Terrain

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Tom21inNM
 
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Terrain

Postby Tom21inNM » January 10th, 2012, 2:12 pm

This one I am throwing out to all, as another of the Newbie Gobbler hunters, I am preparing for my spring hunt already. Getting calls in Shape, practicing with my shot gun on set ups and line of sight etc.., thinking about where I will hunt. Ive been watching the Hunting channels for nuggets of wisdom, reading books, absorbing everything I can, here is my issue and in effect my question. Here in New Mexico, specially the Northen part, we have very little is any pasture land, no flat lands on the edge of farm fields to set up on, very little river bottom land to hunt. What little we do have is private and or too close to homes to hunt on. So I am stuck with mountain gobbler hunting, rough terrain, Tall Ponderosas, and at lower elevations it scatters into Pinon and Juniper. Lots of scrub brush and too much crunchy hiking to make run and gun effective.

How many of you all have hunted this type of terrain and what is your strategy in it? Do you look for a certain type of area to set up on? What do I look for in these areas in the way of feeding places for Hens? I am seriously looking at buying a ground blind this year and going to a place I know there are birds and just setting up on the edge of the tree line. Any and all suggestions will not only be welcome nut most likely used.
Yeah my names Tom, guess I am a bit of a Turkey myself!

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Treerooster
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Treerooster » January 11th, 2012, 11:46 am

I hunt the Ponderosa Pine hills a lot for Merriam’s. I have hunted once in NM and several years in SW Colo, but it was a long time ago. I hunt more up north now in the states of SD, WY, MT and NW Neb. So with that in mind….

The mountainous Ponderosa Pine habitat is a beautiful place to hunt turkeys. Just being in that type of country is a great experience, and hunting turkeys there makes it all the more special.

I like to always have a box call with me. Wind is usually a daily occurrence and you can call pretty loud on a box when needed. 15 to 20mph winds are just another day at the office for Merriam’s turkeys. When the wind gets up around 30 though, look for them in areas sheltered from the wind.
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Sign is very important to me when hunting Merriam’s in the mountains. They tend to roam a lot and fresh sign can tell you they are somewhere close by. Tracks and scat are what I pay attention to most, but you may also find a few feathers. Many areas don’t reveal tracks too readily so just a couple of tracks will get my attention.
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Roosting is important to me because if I find a flock I know where to start in the morning. A I said before the Merriam’s I hunt tend to roam, they can be here today and ½ mile or even a mile over there tonight. I get to a high point at roost time to try and hear birds gobble. If I hear some I head towards them to get a better fix on their location. If I haven’t heard anything I use a coyote howler when I think the birds are in the trees already. Merriam’s usually respond well to a coyote howler, especially when they are safely in a tree. If I still have not located any birds by morning I get up high well before dawn where I can hear and listen for some gobbles. I may use a box call to start a bird if they are not gobbling on their own. Merriam’s gobble very regular in the morning, and the evening too for that matter.

I like to camp “in country” and I use a wall tent . The tent has plenty of room to move around in and has a woodstove for heat. I eliminate a lot of travel time and expense since I don’t stay in a motel. The woodstove makes the tent warm and comfortable when the weather turns for the worse.
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I rarely if ever use a blind in Merriam’s country. I’d rather be more mobile and find the birds first, and then get in position to try and call a gobbler in. I have binos with me and will glass for birds whenever I top a ridge or can just see a good ways. I find it difficult to pattern the Merriam’s turkey, they just aren’t regular enough to count on them being in the same area day after day, at least not where I hunt them. I usually have a GPS with me and a map and compass. Topo maps help me move around the area more efficiently. The compass doesn’t have any batteries to fail.

I have also done a backpack type hunt for Merriam’s. That is an adventure in itself.
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So…whether you do a pack-in hunt.
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Hunt them in good weather.
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Or lousy weather.
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Remember to enjoy the WHOLE experience…THE END
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Are you PUMPED yet? :D
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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Bobbyparks
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Bobbyparks » January 11th, 2012, 12:52 pm

[quote="TreeroosterI Are you PUMPED yet? :D[/quote]


Don't know about Tom21inNM but BobbyinGa certainly is!!!!l

Nice way of laying it out......think we should start calling you Jeremiah Johnson.

In regards to the 4 places you named together.....It is all about the ground you walk on isn't it?
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Tom21inNM
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Tom21inNM » January 11th, 2012, 1:31 pm

Man that is some GREAT stuff, Yes hunting in Nortthen NM is so beautiful you can easily get distracted. Weve got a whole different set of problems here dont we, Always windy, never flat, and I am laughing at the Snow picture. I went out early MAY last year, camped Friday night and did some scouting, saw fresh track, scat etc..., went to bed early woke up to light Flurries, by the time I set out there was 3 inches, in an hour there was almost a foot and it was high time to beat it. Getting stuck was not in the plans, funny thing the weather the night before had called for lows in the 40's warming to maybe 60 by noon. HAH. and this was May.
Yeah my names Tom, guess I am a bit of a Turkey myself!

Tom21inNM
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Tom21inNM » January 11th, 2012, 1:32 pm

And oh, Heck yes I am pumped, Arpil cant come soon snough for me.
Yeah my names Tom, guess I am a bit of a Turkey myself!

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Treerooster
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Treerooster » January 11th, 2012, 10:54 pm

Bobbyparks wrote:In regards to the 4 places you named together.....It is all about the ground you walk on isn't it?


You got that right.

Every season I find myself planning a hunt...or 2...in one of those areas just so I can get back to roam those hills.
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

charlie elk
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby charlie elk » January 12th, 2012, 8:28 am

Very nice treerooster, you got me pumped........
Thanks.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

Relicminer
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Relicminer » January 21st, 2012, 10:06 am

Man that is a great question! I live in Eastern Kentucky, and that means all Mountianous hunting. We have thousands of miles of old logging, strip, gas and graveyard roads that allow us to travel via ATV to just about anywhere we want to, truly a riders paradise. Once we leave our atv's the hunting gets rough. Terrian is mostly straight up and down so if we can't call a bird to us, manuvering is almost impossible. We try to stay as high as we can because it is difficult to call a bird in downhill, I think its the escape factor. Anyway your hunting situation is our daily reality... Scounting is our best friend stay up the the birds. We have so much timber you have to follow the flocks and there feeding lines. They could be anywhere around here. We have to put ourselves close to them and just hope there gobblin'. Roosting a bird is difficult because of the eminse area to cover and the difficulty of the terrian. The only advantage we have is atv's as far as terrian goes, but if we use them to much the birds shut up... catch 22. Anyway good luck and happy hunting!

Tom21inNM
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Tom21inNM » January 23rd, 2012, 2:30 pm

Relicminer, Sounds like you have the same issues we have here out West. What I wouldnt give for a nice farm field with a pond on one end and a flat hike in. The spot I hunt, has some good logging roads to navigate to find birds, but once you park e prepared to hike, and at 6000 feet elevation plus (can get as high as 8000) walking around, winded does not even describe it.
Yeah my names Tom, guess I am a bit of a Turkey myself!

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Gobblerman
 
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Re: Terrain

Postby Gobblerman » January 24th, 2012, 10:36 am

Really like the pictorial and comments! Here's my take on hunting NM Merriams (and others) based on my experience with these birds. It may be slightly off topic to the thread title, but I am of the opinion that we should get the "cart before the horse" in this discussion.
Quick and simple method of hunting spring gobblers in NM (and a lot of other places):
1) Get maps of the area you plan to hunt,...BLM has maps for all over the state, Forest Service has maps of FS lands,....these maps show land status (public/private), road systems, topography (on some), and terrain features (especially important is reliable water locations...turkeys in dry climates will always be within a mile or so of reliable water sources)
2) Most Merriams turkeys in NM live within National Forest boundaries (and there are lots of Forest Service lands in NM). Water and roosting habitat are the main considerations, so start looking where there is water and large trees. Typically, this will mean beginning your search from about 7000 ft. and higher.
3) Finding gobblers (whether it be before the season while scouting, or when you arrive for your hunt): Key component....get yourself a loud locator call (crow calls work well). Merriams gobblers respond well to locators,...both in the evening after they fly up to roost, and in the morning from first light until they fly down (evening gobbling is not always a sure thing, but morning gobbling is). Begin your search by driving the roads in the area you suspect there are turkeys. In the evening, roost gobbling will start about fifteen minutes after the sun goes down, and will last for about thirty minutes,...until it reaches full darkness. In the morning, gobblers will often respond to locator calls at the first hint of daylight and gobble well until they fly down,...generally when it gets full daylight.
So finding gobblers is usually just a matter of covering as much country as you can during those roost gobbling periods,..and blowing your locator call. If there are gobblers around, they will often respond in the evening, and they will almost definitely respond in the morning.
4) How to use your locator call properly: Proper locator call use is an art in itself. I emphasize that whatever locator you choose (crow, owl, gobble tube, peacock, etc.), it must be loud. Gobblers are "wired" to gobble in the spring, and loud noises "shock" them into gobbling involuntarily (hence the term "shock gobbling"). The louder the noise, the more likely they are to shock gobble at it. That is why we will often hear a gobble at any time of day after a really loud sound,...like thunder, or a sonic boom, etc. I know a couple of people that use those little C02-operated blow horns,...and they swear by them.

It is important to note that gobblers react very quickly when shock gobbling,...so you never want to blow your locator too long. A couple of quick blasts on the crow call is all you want to do,...and then listen quietly for a response gobble. If you honk away on your locator for several seconds, you may well miss a long-distance gobble that was elicited after the first note of your call. Short and loud,..that is the key to effective locator use.

Anyway,...back to the point. In our Merriams country,...and in lots of other places I have hunted (but not all), using effective locator tactics will find you more gobblers to hunt, and in less time, than any other tactic you can use. Sure, looking for turkey sign and visual evidence of birds should be done, as well,...but if you want to know where that bird is going to be in the morning when you are going to go set up on him, learn to use your locator calls.

...And the last point,...although locator calls are extremely effective, they can be over-used, too. Gobblers can become suspicious and intolerant of locator call use if it is overdone. Use them judiciously.
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