First time hunter with a ton of questions

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Wackostu
 
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Joined: April 9th, 2013, 1:26 pm

First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Wackostu » April 23rd, 2013, 7:52 am

Ok guys, I have a ton of thoughts rolling around in my head and I need to just put them out there and get some answers. I thank you all in advance for passing on kernels of knowledge to an middle aged newbie. I will be hunting Zone 2 on May 9 and 10.

1. Shotgun is patterned and ready to go. However I am not sure of what else to bring. Here is what I am thinking: Firearm and shells, Knife, Portable blind, cushion, calls, zip tie to attach tag, license, Backpack to carry all the above. Am I missing anything?

2. I have two locations (1 private and 1 public) where I will be scouting this weekend (yes I have permission on the private already). Here is the question - to call or not to call when scouting. Thoughts?

3. If I am graced to harvest a gobbler, what is my next step? I live 45 minutes from where I will be hunting. Do I need to field dress the bird right there (After a picture or two)? Do I put it on ice and take it home to do it? If I have never field dressed anything before can I screw it up (I have been researching and watching videos but it's not the same as doing it).

4. If I am not getting any response to my calls, how long should I be waiting before trying a new spot?

5. In Wisconsin, does the license need to be displayed or just on my person?

6. Anything else I need to know?

I am so pumped to get out there I cant stand it!

Thanks again for reading!

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Gopherlongbeards » April 23rd, 2013, 8:37 am

Well it sounds like you're doing your homework, be careful though. You're going to get hooked on turkeys and you won't be able to think about much else for the rest of the year :D

1. I'm kind of a less is more guy. Do you have a turkey vest? I would recommend one if you don't. makes carrying things a lot easier, most come with a built in seat cushion, and they are quieter/less hassle than a backpack.

2. There are two schools of thought on calling while scouting. Some say don't do it. I mean DONT DO IT. Others feel it's fine, so just go ahead and call away. I will call while scouting, but I will be careful about when and where. Calling can give you some very useful information (lets you get counts on the number of birds in an area, lets you keep tabs on a birds location at different times during the day, etc.) Some people would recommend a locator call, but I always just use regular turkey calls. I feel birds respond to them more often than a locator call. Now here's the thing with calling while scouting. You do NOT want to call a bird in to your position and have him bust you. You want to trigger a response, but you don't want that bird to come find you. This is most easily done early in the morning and again in the evening when birds are on the roost. You can certainly call mid day as well, but make sure you're in an area where you aren't going to be surprised by a bird walking in on you. Once you do locate a bird while calling keep your distance from him (at least several hundred yards) and check him every now and then with your call to keep tabs on where he goes at what times of the day.

3. If you're that close to your home you won't need to worry about field dressing. If it's warm out (70+) maybe a cooler with some ice or icepacks in the truck would be a good idea. If it's cooler out (40-50's) we have often times let birds sit or hang in the shade for a day or two before dressing them.

4. This is an age old question in turkey hunting, and there really isn't any correct answer. A lot of it depends on your situation. Have you seen/heard birds in the area previously? Do you have confidence in the spot? Do you have access to a large (several hundred+ acres) area to hunt? If you have confidence in the area you might want to just stick it out all day if nothing else is going on. Especially if you have limited other options of places to strike a bird. If however you haven't had any action, and you have access to a decent amount of territory you might want to cover some ground and look for a bird.

5. You just need to have the tag on your person.

6. Patience, and don't sweat the small stuff. Turkeys can be frustrating if you let them. Some guys get way to worked up about not killing a bird. There is really an unlimited amount of way a hunt can get screwed up. So don't get down on yourself when it doesn't work out. Just enjoy the experience while you're out there, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Some guys get so hung up over taking a bird it ruins the entire experience for them. Enjoy yourself out there and the turkeys will come.

Wackostu
 
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Joined: April 9th, 2013, 1:26 pm

Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Wackostu » April 23rd, 2013, 9:16 am

Gopherlongbeards wrote:Well it sounds like you're doing your homework, be careful though. You're going to get hooked on turkeys and you won't be able to think about much else for the rest of the year :D

1. I'm kind of a less is more guy. Do you have a turkey vest? I would recommend one if you don't. makes carrying things a lot easier, most come with a built in seat cushion, and they are quieter/less hassle than a backpack. No vest as of yet. As I am a larger person, I will need to find one that fits.

