ORIGINAL: Fan Club
no Out'e house blinds...
no fancy vests...
no strut zones...
the list keeps growing. [8|]
Ain't it the truth!
Look, if I didn't have the very thing sitting exactly 450 yards from the back of the house, I'd be skeptical too. From March to June, I can usually depend on it at least a few days a week.
Having said that, I can also tell you that this is significantly different than a couple of other places I have on the farm where I am bound to see turkeys on a frequent basis. There is a different feel to it, and they seems to have the following in common:
1) A large open grassy place.
2) Sunny with a good afternoon exposure. . .
3) . . .with lots of shade for the hens, usually some sort of loafing area.
4) The ground may be tilted, as on a hillside, but it is flat and not folded or bumpy
There are places of this type where the action seems to happen around 10 AM, or Noon, or 2 PM, with the action lasting 1-2 hours. However, there is only one spot where I've seen it happen at different times, and that's the one I have in my back yard. The gobbler comes out of the shady loafing area, struts for a while and then goes back into the shade.
My best tactic for hunting such a zone is to arrive well ahead of the turkeys and set up in the treeline, in a blind or in the one case, directly in the barn. This is also one of the good uses I have for my ghillie suit. I have a Jagende hutte (shooting house) smack dab in the middle of one of the strut zones, but it has a black shingled roof and it's unbearably hot to hunt in it on the days I might see a gobbler. Once I get set up, I simply give a few loud runs with a box call and sit back and wait. If nothing shows up, I repeat the run 10 minutes later.
In the case of the barn set-up. Once I spy the gobbler, he may still be a good 100-150 yards away. If I were to do any yelping, he'd go into his strut and never come close. Instead of calling, one of my best tactics is to throw dirt over towards the other opening and let the dust blow out the door. That and a little bit of clucking gives the impression that there are hens dusting in the barn.
I have a makeshift blind inside one of the doors. It hides me to the outside and it protects me from the inside. I have some roofing tin set up to block the view from the other door. This is where the hens come to dust. I've been in the barn and had the hens show up, and it is a noisy, dusty mess. I've had as many as six hens in with me at once, and seen as many as a dozen or so in there when I was not hunting from inside. It raises a dust cloud that envelopes the whole side of the barn. The dumb birds never think to look on the other side of that sheet tin.
It is by no means a sure bet. I've spent hours in such a set-up, gone home and started packing for the ride back to town and then looked out a half hour later and seen the gobbler doing his thing. I've shown up early only to find the birds had beaten me to it. I have spent the afternoon watching the gobbler strutting at 150 yards and never seen him come closer.
Here's a pic of the barn from the gobbler's point of view. The hen's dusting area is inside the entrance on the right. I hide behind the gate on the left with my back to the dusting area. I think I took the pic from just outside the treeline.