Dark O'Clock

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
charlie elk
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Dark O'Clock

Postby charlie elk » February 7th, 2013, 9:55 am

In spite of your best efforts you failed to put a turkey to bed the previous evening. You find your self prepared to hunt standing in the silent morning dark...
What do you do now?
Go in or wait for light?
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » February 7th, 2013, 11:33 am

For me it depends on the area I'm hunting. If it's the first time hunting that area and I don't know the lay of the land or the areas that the birds like to travel, in other wards going in blind to an area that I've never hunted, I want to be the FIRST BIRD that gobbles. Useally the Boss Tom is the first bird to gobble in the morning, then the rest will start. Being the first bird gobbling sends a message to the toms and hens in that area that a new bird has come in and is challenging them for that area. Even on days that the birds aren't gobbling a boss hen will answer your gobble and come to a gobbling tom and draw any tom with her along behind, he may be silent, but he will follow that boss hen where ever she goes. Once I know where the birds are in that area, I set up on them and then use an owl hooter to pinpoint them, sometimes they answer and sometimes not? Learning the difference between how a bird gobbles, will help you determan the age and dominance of the bird your working and will help with how you call to him and work him. Wheather I wait for daylight depends on the terrain and how easy the woods is to get through, if it's an open woods you need to be in there well before daylight to keep from being seen, if the woods is thick and you have cover to move in then you can get in when it gets light enough to see where your going?

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby Gopherlongbeards » February 7th, 2013, 9:41 pm

If I'm in SD I wait near the truck for birds to start gobbling. They usually start well before flydown in the hills, giving you time to drive over to the next ridge if there are none within a reasonable distance when they start sounding off. If I'm in WI or MN I go in. I wouldn't be at that spot if I hadn't seen or heard birds using it recently. Despite not having roosted one there the evening before, I go in, having faith that they are nearby...

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby ticklishtompro » February 7th, 2013, 10:30 pm

I agree with Gopher. If I am hunting there I have seen birds there or know they are around. Either I have sat and listened from the truck on a previous morning or have frequently seen birds there. If I don't know the land real good I will probably get just inside the edge and wait. If they start sounding off quite a distance away, I will close the gap. I will be careful not to get to close and bump other birds. Still get close enough that I can play them when they come down.
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J Hook Max
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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby J Hook Max » February 8th, 2013, 7:01 pm

Just wait and be patient. give them at least a half hour to gobble. If you still hear nothing, slowly ease into an area that they frequent and sit and wait. Don't call a lot unless the birds start getting vocal themselves. Sometimes , you have to act you are deer hunting. Not as much fun , but still very effective.

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Cut N Run
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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby Cut N Run » February 10th, 2013, 8:14 am

How I intend to hunt an area before light depends on where I'm hunting more than anything else. Time of season is also a pretty big factor. I usually hunt areas that are pretty limited in size and access where I normally already have an idea of where I want to set up. If is an area where I don't know the woods as well or don't know where the turkeys may be roosting, I'll start out on high ground along a field edge or roadbed to hear which direction the gobbles are coming from and plan my strategy from there. I try to get close to the gobbler before it is light if I can. If he's roosted on another property I can't hunt, I'll get fairly close to the property line and see if I can't coax him over to where I can hunt.

If the gobbler is busy with hens and refuses to leave them, I'll often wait until later in the morning and head towards known strut zones. If the hens have lost interest late in the morning, it can be easier to call a gobbler to a place he already likes to go. You may also get a crack at a subordinate gobbler who is cruising around the property looking for any opportunity to get with a hen. I don't get as much time to turkey hunt as I'd like (who does?), so I have to make the most of any part of any day I can hunt.

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby ylpnfol » February 10th, 2013, 11:58 am

i'm generally pretty conservative in this situation, i'll wait to hear a gobble before i go too deep into the timber, i hate flushing birds off the roost, i only have 3 tracts that i hunt, none of which is over 200 acres, and i've been hunting them for awhile, so i know the general vicinity the birds roost in, i'll start 100 yds or so from a roost sight, see what happens and go from there....

You never know, unless you go

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby shaman » February 11th, 2013, 10:02 am

I hunt a single 200 acre farm. In my situation, I have about a half-dozen starting points. They are known for a combination of

a) altitude -- these are high spots
b) long views-- unobstructed views make for good listening posts as well.
c) Past history of being good listening posts

I alternate where I listen over season. Usually I rotate them so that I am not hitting the same place day-after-day.

I just sit and listen for a while. On 200 acres, all my listening posts overlap somewhat. I wait for the gobblers to sound off. If the action is hotter somewhere else on the farm, I'll move over to another listening post. If there is nothing at daybreak, I have a couple of places that are good backups for slow days. I seldom use locator calls. There are enough crows, hawks and agricultural noise in my area that I don't need a locator to find turkeys.
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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby arrowsonly » February 11th, 2013, 12:49 pm

Since I sit in a blind...
I set up based on patterns that I have observed over time. Early morning fly down area's near field edges 4 am till 10 am Mid day strut zones/dust site's I'll sit from 10 am till 2/3 pm depending on my nap :) :) I've had spittin' & drummin' wake me up! I tend to over call any way,and I thought that fancy mounted decoy would work like the one in the video :oops:
look em' in the eye before you give em' the shaft...
be a man hunt public land...

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Re: Dark O'Clock

Postby TurkeyJohn » February 21st, 2013, 3:23 pm

I've never actually hunted an area that cold that I've not A) gotten a report from the landowner on the best spots, or B) hunted the area in previous years and know where the turkeys typically roost and travel.
HAving said that, if I was to hunt a spot cold, I'm thinking I'd sit at the Jeep and wait for the dawn to get the birds talking and then move as well as possible to the most likely candidate.

My 2 cents, which we don't have up here in Canada anymore, so I'll have to use nickels now,

Hobby.....Is there anything other than turkey hunting??



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