Talking turkey for newbies


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Fat_46
February 8, 2012, 10:44 AM
After 5 years I finally got drawn for MN spring turkey. I'll be hunting mixed forest/farmland where I've deer hunted for years. I'm pretty familiar with the area and have seen turkeys every year while deer hunting. That probably means I'll see lots of deer while turkey hunting!

I've got a leafy suit, and just picked up a vest and a Quaker boy Hurricane box call. I've also been watching a bunch of videos trying to get my calls to sound similar. I'll be buying a few decoys - tom, hen, and maybe a jake as well.

I also think I'll pick up a slate call.

My questions here are threefold:

How do I set up the decoys? I know I need to keep them in shotgun range, but I'm not certain if there is a pattern I should put them in.

How many calls do I need?

In addition to the leafy suit, should I look into a blind of some sort? I have a blind I use for deer, but its very big and bulky to carry, and the majority of turkey hunting resources suggest "run-n-gun" is a better way to get after the active turkeys.


Thanks very much in advance - I do truly appreciate and respect the opinions and suggestions of the members here.

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jrdolall
February 8, 2012, 10:56 AM
I have been hunting Eastern turkeys for as long as I can remember and have been fooled more than I have been successful. My limit in AL is 5 gobblers per year and I have only done that a few times. The decoy setup is not really critical IMO. The main object of the decoy/decoys is to get the Toms attention focused away from the hunter. Once the Tom sees the decoy, especially the hen, he will focus on that bird. A jake or tom decoy can bring him in faster and get some hilarious results if you are willing to wait and watch. I use several different mouth calls and a box. I suck with a slate but they are excellent and have good carry. The mouth call allows you to call without moving your hands which is key when the tom is in sight. I only use a blind to hunt mid morning birds since the early birds are, as you said, run and gun. I don't personally care for ambushing turkeys but love to hear them gobble from the roost. The key for me is not to call too much and to be patient. I can't tell you how many times I have been calling and given up after 20 minutes. When I stand up there is a turkey 30 yards away that I never knew was there because he shut up and came in silent. Good luck!

MCgunner
February 8, 2012, 11:14 AM
I went once, got a tom. I got one of those push button box calls and it worked. Tape it to the forearm and try not to tape it too much (ruin the resonance). Get some camo cloth, find a good spot with a tree to lean against and put your shotgun up on shooting sticks and go to it, wrap up in the camo cloth as sort of a blind, or that's what I did.

I thought I'd try those diaphragm calls, bought a set, but I gag on those things. Not for me, but then, I don't have turkey on my place, YET, (saw a flock about 3 miles down the road this year on the LaSalle ranch, kinda hopeful at this point), so I really haven't gotten to into it. One cannot hunt turkey in Texas without wads of money and they just ain't worth what they cost IMHO. I'm a waterfowler, anyway. :D

natman
February 8, 2012, 01:53 PM
Don't worry about the blind. You don't need it - as long as you can sit still for long periods of time. If you're a fidgeter, you might want one.

I'd skip the decoys too, at least at first. Sometimes they are effective, but sometimes if the gobbler sees a "hen" he expects her to come to him and stops coming closer. Keep it simple at the beginning.

Best of luck.

Skyshot
February 8, 2012, 02:49 PM
I'd skip the blind also, but you can use the decoys if you set them in a spot where an approaching gobbler won't get to look at them long. Example, don't put them out in the middle of a field were they're easily visible from a distance. A smart gobbler will hang up if he can't get the hen to come to him. I like to use decoys on old logging roads. Gobblers like to strut on these old roads. I use two hens and a jake(or gobbler). Place the jake or gobbler where you can shoot! I prefer to use decoys a little later in the season when more hens are nesting. I use slate and box and mouth calls. Just learn the basics in the calls, the yelp,the purr and the cut. You don't have to be a champion caller you just need to learn the woods and area well. If you get a bird gobbling at you and he is coming your way, I like to shut up and make him find me. People will say don't call to much or you need to call more or do this or do that. I will say only that particular gobbler will dictate how you should call and you can only know that by experience. I've been chasing birds since 1973 and can tell you what can go wrong will go wrong. But there are those days when that old gobbler will come at just about anything he hears. It's a chess game and if like a challenge you'll love it. Good Luck!

jrdolall
February 8, 2012, 05:25 PM
I like to go with someone who is really good with a call and watch how the birds react because I am not that good. I have come to believe that, unless you make a serious mistake while calling, the bird will either come or not based on what is in his mind. I have had them literally come running across a wide open field after my first yelp and almost run into the end of my gun before I was even on the ground good and I have worked them for an hour to have them hang up at 75 yards and gobble for 20 minutes then just disappear. I once pulled my truck into an old barn and walked 50 yards into the woods. As soon as I called I heard two birds gobble across the pasture exactly opposite of the hardwood bottom I expected them to be in. I called again and they gobbled again. I looked out into the pasture and those two birds were running within 20 yards of the barn where I just parked. I had to dive against a 3" pine tree, no mask or gloves, and I shot a tom at 15 yards. $3,000 worth of cammo and firearm and I could have probably killed him in jeans and a white tshirt with a long stick. Turkey hunting is as exciting as it gets if they are gobbling and as boring as it gets if not.

bejay
February 18, 2012, 07:35 PM
would buy some mouth calls and get used to them being in your mouth and learn to use them.
usually set up 1 or 2 hen decoys about 20-25 yards away in a field or an opening ideally you want them to be seen easily.
while locator calls do not always work might be worth having an owl call to try, when you can get them to gobble at first sign of daylight it can give you an better idea on where to setup closer to them before they will come down from the roost.

303tom
February 20, 2012, 11:15 AM
I have ONE tip for you. Turkeys can see very, very, very, very, very GOOD......................

osprey176
February 24, 2012, 03:38 AM
I've hunted turkeys for many years,be careful,it gets in your blood. The most important part of the hunt is to find the birds.Start early,the night before is best.Use an owl or crow call after the sun is below the horizon.Walk and call,or ride a bike to cover more ground.When you get a response,a gobble,you know where the turkey will be in the morning.He can't see well at night,and will stay in his roost tree.You can sneak in close,say 75 yards and set up your blind or hide in the dark.Sneak in very quietly before light the next morning and wait until the songbirds start chirping,Then call softly once or twice and wait.If the stars align,he will drop nearly in your lap and you will be hooked for life!Good luck.

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