for you and what works today may not work tomorrow
Doug <- <- ~<- <- <- ~ <-

charlie elk
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby charlie elk » January 31st, 2014, 10:38 am

Actually this is a tough one. In my experiences I've found turkeys act like turkeys wherever they are. Clearly the habitat is generally more open in early spring here in the north and there are years like last year when you have to wear snow camo well into May. For the most part there are no snakes but the WDNR has reintroduced rattlers here on the west side of WI. In late spring I encounter them occasionally and last fall one struck my leg getting himself stuck in my pants leg. Had to reach down and pull him out. A diamondback did the same thing to me in FL. Since I've developed a hatred of snakes, while I hunting in serious snake country I do not walk in until it's getting light. (so that's a difference in tactic)
As I think about-
Finding the bird north and south - same tactics
Calling - same calls, vocalizations, tempo and strategies.
Flock structure and roost sites - the same or at least similar enough to be the same. The tree species of roost may differ. The timing of the flock structure and nesting is different.
Setting up - same except during early spring when there is no foliage.
Camo color combos are different, dictated by the terrain.
Many places in the south require lease payments or trespass fees to hunt. This is gaining in the north but certainly not as prevalent as in the south, yet.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

User avatar
ticklishtompro
 
Posts: 314
Joined: April 19th, 2012, 9:36 pm
Location: Sheboygan,Wisconsin

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby ticklishtompro » January 31st, 2014, 12:43 pm

Boy, I thought you guys would have more than that!lol
I agree a turkey is a turkey, but one thing I thought of was how our weather changes so much from the youth season to the final period. With that the changes in the flocks and how you use different tactics and calling. A lot of times the early seasons the birds are still very flocked up and simple hen yelps won't do it. Sometimes calling in the hens is the only way to bring in the gobblers trailing behind. Using the aggressive fighting purrs if the toms are still establishing dominance and not looking quite so much for love. Also food sources and how when there is snow hunt agriculture fields where they spread manure.
Alright so who has some more.
Ticklish Tom Custom Calls Prostaff
ttcutomcalls.webs.com
Mossy Oak Prostaff
Hips Archery Targets Prostaff
Dixieland Outdoors Prostaff

charlie elk
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 4:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby charlie elk » January 31st, 2014, 2:11 pm

ticklishtompro wrote:but one thing I thought of was how our weather changes so much from the youth season to the final period.

We are usually more extreme. But southern weather too is their version of cold to very warm by end of season.

ticklishtompro wrote:With that the changes in the flocks and how you use different tactics and calling. A lot of times the early seasons the birds are still very flocked up and simple hen yelps won't do it. Sometimes calling in the hens is the only way to bring in the gobblers trailing behind. Using the aggressive fighting purrs if the toms are still establishing dominance and not looking quite so much for love.

Depending on the timing I use all these calling tactics on southern birds just like with WI birds.

ticklishtompro wrote:Also food sources and how when there is snow hunt agriculture fields where they spread manure.

This is different than south. Wow what a claim to fame in the North. :lol: Manure spreading is such an important winter food source WI turkey managers are concerned about the detrimental affects of liquid manure vs chunky. The thought goes as more farms convert to liquid manure in their operations there will be fewer turkeys.

Just thought of this one; From my observations more Northern hunters use commercial popup blinds than Southern hunters do. (6 to 1 ratio) Could this be because in the North there are more hunters with less skill than in the South. Or is it just a simple fact the weather is more uncomfortable up here.

Northern turkeys are generally heavier. They have more and thicker feathers. Shorter spurs in the north?
Good luck with this subject. It did get me to thinking though. What Cabela's are you going to be at? I might come out and watch this one.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

User avatar
turkey junky
 
Posts: 745
Joined: June 25th, 2011, 4:46 pm
Location: I.G.H. MINNESOTA

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby turkey junky » January 31st, 2014, 3:08 pm

southern turkeys or far southern turkeys have no need to form large winter flocks not that they do not but many do not form as large of winter flocks as up north up north they do it for food 1 finds food they rest of the flock does down south foods all over most the year... old gobblers down south will stay in a general area all season if all there needs are met... up north turkeys flock up each winter & then disperse in the countryside once warmer spring weather is there to stay... the warm temps & lack of a need to form large winter flocks keeps the turkey flocks structure in tack longer down south & in many hard hunted areas of the south that leads to less gobbling then our up north birds...

each spring & winter our gobblers up north fight for position & then are in a kind of rush come breeding season they want to find that last receptive hen at all coast & roam all over the countryside looking for her... most the times down south a gobbler has a harem of hens & does not need to work very hard to find a receptive hen because the turkeys all kinda know wear each other is or hangs...

they have longer breeding season down south im sure that effects the hunting some how???

also many of them birds below the mason dixon line have been hunted much longer then our up north turkeys & down south or deep south them birds tend not to gobble as much they learn gobble on the roost if at all then go silent on the ground them young dumb 2 yr olds dont figure that out till after there are hunters in the woods lol

ill admit i feel southern turkeys are much harder to figure out then our up north farm country turkeys im sure in southern farm country they are very similar but them old south swamp turkeys are just evil & a true challenge...

