Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

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vtgobble
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby vtgobble » March 14th, 2009, 4:00 pm

This will be my first post ever on this forum so hello to all. As I read the posts on this subject I believe that it all comes down to whether you are into turkey hunting for the hunt or the kill. Me personally, I would rather work a bird for an hour and hear 100 gobbles and not kill the bird than to belly crawl into shotgun range of a gobbler that is not talking and kill him...that's just me. I have a good friend that is a good turkey hunter but it is all about how many birds he can tell everyone he has killed in a year and he will use many methods (all legal) to fills his tags. For that reason he stays stressed all year until he kills a couple of birds. For many, a season is judged by how many birds they kill and I think these are the ones that will push the envelope a little more on what is morally right, but if at the end of the year I have not killed as many birds as my buddy but have enjoyed the hunts and heard a bunch of gobbling and worked a bunch of birds then I am alright with that. I guess if at the end of the hunt you can look down at that big old tom and feel that you fooled him that day then that is all that matters...whatever each individual can sleep with at night.  

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shaman
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby shaman » March 14th, 2009, 4:13 pm

Amen.
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tracebusta32
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby tracebusta32 » March 14th, 2009, 4:27 pm

VT, welcome aboard and great post....simply put, there are turkey killers and turkey hunters and there is a BIG difference in the two of them.
 
 
 
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Fan Club
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Fan Club » March 14th, 2009, 4:40 pm

> simply put, there are turkey killers and turkey hunters and there is a BIG difference in the two of them. <

What if they are the same person?
 
I know a lot of hunters, and a slew of members here, that have admitted to and don't have a problem with hunting both ways.
 
Welcome to the forum Vt... quality first post.
 
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JPH
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby JPH » March 14th, 2009, 6:19 pm

ORIGINAL: Fan Club

What if they are the same person?



Excellent question. I'd like to think I am, but I don't loose too much sleep over what others call me. I outed myself as a "stalker" and I know I am a "killer". I guide friends, mentor children, follow the game laws and improve habitat. I hope that has earned me the title of "hunter". If others do not agree, so be it.

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Cut N Run » March 14th, 2009, 8:43 pm

I'm only jumping into this topic because many years ago, I had another hunter try to stalk a bird that was gobbling behind me on some private land I was hunting. I saw him try to use cover to get closer to the bird (that had hung up behind me for unknown reasons), a series of alarm putts corfirmed it busted him before the stalker got close enough for a shot.  I didn't have sole permission to hunt that piece of woods and didn't want to mess the other hunter up.  I'm sure he never knew I was there and he left the scene without knowledge that I was even there. It would have been nice to ask him why he did what he did. At the time, I was mostly annoyed that I'd been screwed out of a bird.  I really didn't think about what might have happened if the bird had passed near me and the other hunter had shot from where he was when I first noticed him stalking, but it freaked me out the more I thought about it. I also never knew who the other guy was.
 
Last season on a day when the other two of us were not hunting at the lease, the Landowner had the Boss Gobbler hanging out gobbling like crazy at what has been a very consistent strut zone. That spot has also been a very productive place for me to hunt over the years and I have taken a dozen Longbeards from it.  The bird would not leave the zone or move downhill toward the Landowner's location, despite his feeble calls (big shock).  So, the Landowner got impatient and decided to stalk the Gobbler.  He would sneak a little closer every time the bird would turn away and the Gobbler's head would be obscured by it's fan.  The Landowner got what he judged to be close enough for a shot & rolled the bird.  It quickly popped up and flew while the Landowner cleanly missed his second shot.  We never saw or heard that bird again.  As much as I scouted that bird and tried to learn it's habits, I never got the chance to hunt it because the Landowner got greedy, couldn't be patient enough, or wouldn't let the bird pass and set up in a more advantagous position on another day.  I realize that he could have just as easily lost that bird by calling it to him and making a bad shot...Also if someone else was hunting that same area, they would have killed that bird before he ever got close enough to shoot. BUT, if there happened to be two people stalking that same bird, there could have been a serious accident.
 
Each of us who hunt at that property carry radios so we can let the others know where we are, what we hear, and when we are moving around.  Some may be comfortable stalking turkeys.  I am not a stalker and I prefer not to hunt where others stalk.
 
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JPH
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby JPH » March 15th, 2009, 2:57 am

Cut N Run, do you ever reposition on a bird? If so, do you put on an orange hat and walk upright or do you try to do so without being noticed by the turkeys?

