Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

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Limbhanger150
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Limbhanger150 » March 15th, 2009, 10:11 am

             I took a fifteen year old on a juvenile hunt last year at a popular WMA in Tennessee. I have hunted this particular place many times in the last thirty years. I know the place quite well. We were hunting a place that was fairly close to an access road. We had a gobbler with three hens in a clearing and could not get him to break away. They started to move away and got over a small ridge out of the line of sight. He suggested that we drop down and loop around in front of them. I noticed a vehicle parked at the upper end of the area (about three hundred yards away). I told him we best back out and go to another spot because I did not know where the folks in the other vehicle were. I knew there would be a juvenile with an adult and that figured into my decision. Here is what I thought, even though anyone that hunts has the resonsiblilty to be safe and careful it is alot safer to avoid any possibilities if you know they exist. Avoid the possible accident. We came out and got into the vehicle and as we were headed out the group on the other vehicle was coming out of the woods on the other side of the road. We were not even on the same side of the road. My hunting companion said dang it we could have had another shot at that bird. I said, "well, it was not safe to approach the bird, it could have ruined another hunting setup or worse, caused an accident." We know for sure we can go back and hunt the bird now.
        
                    I never would have chanced moving on the tom without knowing where the other hunters were. But even more importantly, I was not gonna risk injury or worse knowing that young hunters (with their whole life ahead of them) were in the area. I think if everyone took that approach on every hunt then the public woods would be alot safer. It aint worth it.
 
                 On that note, we decided that we prefer private land hunting for turkey, even though we like the challenge of public land. We just are not comfortable being in the woods fully camoflauged with a large amount of hunters we do not know. The tactics some use make it unsafe. Now early season hunts where visibillty is better makes it a little more safe.
 
               I must admit, I get nervous on public land turkey hunts. And it seems like quota hunts have more hunters than non-quota hunts. I dont have the same feeling when I deer hunt. I am not saying that I have the answer but it used to not be as bad. We just have more hunters now. Shotguns that throw fist sized holes at longer range with more shock. Eventually someone will realize that the reason for shotguns was to limit the range and make target identification (and backdrop) easier. Heck think about it. How long has  Mossy Oak, Realtree and the others been around. Twenty five (maybe thiry) years ago you could identify hunters alot easier because of what they were wearing , your shotgun had an effective range of about 35 yards, you probably have what, one tenth of the hunters and a small fraction of turkey that you have now.
                 
           The sport is evolving, and now more than ever, safety issues should be a concern. The odds have been increased dramatically for accidents. More hunters with different tactics, high powered loads and camo that makes one disappear to the human eye, hunters running callers that sound better than the birds themselves. Decoys that move and look like the real thing or are in fact, real stuffed turkeys. Be careful out there especially on public land. 

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JPH
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby JPH » March 15th, 2009, 11:35 am

ORIGINAL: Limbhanger150
The odds have been increased dramatically for accidents. More hunters with different tactics, high powered loads and camo that makes one disappear to the human eye, hunters running callers that sound better than the birds themselves. Decoys that move and look like the real thing or are in fact, real stuffed turkeys.


Really? Is that supported by data? Are you actually more likely to suffer a shooting related accident today?

I am honestly asking because I don't know. I do not have the statistics at my finger tips, so I cannot refute what you are saying, but my sense is that we are safer today because we are better educated.

My hypothesis is that we have fewer shooting related accidents today, per turkey hunter, than at any time in the history of modern seasons. We require hunter education in almost every state and we track accidents closely in order to correct problems. It is my opinion that accidents are the result of bad decisions on the part of the shooter and not the result of equipment or tactics.

Again, it's a hypothesis so feel free to bring data. Anyone who can prove me wrong will be an automatic hero with a few of the posters here. [:D]

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JPH
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby JPH » March 15th, 2009, 1:27 pm

As a follow up, I did a quick internet search on turkey hunting accident trends. I was hoping to find stats on the number of nationwide, two party shooting incidence among turkey hunters and compare that to the number of hunters. This would allow us to determine the per-cap. numbers and track them year to year. So far, I could not find anything that clear.

What does jump out is the number of recent headlines that say things like "Turkey Hunters Set New Safety Record!" It would appear, at least at a glance, that we are actually improving safety while increasing in technology and expanding tactics.