User avatar
Treerooster
 
Posts: 643
Joined: May 5th, 2008, 3:48 am
Location: Colorado

Re: Northern Turkeys

Postby Treerooster » January 31st, 2014, 3:13 pm

ticklish, this is going to have a western slant to it as I really don't get to N Wis until May. But you may be able to get something useful out of it.



I have hunted turkeys in MO and AR early in their seasons and found the cover to be pretty open. I think open cover lasts longer in the north than in the south though.

I hunt an area that has virtually no turkeys on it in late fall through winter and up until spring break-up. Some springs if you scout a week or 2 before the season you will see virtually no turkeys and no fresh sign. They ain't there yet and other than being familiar with the land scouting doesn't do much good in a late spring.

While timing of breeding is governed by increasing daylight, I believe it can also be greatly influenced by weather. Persistently late or early springs can have a fairly big influence on flock structure and how long hens continue to seek gobblers, at least in significant numbers. IIMO that type of weather influence is greater, and more often, effects northern turkeys.

Many northern seasons are long and sunrise/sunset will vary quite a bit from opening day until the end of the season. There is a great variance in the north although it is only a few minutes. If you don't adjust your start time as the season progresses you may be late by the end of the season. Daylight savings time must be taken into account of course.

Along the same lines (and I realize I might be splitting hairs here) there is more twilight later in the season then in the beginning, about 15 minutes between April 2nd and May 21st where I hunt in Wis. That can mean birds might gobble earlier in the morning and later in the evening in relation to sunrise/sunset. Turkeys may also fly down and up earlier and later due to more twilight. It also means that if you use the cover of darkness to move in on birds you may be seen more late in the season. An example would be if you crossed a field 20 minutes before shooting light on opening morning and got away with it, you may have to cross that same field a few minutes earlier or the birds might see some suspicious movement.

Snow is a big difference and it certainly can influence how I hunt. I wrote an article a few years ago about hunting turkeys in the snow. It has more to do with Rios and Merriam's out west but there are things you may be able to use. I tried to find a link to it but couldn't.

Here is the article

TURKEYS IN THE SNOW


The wind was blowing the snow completely horizontal as my friend Les and I put on our hip boots. That April afternoon we were in the midst of a full fledged blizzard, getting ready to cross the river to go to a turkey roost I knew about. I carried a Double Bull blind and my seat, Les had his gun and seat. As we started our mile long trek Les said “I bet we are the only dedicated turkey hunters on the river right now”. I said “Les…I don’t think dedicated is the best word to describe us”.

The roost was in an old river channel and we found the slight drop in elevation protected us from the wind. In the blind it was really quite pleasant as we watched big flakes of snow float softly to the ground. We called periodically, and a little before sunset I looked out my side of the blind. Just 25 feet away there was some movement at the top of some weeds that I couldn’t figure out. Finally I realized I was looking at the head and neck of a hen turkey. I didn’t recognize what I saw at first, because she was covered with a half inch of snow from the base of her neck to her tail. Her body just blended in with the white background. The hen fed around the blind for a while and eventually shook off all the snow that had accumulated on her. Les commented how cold, wet, and miserable she looked. The hen soon moved off and flew up to roost about 70 yards away. We managed to slip out of the area without flushing her. Les and I never saw or heard a gobbler that evening, but I will never forget that hunt. Hunting turkeys in the snow can produce some special memories.

Pic #1 Here

I do most of my turkey hunting out west and spring snowstorms are not uncommon during the turkey season. I have experienced spring snows as late as the third week in May. Our spring snows usually come with a good dose of wind, and many fall into the blizzard category. It seems I hunt turkeys in the snow at least once every other spring, and two or three times in some of the more volatile springs. I have put together some observations on how a spring snow affects turkeys and hunting them. However, my experience with hunting turkeys in snow is limited to the Rio Grande and Merriam’s turkey. I have yet to hunt Easterns in the snow. If you are hunting out west for a Rio or Merriam’s and find yourself hunting in snow, then perhaps you may find some of the following information useful.

BEHAVIOR

Both Rios and Merriam’s tend to gather in pretty large flocks in the winter. In many years these flocks don’t break up until just before the spring hunting season opens. An early spring snowstorm can delay flock break up. Once breakup occurs, a snow may cause the birds to regroup into flocks of 10-25 birds. For Rios this means the flocks may be fewer and farther in between, but more birds in each flock. In the case of Merriam’s in the mountains, the birds may migrate vertically downhill in a spring snow after flocking back together. If you are hunting public lands, which are usually at higher elevations, the birds may just move to lower elevations which are usually private lands. Since these spring snows are not uncommon, some turkeys do take them in stride and stay up high. When hunting higher elevation public lands during a storm, I have found a few birds still weathering the storm.

