Gobblers at the Honey Hole

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shaman
 
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Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby shaman » March 22nd, 2014, 4:11 pm

After 3 attempts, I finally hit paydirt this morning with Angus. The turkeys have been there, but they have not been all that vocal.

No, we didn't shoot anything. It is still several weeks until season starts. However, Angus and I went out with the trusty umbrella mike and managed to record a gobbler. . . and then a deer . . . and then. . .

Yikes! You'll hear them. Folks say there is no such thing as a honey hole in turkey hunting. Phooey. Just as we were leaving to go in a whole herd of turkeys showed up in the field next to the Honey Hole and started doing that Spring Thang all over the field. The funny thing is that we had left the Honey Hole over an hour earlier, so we could not see see them. That was probably a good thing. They were so close to where we usually sit, we would have been busted for sure. As it was, we were hidden behind a curtain of cedar trees-- perfect for recording audio.

So here it is, the first shamanic podcast of 2014,

Gobblers at the Honey Hole
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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misoiltester
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby misoiltester » March 22nd, 2014, 6:32 pm

I'm computer illerate .. and can't get anything to look at :oops:
Ever wonder where the white goes when the snow melts????

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shaman
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby shaman » March 22nd, 2014, 7:39 pm

These podcasts are audio only. If you have trouble getting them to run, right click on the links and download them before listening. They are MP3 files, so you can play them on just about anything.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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kygobbler
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby kygobbler » March 23rd, 2014, 10:21 am

Shaman that is one of your better podcasts. Listening to all that gobbling while Im at work makes me want to leave and get in the woods. :lol:

As far as the honey hole deal, Im right there with you because I have a spot also that you can go to and kill a bird everyday if you wanted. I hope those gobblers stick around for you till opening day. I can't wait to see some of your pics of those gobblers.
Is it turkey season yet?

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shaman
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby shaman » March 24th, 2014, 7:38 am

Thanks, KY.

It's funny. You see the possibility of a honey hole. I certainly do. However, the proper catechism on turkeys says these don't exist. Then again, everyone comes to KY and they say it's tough to hunt.

See, I see this as a basic difference between hunting styles. If you run around the country, or even run around your own county, you may not catch this feature of turkey behavior. Where these gobblers were hanging out just happened to be one of the first two spots we ran into turkeys after we bought the property. KYHillChick was out wandering the property and ran into these big black things loitering at one end of this particular pastures-- thought they were vultures at first. Over time, I kept running into turkeys around this place as I was dragging in from my unsuccessful attempts at chasing them down in the creek bottoms.

What sets the Honey Hole up to be THE Honey Holes seems to be the following factors:

1) it's on a fenceline between two narrow pastures. The fenceline marks the top of a knife-edge ridge.
2) It's at the end of one pasture and close to the end of the other.
3) There's a high spot, a little knoll, that rises up. There are several large dead trees there, all victims of lightning strikes.
4) The fenceline has 100-year old oaks that produce acorns in abundance.
5) The hollers to either side of the Honey Hole are parallel N/S drainages There are tall trees favored for roosting on either side.

Now, you have to understand that it took me 5 seasons to catch on to this. My head was still filled with all the goo I'd read, and I never sat my butt down and concentrated on this spot. There are a few other spots on the place that draw turkeys consistently, but they are not as easy to exploit. This one is as close to ideal as you get.
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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » March 24th, 2014, 1:57 pm

shaman wrote:Thanks, KY.

It's funny. You see the possibility of a honey hole. I certainly do. However, the proper catechism on turkeys says these don't exist. Then again, everyone comes to KY and they say it's tough to hunt.

See, I see this as a basic difference between hunting styles. If you run around the country, or even run around your own county, you may not catch this feature of turkey behavior. Where these gobblers were hanging out just happened to be one of the first two spots we ran into turkeys after we bought the property. KYHillChick was out wandering the property and ran into these big black things loitering at one end of this particular pastures-- thought they were vultures at first. Over time, I kept running into turkeys around this place as I was dragging in from my unsuccessful attempts at chasing them down in the creek bottoms.