Take Missouri for example. Missouri is one of the most prolific turkey hunting states in America. They publish the previous year's hunting accident stats with every new rules & regs brochure. As a Missouri turkey hunter, I have been reading them closely for about 6-7 years. In 2008 Missouri has only two, non-fatal, two-party shootings involving turkey hunters. Every year, things slowly improve.

Do not misunderstand me, one accident is too many, but we seem to be moving in the right direction. 

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mark hay
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby mark hay » March 15th, 2009, 1:44 pm

when i first began turkey hunting at the big playground, i was a little nervous to say the least , about other hunters and their ambitions. over the years i guess i,ve become somewhat overconfident , since i've never had a near encounter with another hunter . after reading all theses posts i get the idea that it is possible to become too familiar and overconfident based solely on the past . when in reality there are no doubt some NEW hunters , both old and young , that will be treading the woods looking for that first bird to tag. and we don't know how safety minded some folks actually are .
i think i'll start preachin' safety to my sons ,,, with much repitition. after all , it's time for them to be weaned from my tutorship and learn some things on their own .

''old school turkey tactics''

StevePA
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby StevePA » March 15th, 2009, 4:48 pm

ORIGINAL: JPH

As a follow up, I did a quick internet search on turkey hunting accident trends. I was hoping to find stats on the number of nationwide, two party shooting incidence among turkey hunters and compare that to the number of hunters. This would allow us to determine the per-cap. numbers and track them year to year. So far, I could not find anything that clear.

What does jump out is the number of recent headlines that say things like "Turkey Hunters Set New Safety Record!" It would appear, at least at a glance, that we are actually improving safety while increasing in technology and expanding tactics.

Take Missouri for example. Missouri is one of the most prolific turkey hunting states in America. They publish the previous year's hunting accident stats with every new rules & regs brochure. As a Missouri turkey hunter, I have been reading them closely for about 6-7 years. In 2008 Missouri has only two, non-fatal, two-party shootings involving turkey hunters. Every year, things slowly improve.

Do not misunderstand me, one accident is too many, but we seem to be moving in the right direction. 

 
Headlines can be misleading...A little good press is better than none..Do you really think that headlines would focus on the lame brains shooting each other?...sheesh...
turkeykiller

Magnumdood
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Magnumdood » March 15th, 2009, 6:06 pm

ORIGINAL: StevePA

ORIGINAL: JPH

As a follow up, I did a quick internet search on turkey hunting accident trends. I was hoping to find stats on the number of nationwide, two party shooting incidence among turkey hunters and compare that to the number of hunters. This would allow us to determine the per-cap. numbers and track them year to year. So far, I could not find anything that clear.

What does jump out is the number of recent headlines that say things like "Turkey Hunters Set New Safety Record!" It would appear, at least at a glance, that we are actually improving safety while increasing in technology and expanding tactics.

Take Missouri for example. Missouri is one of the most prolific turkey hunting states in America. They publish the previous year's hunting accident stats with every new rules & regs brochure. As a Missouri turkey hunter, I have been reading them closely for about 6-7 years. In 2008 Missouri has only two, non-fatal, two-party shootings involving turkey hunters. Every year, things slowly improve.

Do not misunderstand me, one accident is too many, but we seem to be moving in the right direction. 


Headlines can be misleading...A little good press is better than none..Do you really think that headlines would focus on the lame brains shooting each other?...sheesh...

Yes, the media would focus on lame brains shooting each other.  It would make national news.  "HUNTERS DIE IN EARLY-MORNING BLOODBATH: MORE AT 6:00."  They would have reporters and reporterettes wading knee-deep mud trying to get a camera shot and an interview with the game warden leading the investigation.  Obama would have a team there in a heartbeat to support his anti-gun agenda.  Headlines ARE misleading; otherwise Obama would never have been elected.  Do you just pull your head out to turkey hunt? 

The media thrives on BAD news.  The media loves to publish BAD press about guns.  And you KNOW it.  To protect your position in this thread you have no problem telling a lie, and a bad lie at that.

If it bleeds it leads is the media motto.

Magnumdood
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Magnumdood » March 15th, 2009, 6:10 pm

ORIGINAL: JPH

Do not misunderstand me, one accident is too many, but we seem to be moving in the right direction. 