Turkeys may just choose to hole up in sheltered areas during the intense part of a storm. The birds are out there 24/7 and will have to feed and move about sooner or later. When a storm finally does break the toms are pretty anxious to get back to the task of breeding. If the snow quits and the wind dies down some gobblers may start sounding off even in the middle of the day. And if the temps are rising with some snow melting, things will be getting back to normal relatively quickly. However, if the snow is very deep (close to a foot or more) it may take several days for the turkeys to resume their normal routine.

Prolonged cold and several storms during the spring may delay nesting in hens for a week or more. This could affect how the breeding flock structure progresses later in the season. The hens may not be leaving the gobblers as readily to lay their eggs.


ADVANTAGES OF SNOW

There are really not many advantages of hunting in snow. The competition of other hunters certainly is reduced. About the only other hunters out there are ones that pre-planned a hunt for that particular time and ended up hunting in the snow by chance, or the few turkey hunting nuts, like me, that think its fun to chase gobblers in the snow. Local hunters normally just wait for the weather to improve.

Pic#2 Here

Tracks will certainly be more easily revealed wherever turkeys roam. In snow it is easy to tell fresh tracks from those even a few hours old. You may even be able to track a flock and anticipate the direction they are going and have an opportunity to head them off. Tracks that end suddenly or start from nowhere indicate the location where turkeys have flown up or down from a tree. Find this subtle clue and you have probably just found a roost site.

Turkeys are much easier to see in the snow. Out west where the country is open, it is very likely that you could spot a flock from a good distance just by doing some glassing with binoculars. Spotting turkeys is also simpler because the size of the area to search may be reduced if some portions of it are clear of snow. Wind can blow areas clear or the sun will melt the south facing slopes, so check those spots first. Even though turkeys could easily scratch through shallow snow, they seem to prefer clear ground or where the snow is almost gone.


DISADVANTAGES OF SNOW

The biggest disadvantage of a spring snowstorm may be the inability to get to the hunting area. Backcountry roads can be difficult to navigate at best. Many are just not plowed. Even when the storm is over and the snow is melting the roads can be very slippery. However if you happen to be camping in your hunting area when the storm hits, those same difficult roads could keep others from getting in, this turns a disadvantage into an advantage. Just make sure you are always prepared for the unexpected and have plenty of food, water and warmth.

Crunchy snow can be another major problem. Spring snows are almost always a wet snow. The daytime temperature may be close to, or above the freezing mark, but nighttime temps usually go below the freezing mark. This means that slushy wet snow becomes a hard and results in very noisy, crunchy snow by morning. Consequently, it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to move in on a roosted gobbler. Not only can turkeys hear you moving from a great distance, they can see shadows against the snow in very low light. You lose the cover of darkness.

Although, you can see turkeys better in the snow, they can also see you better. For a turkey, their eyes are its greatest asset. It is especially challenging for a hunter to try to remain hidden on a carpet of white. A white sheet over your legs and partially up your waist can help you blend in while sitting up against a dark tree. The sheet can easily be carried in the back pouch of a turkey vest when moving.

As I mentioned previously, turkeys may flock up a bit and that means more areas without turkeys. This can mean a lot of leg work before you make any contact with birds. For Merriam’s this is especially the case because their density is less concentrated. The inclement weather may also tone down the frequency of gobbling.

The cold and wet can make for some uncomfortable hunting. Waterproof outerwear is a must. Since I travel for most of my turkey hunting, I always pack extra clothes and even an old turkey vest as a spare. This allows me to hunt in very wet weather and not have to worry too much if something ends up totally soaked. I can go back out hunting with a spare item while the soaked one is drying. I like to wear Lacrosse rubber knee high boots in wet weather. Even in mountains the ankle fit boots will allow me to maneuver around without any problems and still keep my feet dry. I have an insulated pair I use if it is very cold. With the Lacrosse felt insoles, the boots are very comfortable and I can go walk day in them. A good seat or pad that keeps you dry can mean the difference between a good hunt and a miserable hunt. Calls and other gear should also be protected or waterproof.

During snowfall, gun sights may become clogged or covered with snow. Even after it has stopped snowing this may occur as you move about and inadvertently brush snow off branches. This becomes a greater concern if you hunt with a scope or dot-type sight on your gun. I always check my sight frequently to be sure it is clear. A scope or dot sight can also fog up in cold wet weather.

Pic #3 Here

If you find yourself in turkey country that is carpeted in white, get after them if you can. There are some added challenges, but some special memories can be made…and you might even end up with a “snowbird”.
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

Next

Return to Talkin' Turkey • General discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests