What turkey hunting is like in PA...

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Everyday Hunter
 
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What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby Everyday Hunter » April 25th, 2009, 11:01 am

Rather than hijack another thread under the "Calling" thread, I've started another thread on "What turkey hunting is like in PA,"  I begin with a couple of quotes from that thread: "SHOULD?"
ORIGINAL: shocwave26

well i would like to add my 2 cents.first that is a ridiculus notion to think that pa. birds are so tough that a champion caller is the only ones that can kill wary old toms. i have been hunting mississippi long beards for 25 years on public land and i will bet you my rem 1187 that pa birds are no tougher than them. i have killed more than my fair shair i assure you and im no contest caller. the true judges are ole tom and what he is in the mood for at the time. location far outweighs calling point blank. take a average joe put him in the right place and put a contest caller in a poor set up and i would take average joe anyday.

Shocwave26 is right, it is a ridiculous notion to think that PA birds are so tough that a champion caller is the only one that can kill wary toms. Lots of ordinary hunters kill turkeys here every year. But what the comments regarding how tough it is in Pennsylvania are about is the fact that PA has so many hunters, and so much accessible land (both public property, and private property that is open to the public.) That means the great majority of the birds have been called to and messed with before the season starts. It's not the turkeys themselves that are tough. It's that they have been toughened by repeated exposure to calling before the season and hit very hard on opening day.

StevePA made the point this way:

ORIGINAL: StevePA

No offense but the number of hunters in PA far exceed anything most states have to offer...Its not the turkeys that are tough...its fighting the crowds...thats tough...One thing you wont ever see and thats hunting films made in PA...unless of course its done by a PA native...AND...You never if ever see posts about folks driving , flying , hitch hiking or otherwise to PA....to hunt turkeys....Why?...cUz...turkey huntings tough...

It's not that the turkeys themselves are any different than eastern turkeys anywhere else. They're not. We don't have a special elusive and super-wary subspecies that turkeys anywhere else are stupid on comparison to. But to understand why turkeys in PA are a tough hunt you have to understand something about the type of properties we have in PA, the road system that penetrates it, and the sheer number of hunters competing for the turkeys.

Here's an example: I was out this morning on a small piece of private property that is bounded by five other pieces of private property that are all posted, plus a public road. (And I'm describing only one side of the road.) This landowner encourages me to hunt there, but permits almost anyone who asks, so it's like being on a state game land or state forest. I've called in many turkeys here, but never killed one, for various reasons. What was probably the biggest one stood there as clean shaven as I am on a Sunday morning -- not a legal bird. Another time I had a bird within 60 yards coming right in, and someone who had sneaked between me and the bird shot it, picked it up and ran it off to one of the posted properties. That's what we face in PA on any given Saturday, and maybe any other day as well.

This morning I drove up the road to this property at 5:00 and passed three vehicles parked along the road. I park off the road, and can safely assume that at least one or two others did, too. I'm sure more arrived after I drove by. There are four or five houses and camps along the road and people are hunting from them, too. While waiting for daylight at my listening spot I heard two gobblers across the road on the top of the hill. It was already too late to go for them, and chances are hunters were already in position. It's less than a mile from the road in the valley to the road on the top of the hill on the other side, where several more cars would be.

I heard two separate shots on the top of that hill. I heard two separate shots (closer) a half mile down the valley from me. I heard one series of four shots (bang... bang-bang... bang) a mile or so down the valley and two more farther away -- 10 shots all by 6:30 AM.

That is what it's like in PA. It's Day One and those birds are already pressured. This is one time I'm glad we don't have Sunday hunting in PA -- at least the birds are likely to get a day off to settle down a bit for Monday -- but they will be tough hunts for the rest of the season.

The reason that you don't find many (I won't say you won't find any) videos made in PA (except by natives of PA) is because the whole state is pretty much like that. We have the huge Allegheny National Forest (riddled with access roads), we have several state forests (also easily accessed) and we have many state game lands (they actually have parking lots.) On top of that, we have a lot of small properties (50-100 acres) that are posted, and land that isn't posted is likely to have hunters on it who have no idea who the landowner is -- they're on it because they didn't see any "posted" signs. A lot is invested in making a video, so why would anyone even try to make a video where they have no control over who is messing with the birds they are trying to film?

Contrast that with some property in southern Ohio where a guy I know who is from right here is a guide. On any day, he can step into the woods and hear 20 gobblers, all on property where he guides. No one else is there. Maybe two or three of these birds are near the edge of the property and have been exposed to other hunters, but he can call in a gobbler almost anytime he tries -- probably more than one. THAT is the kind of place where videos are made -- and the kind of place that is virtually non-existent in PA.

PA birds are tough because they're highly pressured anywhere you go in the state. And the toughest place of all might be the northern tier of counties -- because they get pressure from New York hunters, too. The PA season opened today, April 25, and the New York season opens May 1. That gives New York hunters a week to mess with PA birds before their season even opens. You can drive around and see cars with NY plates almost any day during our first week, in addition to the cars with PA plates. Some PA hunters go to New York, too, so the birds in the southern tier of New York counties are like PA birds.

I'm not saying that this situation isn't similar to some places in Kentucky, Mississippi, or any other state. But here in PA, it's like that everywhere in the state. We probably have more hunters than we do mature gobblers, and we put a hurtin on them, even if every hunter doesn't kill one. That's why if a guy can kill a turkey every year in PA, and call in a couple for other people, he can call a turkey in anywhere. And it has nothing to do with calling ability. It has everything to do with the access to turkeys and the relentless pressure gobblers get here, on both public and private property.

I've talked to hunters from other states who say they don't hunt turkeys because it's too easy. Generally, hunters from PA who say that have gotten lucky on their first gobbler.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, and I'm sure some hunters will see it a bit differently on a point or two that I've made, but in general I'll be surprised if Pennsylvania hunters don't confirm the truth of what I've said. We have to work very hard to find responsive turkeys. Keep in mind -- read me carefully -- I have not said that no turkey anywhere is as tough as a Pennsylvania turkey, and any Pennsylvania hunter who says that is foolish for making such a blanket statement. There are a few pockets where you will find an easy one, and any state will have areas that get heavily pressured, too. But what I'm talking about is the general situation across the state. By the way, this thread is in the Pennsylvania forum, but hunters from elsewhere are free to discuss.

Sorry for the long post -- but at least I broke it up into paragraphs so it's easy to read. [:D]

Steve
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

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Moonshine Gobbler
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby Moonshine Gobbler » April 25th, 2009, 11:14 am

Welcome to PA. turkey hunting.
you forgot to say about being stalked by other hunters, and the need of wrapping a flo. orange vest around the tree so you do not get shot.

Today we were on private land, and there was the neighbor who drove up in to the field we wanted to hunt on our land, to park his truck to hunt on his land. Nice guy, he parked right in the middle of a strut zone.

That's why a PA bird, is a trophy.

R

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mark hay
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby mark hay » April 25th, 2009, 12:35 pm

it is just about identical where i hunt . it is public hunting and suffers a lot of abuse by preseason callers and many hunters will come from far away to call them in and film them before season . also there are the 'shroom hunters , people fishing the ponds , and the general crowd at night doing their thing in the parking lots and leaving their trash behind . some just drive from parking lot to parking lot just to do donuts in the gravel and grassy areas ,
  there are a lot of turkeys there , and a lot of room to move around . i learned a lot by hunting those spooky birds on that ground . to call one in , especially late in the season after being harassed so much by myself and others , is rather sweet .
this coming fall should be exceptional turkey hunting . it's amazing how many birds there are this year on that 4250+ acres .
 no it doesn't take a champion caller to kill one of these high strung , high pressured birds . better yet it requires some patience and very little calling , with calling experience , that is , to know when and what to say .

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby Everyday Hunter » April 25th, 2009, 1:18 pm

Here is a sampling of "classic" opening day comments from the HuntingPA forum, the biggest PA hunting forums on the 'net:
got in the woods by 5, nobody around including birds. not a peep all day.
checked a back up spot and only seen a lone hen cruising around. there was a ton of shootin at day break. then nothing.
oh well...
Last saturay i was out before first light...heard Gobbles EVERYWHERE! Thunderous roars shattering the peaceful morning in the woods...TODAY, NOTHING! Zip, Ziltch, nadda, not one peep!
Did manage to call in another hunter though [:D]
stupid turkeys..... Had one comin up a brushy hollow to me only to hear a shot about 50 yards down below me, congrats to whoever
we had one in gobbling behind us and two off to the otherside. it was to windy and they were quite scared. down on the other side of the hill it sounded like a war zone. someone shot 6 times and later shot another time.

Here's one that proves the adage, "If anything can go wrong, it will."
called in a beautiful tom around 9:30.I would guess that its beard was 9-10 inches or so. He stopped at 40 yards and lifted his head. I put the bead on his neck and...CLICK...trusty Browning Gold failed me for the first time. But the turkey didn't go anywhere, so I called to mask the noise of cycling another round, put the bead on his neck and...MEOW...a flippin cat literally steps in front of the bird and sits in front of him. I mean, this cat was sitting inches away and it was willing to sacrifice its life for the turkey! It was a new spot so I figured the last thing I wanted to do was shoot the landowner's cat.I was ticked at first but then couldn't stop laughing about it later...just another story for the archives.

Not that nobody has any luck. Finally, here's a posting by a guy who probably COULD make a Pennsylvania video. It's "classic" for him. He will kill two in PA, two in NY, and call in at least a half dozen for other hunters:
So the carnage continues....2 down by 6:40 today. I killed a 20lber,9.5in beard,1 3/8 spurs. He also had a club foot..all his toes on it were half there normal length. It looked like he was stuck in a trap at one time. My brother killed a 21lber,10in beard,1 1/16 in spurs on our 2nd set up. In all I had 3 longbeards and 6 jakes in on 2 sets.

All in an opening day's hunt.

Steve
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

slewi
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby slewi » January 27th, 2010, 8:07 am

Wow.

This makes a newbie not want to even try. I expect I'll wait till the middle of the first week to go out and try my luck. Hopefully all you guys will be workin'!

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Turkeybuster
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby Turkeybuster » January 28th, 2010, 5:54 pm

It isn't all that bad and it will make a good hunter out of you so don't stay home sometimes you win sometimes you don't that is turkey hunting.
Years ago when I started to shoot competition skeet I was having a bad day and I guess it showed and a world champion shooter came over to me and in a nice way offered his advice. He said young man you have to learn to lose before you learn to win that I never forgot and he was right. I still think about that today and it helped me alot. Turkey hunting is no different so get out there and have fun win or loose. Good luck and be safe.
Jon
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swpatrkyhunter
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby swpatrkyhunter » January 29th, 2010, 6:22 am

Well, since there are not alot of posts about Pa birds here I have to throw my hat into the ring!
 
I do most of my hunting in Fayette county. And although I have seen alot of the same pressure in that area in certain spots there are still alot of areas where the pressure is not as bad. Problem is that the birds do alot of traveling in a day and run into hunters in other sections and they end up wary. One area I hunt is Quebec Run Wild area. It's about 6,000 acres that you can not drive through. You have to walk. Go in deep enough and the pressure lessens on the birds. As metioned in Everydays post one bog problem here is that hunters get an itch to run their calls before season starts. A couple years ago my buddy and I had been watching 3 large flocks for about 3 months in an area of state land that normaly did not have alot of hunters during the spring season. We had these birds rutine down pat. Then. About a week or so before opening day we went out and could here guys running calls. We decided to start the morning opening day somewhere else on some private land. Late morning that day we checked out that area and there were trucks everywhere. We saw a guy coming out of the woods and asked him things went that morning. He said that the birds never made a peep all day. We then told him that was probably in part to everyone and their brother running their calls before season. From the look on his face it looked as though he was one of those guys. Turkeys can be difficult no matter where you hunt them. with everyone getting into the sport wanting to know the do's and don'ts why is it that one of the most talked about don'ts gets ignored? Hey! I love to hear the sound of a tom gobbleing back at me as much as the next guy. But I wait till first morning to use a call to hear it. And there are a couple of vids out there that have Pa hunts in them. But they are few and far between. I love the landscape I have to hunt in Pa, and will always hunt here. But. And out of state hunt now and then is nice to!
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!

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Turkeybuster
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby Turkeybuster » January 29th, 2010, 12:13 pm

Well said SW I find in areas that are heavily pressured as you refered to hunting late in the third and fourth week can be productive. You will not hear many birds and they will be educated but you will not have the hunter interference.
Jon
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roughrider123
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby roughrider123 » February 25th, 2010, 6:45 pm

I would suggest getting back into gamelands at least 45 minutes from the truck. I rarely see guys out before the season listening at sunrise and never see guys 45 minutes back in a daybreak. Lots of road hunters and weekend guys. I have vacation the 1st. week and cannot wait till the Monday after opening day. I also think this is your best week to score.
 
Roughrider out [:D]

swpatrkyhunter
 
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RE: What turkey hunting is like in PA...

Postby swpatrkyhunter » March 2nd, 2010, 9:23 am

The one area I hunt where it is public land has some great hunting. There is a stream that runs right through the middle that I plan to float down to get to an area where few would tread that I know holds a nice flock every year. Only reason I never walked there in the morning was beacuse it was better than an hour hike over some rough ground that has difficult spots to navigate in the full daylight! But this year I have close access to a part of the stream where I can put a canoe in and just float down stream all quiet like. With all the snow this year I know for sure the stream will be deep enough to do this. I can't wait!
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!

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