Hunting MI for the first time this year

Demoderby4
 
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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 2nd, 2009, 9:37 am

Thanks a lot! That already helps me a great deal. I meant to mention a little about the land but I see i failed to lol. It is pretty large, over 400 acres, and a lot of it open fields that have just over grown due to time. Farmers used to live there but the guy who owns it now does not, so their a lot of fields and the rest is woods, (i know pretty broad description) lots of oaks, and thickets, as well as just sections of hardwoods. Is their any specific tree's turkey's prefer to roost in over others? I will google all of the things you mentioned to get a visual idea of what I am looking for. I'm pretty farmiliar with footprints and feathers, but other things I will need to research. As you described though, once I find a roost it should be pretty obvious that it is in fact a roost lol! So thats good lol [;)] I will have to take a little more precaution when I'm out there, most the time when i come across em I happen to come right up to em and have no clue until its too late. Thanks again, this will get me through another god awful section of econ haha! [;)]
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Fan Club » April 3rd, 2009, 7:42 am

> Are there any specific trees turkeys prefer to roost in over others? <
 
The all time favorite is the Cottonwood. They are the roost tree of choice in the south, and also Missouri and South Dakota when I hunt there. Unfortunately they are not indigenous to Michigan.
 
Here I would say it is probably the mature Oak followed by very tall pine or conifer trees. Turkeys prefer a roost with horizontal perches, a canopy over their head and open forest floor below. The canopy overhead is for shelter from the elements and the open floor below is for ease of flying up/down and to watch for predators. In Michigan they prefer the conifer in winter as it doesn't loose the foliage like deciduous trees.
 
Turkeys are remarkably adaptable and will roost where they can if it is deemed safe. I've seen pictures of turkeys roosted on telephone poles out west. Don't rule out mature Maples and Elms, but they will probably be more of a factor as the foliage emerges and the season progresses. As I mentioned, look for the tallest, most mature trees on the property with horizontal limbs a fair distance off the ground.  Or...try to hear them gobble on the roost and disclose their location.
 
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

Demoderby4
 
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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 3rd, 2009, 9:47 am

Ok cool thanks! I'll keep my eyes open for big oaks, elms, maples and conifers! I have heard they like to roost by water or creek beds too? And their is a creek all along this property. I think I have a decent idea where one roost may be on the property after reading a lot yesterday, and some today. I know the turkeys go back to one of their roosts at the end of the day. I assume they do this while it is still daylight out? If that's true I should be able to hopefully catch em going back or hear em when their up there tom evening when I'm put on the property!
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Fan Club » April 3rd, 2009, 4:24 pm

> I have heard they like to roost by water or creek beds too? <
 
I don't think that's a very reliable indicator. They will roost over water, but I'm not so sure that people don't just assume that because some of the tallest and most mature trees grow near water. Cause and effect.
 
A good roost tree can be anywhere, in the middle of a field, in a fencerow, on the side of a hill, along a creek or in the woods. Once you start thinking that they are only in certain places the turkeys will fool you, don't over analyze it.
 
Turkeys generally go back to roost about 30 minutes before sundown. If you can see birds in a distant field and it is getting late, there's a good chance you'll be able to watch them fly up. Don't be right at the roost area to watch flyup, if they roost right over your head you'll have to try and sneak out in the dark without spooking them. That rarely works.
 
Well, you're all set for the weekend, I'm anxious to see how it goes.
 
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 3rd, 2009, 6:01 pm

Thanks for all your help! I really do appreciate it! Im really excited, Its pretty cold tonight, snow is in the forceast :( but It's supposed to be over 50 tomorrow so I'm hoping for some good weather and a successful day! I'll for sure let you know how it goes, might not be able to tomorrow night, it's a friends bday so I'll prob be out lol! But i'll let you know by Sunday for sure. But heck hopefully I'll have some success and be too excited to wait until Sunday to post haha! [:D]
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 5th, 2009, 4:27 pm

Alright well i guess yesterday went ok lol, other than someone stealing one of my trail cams... but I went out there a little after noon and started looking around, didn't find anything right away, (i found a great new spot for deer season tho!) but a little while llater i found 3 trees (about 25-40 yds separating each) over looking a big field, and all 3 had a decent amount of "scat" under em. ) I made the assumption that they are, or were roosts) So i made notes, what kind (all oaks) the scat was mainly on the east side of the trees (don't know if that is significant) and just about all of the scat had corn and in it (cut down cornfield about 10 min walk from the trees) all the feces seemed at least a couple days old, some was relatively fresh tho. After that i followed the length of the field in the woods a little to the corn field looking for trails, more feces or feathers, didn't really seem to find anything. That led me to the creek on the property, so I walked the creek almost the entire length of the property didn't find one turkey track, or anything turkey for that matter.. which seemed odd to me. Then i came across where my cam should of been and it wasn't there so i got a little upset and decided to go back home for a few hours to relax and calm down.