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paboxcall
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby paboxcall » March 15th, 2009, 6:15 am

ORIGINAL: JPH

Cut N Run, do you ever reposition on a bird? If so, do you put on an orange hat and walk upright or do you try to do so without being noticed by the turkeys?

 
An orange hat wouldn't have prevented my friend from getting peppered by the stalker I mentioned in an earlier post.  Pennsylvania tried that for several years without success -- which simply means stalkers then broke two game laws instead of one by running around in full camo. 
 
Had the stalker positively identifed his target before pulling the trigger, perhaps that may have prevented this incident, but not identifying the target was not the root cause.  That's the final fail-safe we build into our behavior before pulling the trigger to try and avoid the potential of human error.  You know it and so does everyone else here.
 
Attempting to get within shotgun range of what the stalker incorrectly thought was a gobbler, with the goal of doing so undetected (no calling) was the root cause of that incident.  Had the stalker instead hunted defensively hearing all that gobbling off the roost, found a set up tree and began calling from that location, no one would have gotten hurt -- physically or emotionally.  Hunting defensively is our best preventive measure to protect against human error.
 
The act of stalking puts at least two people unnecessarily at risk; the stalker risks getting shot as my friend was not aware of his sneaking quietly into his set-up, and my friend, who was unknowingly put at the business end of the stalker's shotgun, will never sit comfortably in the woods again.
 
Nice.  All just to fill a tag.
"So much of this business of hunting turkeys, you stupid it up right at the last.
You do everything right for an hour and a half, and then you sit down here
and there's nothing you can do about it, you made a mistake."
Tom Kelly, [i]Turkey Tales

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paboxcall
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby paboxcall » March 15th, 2009, 6:50 am

ORIGINAL: shaman

Lo and behold, I wake up this morning to find that the fire has burned well into the wee hours and JPH, the original arsonist, has left the scene...

 
I'm glad this topic was started.  Maybe someone reading this will think better this season of stalking quietly and unannounced into shotgun range of what the stalker later learns was a camo hunter pinned down by a gobbler in his lap for the last 20 minutes, unable to move, call, or shoot.
 
This thread may make readers quietly admit the reality that we are all susceptible to human error, that shooting someone while hunting may happen to them if the circumstances line up.  We all need to step up our mental game, taking whichever course of action best mitigates the risk of shooting another or being shot, and in turn have a shooting incident-free season this year.  To me, stalking -- especially in the rolling hills and mountains of this part of the country -- raises the risk someone may get hurt. 
 
I am certain that everyone ever involved in a hunting incident thought it would never happen to them.  But one clear morning a few years ago, on private ground a fully camo'd stalker quietly, steathily stepped out of the woods just 40 yards from my location.  Realizing his error, he turned and took off.  What was he stalking?  Hen yelps and clucks, we hadn't heard a gobble in hours.  That experience taught me stalkers pose a threat to me, no matter the situation.  Hunt defensively.
 
Excellent discussions (minus the threats and namecalling...)
"So much of this business of hunting turkeys, you stupid it up right at the last.
You do everything right for an hour and a half, and then you sit down here
and there's nothing you can do about it, you made a mistake."
Tom Kelly, [i]Turkey Tales

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JPH
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby JPH » March 15th, 2009, 9:13 am

paboxcall, I am very sorry that your friend was injured and I mean no disrespect, but I disagree with your logic.

Your friend was injured by a poacher and once he pulled the trigger and ran, he became something much worse. To say that failure to properly identify the target was not the root cause is ridiculous! The responsibility ALWAYS rests on the trigger finger.

Are you suggesting that no one ever move toward the sound of a gobbling turkey in order to call him? IS that actually what the law says in PA? Are we seriously supposed to be so anti-stalking that we never take one step closer to a bird once we hear him? That does not pass the common sense test.

I agree that there is an element of risk to moving in on a gobbling turkey. That is exactly why I use strict guidelines whenever doing it (see previous posts). But there is an element of risk to all hunting activity and we are endowed with a large and complex brain to make the right decision within the law.

Again, my disagreement with you is respectful. I appreciate the safety concerns and I can empathize with how you must feel, having seen the full effects of an accident, but I still disagree. Stealthy movements, made within earshot of a spring gobbler are a rewarding element of spring turkey hunting and can, under the right conditions, be done safely.

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