What sets the Honey Hole up to be THE Honey Holes seems to be the following factors:

1) it's on a fenceline between two narrow pastures. The fenceline marks the top of a knife-edge ridge.
2) It's at the end of one pasture and close to the end of the other.
3) There's a high spot, a little knoll, that rises up. There are several large dead trees there, all victims of lightning strikes.
4) The fenceline has 100-year old oaks that produce acorns in abundance.
5) The hollers to either side of the Honey Hole are parallel N/S drainages There are tall trees favored for roosting on either side.

Now, you have to understand that it took me 5 seasons to catch on to this. My head was still filled with all the goo I'd read, and I never sat my butt down and concentrated on this spot. There are a few other spots on the place that draw turkeys consistently, but they are not as easy to exploit. This one is as close to ideal as you get.


I agree with you a 100%, you made some important points that most hunters over look, the biggest is you need to change your strategies a little in every different place you hunt no matter whether it's two counties or two states apart. The second was your where the turkeys want to be, not just what field they are in, but what part of that field they are in. A lot of guys don't believe in using a topo map of an area to learn to hunt it, but yes it will show you certain areas that may hold birds or an area that birds may travel too and from an area, true you won't know just what it looks like until you set foot on the ground, but it will give you a starting point. I've noticed a big difference between public and private land hunting, if you don't change your tactics a little you'll struggle hunting one from the other.
WillowRidgeCalls
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shaman
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby shaman » March 24th, 2014, 3:07 pm

I'm not even sure a TOPO is going to turn up this kind honey hole. What I mean is if you take the one distinguishing feature of this place on the topo it would be the little bullseye contour. There is a small, basically circular contour line about as small as you are going to find on a topo. What that signifies is a >20' difference from the surrounding terrain-- a little knoll. There are other features like that on my place, and on the neighbors' and they all produce turkeys. Does that mean bulleye contours are the key to finding honey holes? I doubt that. However, in these parts they are something that turkeys seem to like.

They also like saddles. They also like narrowings along knife-edge ridges. However, without knowing exactly why, I'd not send y'all searching for these on your topo. My guess is that it makes it easier for them to cross from one side of the ridge to the other.

I could go on and on like this, but the main thing I've learned from all this is that there is no substitute for scouting. I am by no means an expert turkey hunter in the general sense. If you take me off my 200 acres, I don't know how I'd do. However, I'm probably the world's leading expert on hunting my little 200 acre patch.

. . . oh, and btw, I still get seriously skunked.
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Cut N Run
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby Cut N Run » March 25th, 2014, 12:27 pm

I'm a firm believer in honey holes for turkeys because I've had way too much success hunting them to realize that there's something besides coincidence at work within them.

One of my honey holes is a small ledge just below a ridge top that is along a powerlines opening that runs east/west in the midst of a big block of woods. The ridge runs perpendicular (north/south) to the powerlines, making an ideal intersection. Any gobbler that wants to see or be seen for a long ways doesn't have any other place nearby to show off as awesome as this spot. The advantage of elevation helps their gobbles cover more ground and the added bonus of having an opening where almost nothing can sneak up on them makes for an ideal location to strut. If he needs to get in cover, it is available in almost any direction, as the powerlines opening is only 22 yards wide. I wish I had kept track of how many gobblers my buddies and I have taken from that one little spot over the years, but it is somewhere around 25 birds. I know 6 gobblers were taken there by four hunters in one season alone. None of those turkeys were killed more than 30 yards away from the central spot either. It is almost magic.

My other honey hole was an old sawdust pile that happened to be right smack dab in the saddle of a different north/south ridge that had draws leading away from the saddle in east/west directions. Turkeys following the draws were funneled into the saddle, just the same as any turkeys walking the ridge crossed into the saddle to get to the other side of the ridge. The only two other hunters who know about that spot are two of my best friends in the world and only one of them lives around here. I haven't kept track of the number of turkeys that the two of us have taken from that spot either, but I'm sure it is over 15. Hunting there almost wasn't fair.

Even though there is a good population of turkeys in that area, if you can find that spot on the spot, it can yield tremendous successful results. Like shaman, it took me several years to pinpoint each of these spots, but once I found 'em, they were pure gold, as long as I didn't over-hunt either one. Sadly, both were at my old lease and I don't have access to either one anymore. The landowner took over the ridge top before I left there and he has no idea the sawdust pile even exists. It pains me to know the old sawdust pile is not being hunted, but that place is not easy to get to and it takes dedication to get there in the dark without stirring that side of the property up. The landowner is too lazy to hunt it even if he knew where it was anyway.