2. There are two schools of thought on calling while scouting. Some say don't do it. I mean DONT DO IT. Others feel it's fine, so just go ahead and call away. I will call while scouting, but I will be careful about when and where. Calling can give you some very useful information (lets you get counts on the number of birds in an area, lets you keep tabs on a birds location at different times during the day, etc.) Some people would recommend a locator call, but I always just use regular turkey calls. I feel birds respond to them more often than a locator call. Now here's the thing with calling while scouting. You do NOT want to call a bird in to your position and have him bust you. You want to trigger a response, but you don't want that bird to come find you. This is most easily done early in the morning and again in the evening when birds are on the roost. You can certainly call mid day as well, but make sure you're in an area where you aren't going to be surprised by a bird walking in on you. Once you do locate a bird while calling keep your distance from him (at least several hundred yards) and check him every now and then with your call to keep tabs on where he goes at what times of the day. I think I will bring it with me and see what happens>

3. If you're that close to your home you won't need to worry about field dressing. If it's warm out (70+) maybe a cooler with some ice or icepacks in the truck would be a good idea. If it's cooler out (40-50's) we have often times let birds sit or hang in the shade for a day or two before dressing them. Thanks. My neighbor across the street has already said he would show me the proper way to do it.

4. This is an age old question in turkey hunting, and there really isn't any correct answer. A lot of it depends on your situation. Have you seen/heard birds in the area previously? Do you have confidence in the spot? Do you have access to a large (several hundred+ acres) area to hunt? If you have confidence in the area you might want to just stick it out all day if nothing else is going on. Especially if you have limited other options of places to strike a bird. If however you haven't had any action, and you have access to a decent amount of territory you might want to cover some ground and look for a bird. The private is about 40 acres. The public is larger then that but not sure of the size overall. I will have to see what my scouting comes up with and try the most favorable first.

5. You just need to have the tag on your person.

6. Patience, and don't sweat the small stuff. Turkeys can be frustrating if you let them. Some guys get way to worked up about not killing a bird. There is really an unlimited amount of way a hunt can get screwed up. So don't get down on yourself when it doesn't work out. Just enjoy the experience while you're out there, and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Some guys get so hung up over taking a bird it ruins the entire experience for them. Enjoy yourself out there and the turkeys will come.
Thanks. I am truly out for the experience. I waited 44 years for this, so I am ready. I just want to be outdoors, in my element, interacting with wildlife and hopefully a harvest, but if not, thats OK too. A bad day hunting or fishing is better than a great day at work! Anyone been down in Racine/Keno/Walworth area and had success?

Wackostu
 
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Joined: April 9th, 2013, 1:26 pm

Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Wackostu » April 23rd, 2013, 10:43 am

An additional question. I use hearing protection at the range. Having never shot out of doors, do you use any time of noise suppressing ear protection? Do you leave them off until right before you shoot?

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Gopherlongbeards » April 23rd, 2013, 11:28 am

I do not use hearing protection for turkey hunting. Being able to hear what's going on around is too important, plus you are only shooting a couple times per season (ideally :roll: ), so you aren't exposed to anywhere near the amount of noise that you are shooting clays or waterfowl hunting. That being said, you can still do damage to your hearing. It's a trade off and really up to you.

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 4:26 pm
Location: Reeseville Wisconsin

Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » April 23rd, 2013, 12:23 pm

Wackostu wrote:Ok guys, I have a ton of thoughts rolling around in my head and I need to just put them out there and get some answers. I thank you all in advance for passing on kernels of knowledge to an middle aged newbie. I will be hunting Zone 2 on May 9 and 10.

1. Shotgun is patterned and ready to go. However I am not sure of what else to bring. Here is what I am thinking: Firearm and shells, Knife, Portable blind, cushion, calls, zip tie to attach tag, license, Backpack to carry all the above. Am I missing anything?
I never use a hub blind on public land, they are more bother than they are worth. If you can set a blind up and leave it in a good turkey area for a couple days, then they are ok. You may want to carry a small clippers with you to trim small brush out of your way. Keep your calls/strikers in plastic bags to protect them from moisture, and keep them from rattling around in a backpack. Being silent is a key to getting turkeys, if your making a racket walking through the woods/fields, your done before you ever start.
2. I have two locations (1 private and 1 public) where I will be scouting this weekend (yes I have permission on the private already). Here is the question - to call or not to call when scouting. Thoughts?If your scouting only a couple days before your hunting, I wouldn't do any calling, if you do call use a call your not going to use for hunting. Scout with your eyes and ears. Get out there early and listen to where the birds are or glass a field and see where they are using it. If birds are using one end/side of the field, that's where you set up in, NOT the other end/side, get as close to where the birds want to be, that is important.

