Approach for Hunting a New Area

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Approach for Hunting a New Area

Postby Gobblerman » January 19th, 2009, 2:45 pm

Sorry, guys, I had to skip out on ya' for a couple of days.  We've got a cabin up at 8000 ft. in some of the best Merriams country in NM (some of you future Merriams hunters might want to take note of that comment).  My son was up there at the end of last week and reported that it appeared we had a water line leak.  Not one to "look a gift excuse in the mouth" to get up to the mountains , I had to run up there to check things out over the weekend (tough job but somebody's got to do it), thus missing out on the weekend exchanges here.  (I am happy to report that the problem was nothing serious and has been rectified)
 
....I am also happy to report that there are still turkeys residing in the nearby vicinity there.  Of course, I really wasn't looking for turkeys,...I was hard at work the whole time....but there they were, and I suppose I had to take time to look at them....but I really was hard at work the entire time, you know....
 
...At any rate, I inadvertantly saw the turkeys....four flocks as I recall, although I really wasn't looking that closely....didn't really count them,...somewhere in the vicinity of 117 birds... plus or minus zero.  After all, I was hard at work, you know, and when you're working hard, you don't have time to notice turkeys.....
 
Oh yeah,....more on the real subject....coming up!
 
Jim
 
 

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DeanoZ
 
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RE: Approach for Hunting a New Area

Postby DeanoZ » January 21st, 2009, 11:11 am

Having evaluated the area from the map, I will start at the place that I think affords the best chance of hearing gobbles. I will listen patiently at that location until the skies start to lighten, and hopefully I will hear one or more "volunteer" gobblers on the roost.

 
Gobblerman, i'm new to Turkey hunting and I've heard quite a few here toss out the us of Topos and maps.  I'm quite familiar with their use but not as it pertains to locating Turkeys.  can you provide more detail as to what exactly in terms of terrain features you are looking for in locating Gobberls.  I've heard streams and water sources as well as ridges.  Are their other features i.e. saddles, ledges, etc that are more prone to Turkey habittas and roosting?  Thanks!

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Approach for Hunting a New Area

Postby Gobblerman » January 21st, 2009, 1:43 pm

First of all, welcome to the forum, DeanoZ.  There are many here that know much about turkey hunting, and the exchange of information and ideas that takes place on this site is often of great value to both new and experienced hunters.  Please continue to participate.  I will try to answer your question from my own perspective, but I hope others here will give their opinions on this, as well. 
 
Topo and aerial photo maps can be of great value to hunters just about anywhere and with any game, but their value in any given locale is predicated upon the hunter being somewhat familiar with the turkeys, their habitat, and their use of that habitat in general terms.  I have stated before that all turkeys and turkey hunting country is not created equally.  That is, the things that I would look for on a map in regards to hunting the Merriams subspecies in southern New Mexico are not necessarily the same things that you might be looking for the subspecies you would be pursuing in your area. 
 
Fundamentally, however, the keys to  finding turkeys in any area are the presence of four things....food, water, cover, and roosting habitat.  In order to solve the puzzle on where to find turkeys by using a map, you must have an idea of the importance of each of those factors in the specific area you are researching.  Here in New Mexico, the key ingredients in that puzzle generally are the presence of water and roosting habitat, so when I am looking at maps of an area, I am focusing on those two things first.  In your hunting country, those things may be less relevent. 
 
At any rate, you must have some sort of starting "bank of information" regarding the turkeys in the area or region you hunt in order to make educated guesses on where you might find birds in similar areas that you might be looking at on a map.  
 
Having qualified my comments with all of the above jibberish, and to finally get down to answering your question, the key elements I will look for on a topo in most instances are water courses with wide bottoms that would indicate the presence of openings or farmlands (some topo maps will show thick vegetation indicated in green shading and open areas as not having any shading), and also a good mosaic of cover and small to medium size openings (also indicated with shading).  In country that has some relief to it (mountains, ridges, saddles, etc.), as you pointed out, those areas are often prone to turkey use, but once again, having some sort of knowledge base related to "comparable" habitat is the key to making sound decisions on how to approach a hunt in any given area.
 
 I actually prefer to have aerial photos (or take a look on Google Earth) in addition to topo maps if I can get them.  They make things much more clear in terms of what is actually "on the ground" than just having topo maps does. 
 
(Gee, I hope some of this makes sense) 
 
Jim
 
 
 
 

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DeanoZ
 
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RE: Approach for Hunting a New Area

Postby DeanoZ » January 22nd, 2009, 8:38 am

Thanks Gobblerman...yes what you said does make sense and certainly their habitat is realtive to the area conditions.  being that I live and hunt in the Northeast and yu are in the soutwest its probably a fair bet they have different habits.  I'm going to pick up a few books specific to hunting turkey in the North East and see what i can gleen from that...if anyone has any suggested books for turkey hunting in the northeast I'm open to suggestions.  Thanks again for the warm welcome!  I'll definately be sticking around [:)]

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