Chief Many Longbeards wrote:howdy, terry, i was beginning to think i was the only hunter from the great prairie state on this forum
i went to the dnr site looking for info on this year's hatch but couldnt find anything. actually, for this year, the key would be a good hatch from 2011, which would produce those eager 2-year-old toms. if i recall correctly, spring 2011 was chilly and rainy, which usually means a below average hatch.
as for early season hunting ... keep your gun ready at all times because those love-sick toms come chargin in like suicidal maniacs.
seriously ... my first permit choices always are 1st and 2nd seasons and i usually end up with a late season permit, if i am fortunate to get a 3rd tag. this year i have drawn 1st and 3rd so it looks like my 3rd tag will be 4th or 5th season.
i dont know that i hunt much differently based on the seasons. i just try to set up close to a roost site, call softly after flydown and go from there. in the middle seasons (2, 3) it can be tough dealing with henned-up toms. if i cant break a suborbinate tom from the group, i will try and maneuver ahead of the flock where i think they might be headed.
then if i havent scored by mid-morning, i take off cuttin and runnin, depending on where i am hunting and have the room to roam. sometimes i will drive to a different spot and try and strike a gobble.
one thing i rarely do is quit before quittin time at 1. i have shot just as many toms from 9 to 1 as i have off the roost.
good luck baggin one of them fat illinois toms!
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