3. If I am graced to harvest a gobbler, what is my next step? I live 45 minutes from where I will be hunting. Do I need to field dress the bird right there (After a picture or two)? Do I put it on ice and take it home to do it? If I have never field dressed anything before can I screw it up (I have been researching and watching videos but it's not the same as doing it).

4. If I am not getting any response to my calls, how long should I be waiting before trying a new spot?If you hunting a small area the less you move the better, birds can hear your calls from a 1/4 mile easy. That's why your scouting pays an important part of your hunt, know where the birds are and like to be. If your in a bigger area, the birds will tell you where they go, and you can move a head of them or close to them and set up. The birds will tell you how much calling you need to be doing, if your hearing a bunch of turkey talk then talk back to them, if not keep your calling to a minimum. Your ears are your guide.

5. In Wisconsin, does the license need to be displayed or just on my person?Just have it on you.

6. Anything else I need to know?Hearing protection, no need. You depend on your eyes and ears to be your guide, you have to be able to see or hear birds as they move. Some come in silent without making a sound. Hearing protection at a range is a must, in a hunting situation they aren't nessesary your only shooting once or twice. Patients is a must in turkey hunting, just because your not seeing or hearing birds doesn't mean they aren't there. Be patient and rely on your scouting, don't worry about moving to a new setup, especially in a small area. If you can move a 1/4 mile, if the area has good cover that you can move without being seen, than it's ok, if not sit tight and wait them out.

I am so pumped to get out there I cant stand it!

Thanks again for reading!
WillowRidgeCalls
WI Youth & LTH Mentor
Dodge Co. NWTF
Scott

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dewey
 
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Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby dewey » May 8th, 2013, 3:29 pm

Scott has already provided you with some great advice but I will add a few things.

I like to keep a few extra rubber bands with me to keep box calls from squeaking or keeping the strikers together and not rattling. If you harvest a bird take your time and take some good field photos. You will appreciate them later. I like cameras that have a timer so that I can get a picture of me with the turkey when no one else is around. I also have a little tripod for my camera but obviously carry a LOT of stuff. I like to carry my friction calls in a sock so that way they don't rattle.

As for field dressing I would just wait until you get home and then do it. If you have never field dressed a turkey it is fairly simple. I take some time and pluck as many belly feathers off as possible so that way they don't stick to the meat later on. Then open the bird up with a small incision on top of the breast. I then use the gut hook on my knife to cut from the bottom of the belly to just short if the neck. Then peel back the skin and then you will see the sternum and the two breasts. I start at the sternum and slowly cut down along the breast vie by peeling back the meat while I am cutting. The take your time and start cutting outwards towards the legs. This should help you het all of the breast meat. The legs are probably easier as I just break the leg bone out of the hip joint and then cut through the cartilage. Also keep in mind that there are different ways to do it but the end result is the same.

I use a branch trimmer to cut the legs off so I can save the spurs. The bone crunching makes me squirm every time, my father in law laughs at me every time. I then cut the beard off just below the skin so that way the skin will hold the beard together.

Good luck and most important enjoy the hunt. Be sure to come back and let us know how it went be it turkey or not.

Dewey
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

Wackostu
 
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Re: First time hunter with a ton of questions

Postby Wackostu » May 13th, 2013, 8:50 am

dewey wrote:S

Good luck and most important enjoy the hunt. Be sure to come back and let us know how it went be it turkey or not.

Dewey


All,

Well, my two days of hunting the elusive gobblers is over (OK I still have two days left on my tag...) and all I returned home with is an empty tag, new respect for land and game, and a strong passion for this new endeavor I am undertaking.

The setup should have been perfect. Only I didn't hear any Turkeys. Thursday was beautiful, and learned so much about myself, and hunting. Friday I tried another parcel in the rain and cold and wind, and only made it a few hours but I was out there. I didn't just stay home.

I now know some things that I would have never learned if I didn't go out the way I did. Word of mouth and a quick drive-by is not the same as dedicated scouting to locating a flock. Just because you are there and they were there in the past does not mean they are there now. And your spot could be textbook perfect as Turkey habitat, but if they decide not to be there it doesn't mean a hill of beans. I know that just sitting and observing is an education. Hearing and seeing other wildlife interact is an education in itself. I also learned that the land I was on is going to hold many deer based on all the tracks I was seeing. Something stirred in my soul when I was out there, and to me that made this successful, and I cant wait to go out again......


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