I came back at around 7 and decided to sit on this small hill that overlooked the field(s) that the tress i talked about before were overlooking. I plopped down with my binoclars and waited to see if I could catch em coming back to any of the trees. I sat for bout 45 mins with no action (the weather was so nice though so it was great just to be out there) then i heard a faint "yelp" to the SE of me, my heart dropped lol! I'm not comfortable with my call yet (Knight and Hale Slate Hammer) so I didn't bring it with me, plus i heard don't call until you are out there hunting, so I just left it at home) but it sounded like one lone hen, she did it a couple more times but never came out, neither did any other birds. She was on the other side of the small section of woods that the aforementioned trees are in i tried looking thru with my binoculars but didn't see anything. I know I wasn't just hearing things tho lol! But but i waited around until 8:10 or so and it was getting kind of chilly so i got up and left.

On my way home all their is are fields, so I tend to look into them as i drive lol, and i came to one and saw a few dark spots in it, as i got closer a few become a lot! Their were 27 birds in the field (grass field) eating! I pulled over and pulled out my binocs, i think their were 3 males- 2 jakes and a more mature tom, and the rest were hens i think, (it was getting dark) but i could tell at least 3 were male. The one Tom was decent sized tho, had a pretty long beard and i could see his spurs from the road without the binocs. I watched em for about 10 mins and then they walked off into the woods (about a 20-30 minute walk from where i would be hunting)

So what do ya think? lol! I don't know if those would be the turkeys on the property im hunting. Will turkeys go that far to eat? What do you make of the trees I found? I know Im not going to pin point all i need to in one day of scouting so i'll be sure to get out there more. But just looking for some feedback, thanks!!! Any comments on what to do next would be great as well, thanks again!!
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 7th, 2009, 6:47 pm

So its looking that grim for me eh? [;)] jk! im hoping to get back out there this weekend!
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Fan Club » April 8th, 2009, 1:03 pm

Sorry for the slow reply Matt, my PC has been acting up. Thanks for the detailed field report.
 
> the scat was mainly on the east side of the trees (don't know if that is significant) and just about all of the scat had corn and in it...<
 
Not sure about that...are you sure it wasn't racoon poop? Turkeys usually thoroughly digest their food and I've never seen grain of any kind in their scat. They swallow pebbles which grind and pulverize grains in their crops. I'm sceptical that what you saw was turkey scat with grain in it.
 
Don't be so quick to be grim, turkeys are free ranging birds and will travel great distances for food and change roost sites at will. Here one day gone the next. Hunting pressure from surrounding properties can push them onto your land as well. I'll go several days without seeing them here and then one morning my backyard will be full of them!
 
What did you find out about your gun?
 
 
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mark hay
 
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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby mark hay » April 8th, 2009, 1:12 pm

sounds to me like a potential place to be on opening day . them birds or others are showing up where you were scouting . they make what many call a ''circuit''. they'll be here a day or two and move on , only to return or make full circle so to speak, in a few days. keep up the good work .
1] scouting
2] practice calls
3] become MOST familiar with your gun by handling often ,,,keep your cheek down on the stock .
 best wishes on your turkey hunting

Demoderby4
 
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RE: Hunting MI for the first time this year

Postby Demoderby4 » April 8th, 2009, 4:08 pm

No problem :) thanks for the replies! I really do appreciate it! It could be raccoon feces, I can see how it could be, and you know a lot more than I do about Turkeys, so I have no reason to doubt that some of it could be raccoon. Yeah I hope they are nearby, I have a good feeling they are, I'm pretty sure I heard that one the other day, and I have bumped a lot in the last few weeks (hopefully I didn't scare em off) but I want to head out there again, might not get to this weekend now since I have been added to work a double Sunday and have a 25 page term paper due in a few weeks, should probably get on that...lol! But by next week Wed. I will be out there for sure. I'll go later in the day so i can stay until dark and try to catch em going to roost again. Hopefully those trees and the area I was in is part of their "circuit" I didn't really find any strut zones or dust bowls, that will be some main focus points the next time I get out there, feathers and tracks would be nice too lol!

My gun
The guy said to take it apart clean it up real good and go from there. He said Pump's are pretty reliable and shouldn't have much problems with what I described. So he told me to do that before he would charge me with anything. I tend to keep my guns pretty clean though so I don't know if it will help, hopefully it does! I just haven't had much time to do anything other than work and hw the last few days :( Oh well, I should be able to get it cleaned up and hopefully operating well again Saturday before work.

Thanks again for the replies!!
Matt Cain

St. Clair County, MI

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