Black Hills Meriams

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
Posts: 25
Joined: June 3rd, 2008, 8:14 am

Black Hills Meriams

Postby kcfishnerd » February 1st, 2009, 10:46 am

My brother and I are heading up to South Dakota to try our luck in the black hills.  We hunt quite a bit here in Kansas and Missouri but I have never hunted in the moutains.  Are there any different tactics we sould use hunting the pine forests?  Are there certain types of calls that work better?  I appreciate any advice.  Thanks 

User avatar
Fan Club
Posts: 1387
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 5:24 am
Location: Calhoun County, Michigan

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby Fan Club » February 2nd, 2009, 3:56 am

We hunted merriams in central South Dakota several years ago at the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock reservations. Both reservations had rivers running through them and all of the turkeys roosted there where the tallest trees were. Upon fly down they didn't waste any time leaving since every coyote in the territory knew where they slept. From the river bottom, they would climb up to the mesa tops where they could see for quite a distance. The birds responded to the same calls we use for Easterns and on the third day I filled two tags on the mesa tops.
Here's my point- I'm sure the pine forests are different and the birds can roost just about anywhere. Experience has shown me that whether you know exactly where they roost or it's a crapshoot, you need to find out where they want to go. Usually a food source first and later in the morning preferred loafing and strutting areas. In wooded areas, birds like old logging roads and logging decks (flat benches were logs were once loaded), where they have a little visibilty.
Whether hunting turkeys in the fields of Michigan, the timber of Missouri or the hills of South Dakota, I did not notice a difference in the turkey's dialect or a need for stylized calling. My extensive hunting video collection seems to bear this out as well.
Hope this is helpful. I'm sure someone will come along who has hunted the pine forests of the Black Hills that can offer more insight.
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

User avatar
Posts: 546
Joined: October 11th, 2008, 1:56 pm

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby turkeydoghunter » February 2nd, 2009, 4:42 am

bring the loudest calls you got .....boxes work well....i havent hunted there but allot of friends of mine do and they say its big country ...if they can hear you and answer they will come along way....Image

Posts: 25
Joined: June 3rd, 2008, 8:14 am

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby kcfishnerd » February 2nd, 2009, 5:07 am

Thanks for the advise.  I will be purchasing a glass call to go along with my box.  We go up to the hills a couple of times a year so I know I will be hiking around a lot.  I can't wait.  Thanks again.

Posts: 445
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 8:54 pm

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby icdedturkes » February 2nd, 2009, 7:04 am

I hunted the hills for the opener in the spring of 05 06. The first year awesome, few people, than the second year the chamber for the town advertised like crazy. It was simply a carnival. Killed birds both years but the second year was not as enjoyable.
We went on the opener and I truly believe this was a mistake. The weather can be crazy. The old saying hike back in and get away from people, nope cant. The birds are still flocked up and utilize the private ground in the bottoms, very few birds back off the road more than a half mile.
If you watch the primos videos they are callin up birds that are alone. This is in may and probably will be somewhat rare in early april.
i now elect to hunt other parts of SD, but will be hunting in Wyoming this year too.

Posts: 25
Joined: June 3rd, 2008, 8:14 am

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby kcfishnerd » February 2nd, 2009, 7:35 am

icdedturkes what part of the hills were you hunting?  We will be in Custer.  Late March early April last year there was a hen laying on eggs 20 yrds from my dad's deck.

User avatar
Posts: 938
Joined: April 8th, 2008, 12:47 pm

RE: Black Hills Meriams

Postby Gobblerman » February 2nd, 2009, 11:11 am

My home turf birds are Merriams, and most of the hunting here is on pine-forest type habitat and on National Forest lands.  I have not hunted the Black Hills, so forgive me if I am overstepping my bounds with these recommendations, but this is how I would approach it:
1) Obtain maps....NF or BLM if available, land status, topo
2) Call Game Dept. and ask for contact references
3) Call references and find out about general habitat preferences of birds, and general recommendations on where to start looking 
4) Concentrate specific search for birds around water sources (especially if these are scarce)
5) Use locator calls agressively at daylight (mornings) and dark (evenings)
6) Cover lots of country to locate birds
7) Use land status maps to locate access to "landlocked" birds
8) Relocate as needed to find birds that are receptive and, hopefully, plentiful
9) Don't underestimate the difficulty in killing a Merriams...under certain conditions, they can be as tough to kill as any other subspecies
10) Make sure to allow enough time for the hunt to have a realistic chance of killing a bird (some hunters think that allowing a day or two is enough time to kill a Merriams...ain't necessarily so)


Return to Strategies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests