Decision Time: Loan Star

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Brian Lovett
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Decision Time: Loan Star

Postby Brian Lovett » December 8th, 2010, 5:34 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, and then see how things actually turned out.

Loan Star

Texas tends to spoil you. It's a marvelously beautiful, independent land, of course, but it's much more for turkey hunters. It's the fantasy camp where lust-crazed Rio gobblers trip over their beards running to your yelping and cutting.

Well, usually. You'll find exceptions now and then ... like a trip I took there in April 2006. A good friend and I had reunited to slap our tags on some Lone Star longbeards, and even when I missed a bird the first day, we weren't worried. Hey, it was Texas, right?

Wrong. The next day brought shocking failure. The third almost broke our spirits. And when we whiffed on our fly-down hunt the fourth morning, it was desperation time.

Birds were answering our calling, but they always seemed to lose interest and fade away. And of course, the open mesquite-covered landscape made maneuvering and repositioning next to impossible.

Another friend had killed a gobbler from a portable blind near a large, open flat, and he offered to take us there and loan us the blind. That might make sense. If birds weren't acting right, it might be wise to find an area they frequent and wait them out. But doggone it, this was Texas. You're not supposed to sit endlessly and wait them out as if you were hunting Easterns back home. You're supposed to yelp a lot, locate birds, set up on birds and then kill birds with alarming frequency.

With one afternoon left, my buddy and I had to decide between a sit-and-wait strategy and our favored cutt-and-run tactics.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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Cut N Run
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RE: Decision Time: Loan Star

Postby Cut N Run » December 8th, 2010, 9:27 am

With two of you hunting, I'd probably have one sit and one run & gun. The odds would be better if both tactics were employed.

Never having hunted Texas, I can only guess.

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RE: Decision Time: Loan Star

Postby Bobbyparks » December 8th, 2010, 9:31 am

Like you said, it's Texas and most of the time the birds are suicidal.

Because you and I probably go to Texas for the same reasons part of which is to enjoy the more agressive side of turkey hunting, I would not hunt out of the blind.

I believe would continue to troll around slowly cranking on a box call and work my way to an area that I could set up and catch them going to roost.

Because I have had good luck in the afternoons setting up in area I'm familiar with, calling perodically, and eventually hearing a bird I might try that in the early part of the afternoon. Some have sounded off pretty close and come in and others I that I heard at a distance I took off after.

Usually the Texas bird that gobbles in the afternoon will be more cooperative
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RE: Decision Time: Loan Star

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » December 8th, 2010, 9:46 am

I would relate back to my tournament bass fishing circut days, where you hit the most active fish first and then settled in on your honey hole for the big ones. I would find out from your friend about what time of the day he filled his tag, with knowing that I would stay to the cause and work your best area birds first and if they didn't want to play, I would work my way back to the blind and finish the day out. Some days with turkeys you have to do what you normaly wouldn't do even if it makes no sense. [:)]

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RE: Decision Time: Loan Star

Postby Gobblerman » December 9th, 2010, 2:09 pm

I'm sure I always get a very befuddled look on my face when I read about how easy Texas Rios are supposed to be.  I have found them to be the most difficult of all of the subspecies for me to entice.  I suppose my problem may be that I always hunt Texas right at the start of the season there, which I have been told many times is the worst time to try to hunt them.  It may also be compounded by the fact that I have never hunted a property there that had lots of birds, mainly due to the fact that my hunts have always been gratis hunts for hunt exchanges here in New Mexico.  Regardless of the reasons for my failure, it is, nonetheless, a fact of my Texas turkey hunting experience.
I have hunted Rios in Texas for probably fifteen years.  It took me six years to kill my first bird there, although some of that was due to misfortune and bonehead stunts on my part that, to this day, still leave me shaking my head in disbelief.  Adding things up, I believe my total bag of Texas Rios to date is eight, or maybe nine, gobblers.  I have never killed more than one in a year, although some of that poor performance has been by choice. 
I suppose the purpose of my confessions is to suggest to those that think Rios should always be a cake-walk that there are definitely circumstances and times when they will be difficult, if not impossible.  In the scenario presented, I say...hunt the way you like to hunt.  If that is sitting and waiting in a blind, then go for it....if it is running and gunning....then let 'r rip.  I can tell you from years of personal experience that I have tried both on those Texas birds more times than I want to ever admit to.  Sometimes, even in the best of circumstances, with moody gobblers, it is just not going to make any difference.

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