I found a ridge below a ridge at another natural funnel where I tagged a gobbler last year at one of the horse farms. It has to prove itself worthy before I can put a honey hole label on it, but it has a lot of potential. I'll be checking it out this year for sure. Pay extra attention to those places you always see or hear turkeys, because they could be telling you where to get a better crack at 'em. Those birds use there for a reason and if you can solve the puzzle, it can be very good to you for a long time. Good luck & have fun.

Jim
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shaman
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby shaman » March 26th, 2014, 6:18 am

It's funny, but I had a hard time convincing myself that this was for real. For several years I had a blind location right at Ground Zero of the Honey Hole. I'd go there late-morning and rest up after I'd come out of the creek bottoms. I'd sit there and call a little bit before giving up and going in. Invariably, I'd bust a flock either getting there or on the way out. It wasn't for 5 years before I actually sat down there at first light and watched all morning. I filled both tags that year. By then, I was situated at my current spot, which is just a little ways off Ground Zero, back in the deep shade. It also has a better view of the surrounding fields and has an old tree trunk on which to lean.

After a couple years of filling tags and helping other folks fill theirs, I started writing about the place. That's when I found out "There is no such thing as a Honey Hole." I won't say who told me that, but it head of a certain manufacturing company that makes turkey calls. I heard it here too. The common thread here is that each and every person who told me there was no such thing as a honey hole was one of these guys who hunts several states every year and often relies on contacts in each state to set them up with a hunt.

I can see it now, Fred and Bill show up in the big SUV. Ned greets them, puts them up in the big chalet cabin, and feeds them sumptuously. For the next day or so, Ned takes them all over that end of the state looking for birds, and then they happen to stumble on spot on the next to last day of the hunt and whammo! The birds are practically crawling up their legs. Everybody fills their tags and Fred and Bill go off thinking it was their incredible luck and their superior calling ability. Ned takes the fat check to the bank Monday morning, having never told them the truth about the Honey Hole.

As to the method of acquiring a Honey Hole, the best advice I can give is to put boots on the ground. Mine is a spot that has turkeys showing up year 'round. So leveraging deer season and summer hiking might help narrow things down. Topo maps and aerial photos and Google Earth and such will also help; my Honey Hole is a mix of so many things. It is hard to say exactly what makes this place work so well. One thing I can say is that there are probably other places on the farm that regularly see turkeys. However, what makes this spot so good is that there is a good mix of a lot of cover and a good view. Things are such that the turkeys cannot see me until they are right on me. I can put my gun up while they are still behind a bend in the road or a fold in the pasture. Again, scouting is what made this all happen.
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notsure
 
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Re: Gobblers at the Honey Hole

Postby notsure » March 26th, 2014, 11:26 pm

Hi Shaman

The best advice I can give you is this. Enjoy your honey hole for as long as you can, because nothing lasts forever! A few friends of mine and I hunted a small farm just south of Rochester, MN. An abandoned elevated rail bed defined the south-western boundary of the property. That rail bed, along with most of the north-western edge of the property were tree lined, and these borders surrounded two 10+ acre farm plots plus a 5 acre pasture. The surrounding property was almost entirely maintained as CRP land, the next active farm being around 1/2 mile away. Seemingly, every turkey within a square mile of the place would eventually end up strutting into one of those two fields. A warm body with a shotgun could kill a tom turkey at this place! I have never seen anything like it, and I doubt I'll witness such a spectacle in all my remaining days. Well, in the Spring of 2008, most of the surrounding CRP was turned over and planted with corn. By Fall 2008, turkey (and deer) activity on this property dropped like the proverbial lead balloon. I continued hunting that property or some adjacent properties through last season, and I managed to kill monster birds in 2012 and 13. However, I took those birds on the adjacent properties, and to the best of my knowledge, no deer or turkeys have been killed at the "honey hole" by anyone since 2008. The farm changed hands in 2012 and I no longer have permission to hunt my old honey hole, but I wouldn't go back even if I was extended an invitation. It's the place at which I tagged my first gobbler, a place shared by myself and some friends and family that should always remain the "honey hole" in my memories.

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