As witnessed by media coverage.

Had the media been able to give gun-owners a black-eye they would rather have done that than publish good news. 

Anyone who says differently is a liberal, a fool, a liar or all three.

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paboxcall
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby paboxcall » March 15th, 2009, 6:44 pm

ORIGINAL: JPH

paboxcall, I am very sorry that your friend was injured and I mean no disrespect, but I disagree with your logic.

Your friend was injured by a poacher and once he pulled the trigger and ran, he became something much worse. To say that failure to properly identify the target was not the root cause is ridiculous! The responsibility ALWAYS rests on the trigger finger.

Are you suggesting that no one ever move toward the sound of a gobbling turkey in order to call him? IS that actually what the law says in PA? Are we seriously supposed to be so anti-stalking that we never take one step closer to a bird once we hear him? That does not pass the common sense test.

I agree that there is an element of risk to moving in on a gobbling turkey. That is exactly why I use strict guidelines whenever doing it (see previous posts). But there is an element of risk to all hunting activity and we are endowed with a large and complex brain to make the right decision within the law.

Again, my disagreement with you is respectful. I appreciate the safety concerns and I can empathize with how you must feel, having seen the full effects of an accident, but I still disagree. Stealthy movements, made within earshot of a spring gobbler are a rewarding element of spring turkey hunting and can, under the right conditions, be done safely.


First, I appreciate your civility -- on a few rare occassions we could use more of it around here. 

But to be clear, no, he wasn't injured by a poacher, he was injured by a stalker.  Here is the requirement from the PA regs:

[font=timesnewromanpsmt]Statewide. Only turkeys with visible beards are legal. Hunting bycalling only--no stalking--one-half hour before sunrise until noon.Hunters must be out of the woods by 1 p.m.http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/digestpdfs/2008/14_turkeyseasonbaglimit.pdf When you refer to moving on a gobbler above, you are now purposely being misleading.  That is not at all what we are talking about.  Repositioning on a gobbling bird, and calling to him from each of your different set-up locations is part of the game -- actually that is the core of what we do as spring hunters, either in the heat of the battle or when cutting/running.  That's what is fascinating about spring season, its like a chess match.   But you need two players for chess -- you call, gobbler responds.  Bird calls, you respond.  Stalking, on the other hand, is a one sided game, and as you admited in post #1, stalking is achieved only with stealth and without calling.  You stated "It was one of my greatest turkey hunting experiences. It required physical stamina, patience, and stealth. In fact, it required everything but calling." Good thing you're not a PA resident.  I think any PA Game Commissioner would have cited you for the behavior you described in your first post.  Stalking is moving into shotgun range and shooting that bird without making a single turkey call or sound to alert either the gobbler of your presence, or perhaps another hunter pinned down and silent near that gobbler.  In your first post you admitted to stalking, and being proud of the fact you didn't need to call when you killed a gobbler while getting to his comfort zone.  Hence the title of this thread -- 'confessions of a stalker.' And for you to cite the act of pulling the trigger as the root cause is short sighted.  Ask yourself 'WHY did he pull the trigger?  Can't be considered root cause till you exhaust the circumstances that led to the event of the shooting.  Pulling the trigger is the last action in a long line of bad judgement and poor decision making that put that stalker in position to shoot, and my good friend on the business end of the barrel.   Good luck to you this season.
"So much of this business of hunting turkeys, you stupid it up right at the last.
You do everything right for an hour and a half, and then you sit down here
and there's nothing you can do about it, you made a mistake."
Tom Kelly, [i]Turkey Tales

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby Cut N Run » March 15th, 2009, 7:42 pm

The place I hunt is pretty small, so if I don't get a good shot, I usually just let them walk & try again on another day. I usually get on the radio and let both of the other guys I hunt with know which way the bird(s)  is/are headed, so perhaps either of them can get a crack at him.
 
Unfortunately, I often hunt near the back corner of the property and the birds can cross onto another piece of land I don't have permission to hunt within just a few minutes.  That's why calling is so important to me, I can't pick up and go after 'em much as I'd want to.  The rest of the property is like a jungle that can't be quietly walked through very easily. 
 
I have repositioned myself a couple of times a season & I always do it walking upright with those orange flags out on the shoulders of my vest until I get where I'm going. Perhaps two dozen times in my turkey hunting career have I moved toward the gobble.  Most of the time, I try to talk them into coming to me.  Scouting is also a pretty important factor for me.  I like to know where the strut zones are and try to set up close to them where I can make minimal realistic hen calls to talk the Gobbler over to me.
 
This is the only way I hunt because each place I usually hunt has been limited in size or restricted by water (plus, I have been pretty successful hunting this way).  I wish I had big agricultural areas or big woods to hunt, but I don't. Most of my birds were shot under 25 yards because I generally can't see to shoot very far. The less I move around, the less likely I am to bump a bird off our property and in front of somebody else's gun on another property.  It is kind of hard to describe, but imagine a 10 -12 year old clearcut that has been replanted in pines where most of the undergrowth was left in place.  The areas where it has been burned off under more mature trees gets too much human traffic nearby to let the turkeys feel comfortable hanging out there. We have one powerline cut and one small field (~3/4 of an acre) as the only open areas besides the roads, paths, and trails we keep open.
 
Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

StevePA
 
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RE: Confessions of a Turkey Stalker

Postby StevePA » March 15th, 2009, 7:53 pm

ORIGINAL: paboxcall

ORIGINAL: JPH

paboxcall, I am very sorry that your friend was injured and I mean no disrespect, but I disagree with your logic.

Your friend was injured by a poacher and once he pulled the trigger and ran, he became something much worse. To say that failure to properly identify the target was not the root cause is ridiculous! The responsibility ALWAYS rests on the trigger finger.

Are you suggesting that no one ever move toward the sound of a gobbling turkey in order to call him? IS that actually what the law says in PA? Are we seriously supposed to be so anti-stalking that we never take one step closer to a bird once we hear him? That does not pass the common sense test.

I agree that there is an element of risk to moving in on a gobbling turkey. That is exactly why I use strict guidelines whenever doing it (see previous posts). But there is an element of risk to all hunting activity and we are endowed with a large and complex brain to make the right decision within the law.

Again, my disagreement with you is respectful. I appreciate the safety concerns and I can empathize with how you must feel, having seen the full effects of an accident, but I still disagree. Stealthy movements, made within earshot of a spring gobbler are a rewarding element of spring turkey hunting and can, under the right conditions, be done safely.


First, I appreciate your civility -- on a few rare occassions we could use more of it around here. 

But to be clear, no, he wasn't injured by a poacher, he was injured by a stalker.  Here is the requirement from the PA regs:

[font=timesnewromanpsmt]Statewide. Only turkeys with visible beards are legal. Hunting bycalling only--no stalking--one-half hour before sunrise until noon.Hunters must be out of the woods by 1 p.m.http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/digestpdfs/2008/14_turkeyseasonbaglimit.pdf When you refer to moving on a gobbler above, you are now purposely being misleading.  That is not at all what we are talking about.  Repositioning on a gobbling bird, and calling to him from each of your different set-up locations is part of the game -- actually that is the core of what we do as spring hunters, either in the heat of the battle or when cutting/running.  That's what is fascinating about spring season, its like a chess match.   But you need two players for chess -- you call, gobbler responds.  Bird calls, you respond.  Stalking, on the other hand, is a one sided game, and as you admited in post #1, stalking is achieved only with stealth and without calling.  You stated "It was one of my greatest turkey hunting experiences. It required physical stamina, patience, and stealth. In fact, it required everything but calling." Good thing you're not a PA resident.  I think any PA Game Commissioner would have cited you for the behavior you described in your first post.  Stalking is moving into shotgun range and shooting that bird without making a single turkey call or sound to alert either the gobbler of your presence, or perhaps another hunter pinned down and silent near that gobbler.  In your first post you admitted to stalking, and being proud of the fact you didn't need to call when you killed a gobbler while getting to his comfort zone.  Hence the title of this thread -- 'confessions of a stalker.' And for you to cite the act of pulling the trigger as the root cause is short sighted.  Ask yourself 'WHY did he pull the trigger?  Can't be considered root cause till you exhaust the circumstances that led to the event of the shooting.  Pulling the trigger is the last action in a long line of bad judgement and poor decision making that put that stalker in position to shoot, and my good friend on the business end of the barrel.   Good luck to you this season.

 
AMEN and Pass the plate paboxcall....
turkeykiller

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