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Advice for a new hunter

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by myFRAGisFUBAR, Mar 10, 2014.

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  1. myFRAGisFUBAR

    myFRAGisFUBAR Member

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    Hey everyone. I am looking to go turkey hunting for the first time this year. Nobody in my family goes, so this is a whole new adventure for me. Is there any advice that can be offered? I will take any that can be given. With no mentor, this is probably going to be a failed attempt, but I am determined to try! I have a few questions for you all. How often should I call, How many decoys should I take, or don I even need them? What is the best shot to use? Any information is helpful at this point. I will be using a mossberg 12 GA to hunt with. Thanks again for the information everyone!
     
  2. ACP230

    ACP230 Member

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    Check the regs. In MI there's a limit to how big the shot can be.

    I have hunted turkeys but other than the little bit of advice above I don't have much to offer. The birds always had my number.
     
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I don't normally use decoys. Partly because I hunt public land, but if used right they certainly do help. If you can pre scout and determine where they are located it helps a bunch. Early season, meaning the 1st day or week may bring them in quick with little calling. Later, after a gobbler has his harem he will answer your calls, but is unlikely to leave 4-5 hens to go looking for one. He is expecting a hen to come to him. Normal behavior is not for the gobbler to go to the hen.

    If I don't have any success early I may hunt mid season, but I've never killed one at that time. Again late in the season most of the hens are on a nest and no longer interested in gobblers. A gobbler is more likely to come to your calls at that time, but they are also pretty wise by then.

    Without knowing the terrain it is hard to say. On private land with little pressure you can really hunt more like deer. Just figure out their pattern, set up and ambush one. Often with no calling.

    I usually walk a series of old logging roads on public lands while listening for a gobbler. I find more success farther from the road than the other hunters are willing to walk and often end up walking 10-12 miles in a days hunting. After a few hunts I can usually identify the general areas where 3-4 hang out. I set up and offer a few calls. If I don't get any responses, or figure he just isn't going to come to my call that day, I'll move on down to where I know another is and repeat.

    Usually wait about 30 minutes with a call about every 10 minutes. If I get a reply I'll answer back quickly. If I continue to get replys I'll answer just enough to keep him interested. Once I know he is moving toward me I like to shut up and get ready for a shot. That could take 20-30 minutes, and they often circle around and come in from unexpected directions, so be aware.

    Sometimes you just have to be mobile. At times I've heard one, figured he isn't coming to my call, but can figure out his direction of travel. I've been able to move to another location ahead of the direction he is moving.

    Most folks use #4, #5, or #6. 4's hit harder, but have fewer pellets and thinner patterns. #6's have a denser pattern, but less energy per pellet. I've compromised on #5's but it probably doesn't matter. If I ran out and had to buy either of those 3 I'd be fine. I use 3" shells, but probably would be fine with 2 3/4". I've tried the 3 1/2" shells. No need for them and there is no turkey that I want to kill bad enough to deal with the recoil.

    Lots of folks buy the extra full aftermarket choke tubes. They may or may not help. Most do hold a little tighter pattern. I've tried them and usually just use the full choke on my gun. If taking realy long shots that is fine, but sometimes the shots can be quite close and you can be choked so tight you miss.
     
  4. myFRAGisFUBAR

    myFRAGisFUBAR Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the great info. I have a coworker that is willing to let me use their land. It is ~12 acres or so located in a valley with a small forrest off to the side of the property. I was going to try to scout it this week. From what he claims, there is a group of 15 or so moving together through his property daily around 8 am. Should there be a specific time of day to go after them?
     
  5. toiville2feathers

    toiville2feathers Member

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    All I would like to add is when it comes to calling a turkey, IMHO the most important thing is rhythm. If you not constant on the rhythm, you are imitating another turkey. That old tom needs to hear the same girl friend talking to him.
    Another thing is; They can hear a nite crawler going through wet leaves, they have super excellent hearing. When you call they know right where that sound is located, and that goes for any other sounds you make also.
    Good Luck, It is really a rush when it all comes together.
     
  6. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Turkey hunting can be frustrating. It seems some days they want to come in, others nothing you can do will work. My advice is if he's coming closer, keep calling like you were, if not, try something different. No two hunts are the same, which is why it is so addicting and so much fun.

    I've always used 3" #4 shot. We have a couple of wood stocked 500's in the safe and they've killed quite a few turkeys.

    Laphroaig
     
  7. mountain_man

    mountain_man Member

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    I am in the same situation that you are in, and I have been trying to figure out a good game plan for private land.
     
  8. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Finding where they roost REALLY helps put the odds in your favor. Know the path to your chosen spot so you can get in without flashlights if hunting a "roosting field". Another thing you might try is hunting creeks. Fields are great if you've got jakes and toms competing. But if there isn't a lot of competition for the toms or it's later in the season, 30-40 yards off a creek bank is a good place. It's an easy escape route should they get spooked. They can just fly to the other side. Kinda reminds me of an old joke about a chicken and a road.

    I shoot 3" #5's. But 4's and 6's will work fine. PATTERN YOUR GUN!!!!

    Besides excellent hearing, turkeys can see a flea walking on a pile of charcoal. But, their keen eyesight is based on movement, much like a deer.

    IF you go out there and get one on your first hunt, consider yourself lucky. I'm in no way doubting your abilities, but some things just are. They aren't some magical creature that is nearly impossible to kill. But then again, they kinda are. You can do everything right and they will just sense something is wrong and bug out. And it's not your fault. Mother Nature gave them survival instincts. The same 6th sense we have.

    Keep us informed on how the hunt goes. And prepare to either be discouraged or addicted. The latter can come from either a successful harvest, or a successful hunt (not the same thing).

    One more thing.... If you set up by a log or deadfall, keep an eye out for Copperheads. They will be coming out around that time and love to hang out around those laydowns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  9. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    Make sure you pattern your shotgun with the exact choke, ammo you intend to use, and probably sitting position as well. Make sure to get the proper recommended number of pellets in the area, or your equipment (or self) is no good for that range.
     
  10. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I like to use decoys if I'm using a bow, other wise I do just fine without them.

    Turkey must have water, so you'll almost always find them within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile form the source. Locating them is probably the easiest of task IMO. I'll stop every 1/4 mile or so and either gobble or use a cluck or putt. If I don't get a response, I let out a coyote howel to shock gobble them. Once you've gotten a gobble from him, don't continue to force him to gobble.

    As for calling, I call as little as necessary, call as softly as possible. If you've gotten a response, stop calling and just listen in between gobbles to see if he is closing the distance. If he is, just let him be until such if that he stops, then, and only then make a very soft couple of putts.

    And the best possible condition would be putting them to bed right around sun set. you can shock them at sun set, and when they gobble that is where they are going to be roosted for the night. Mark the spot and come back in the morning while it's still dark and get set up 50-75 yds, above the roost. Then wait until it is good and light before you bring them off the roost. And when you do, the first call you use is what I refer to as a tree call. It's when you just barely and softly scrape the call in one single continuous motion, it should be barely audible. Only do this one or two times, they will often just fly down right in front of you, or in your lap. So when bringing them down always have your shotgun up and shouldered, ready to shoot. Another little trick I use is I make a sound that mimics wing beats, this also gets them down off the roost.

    If one hangs up, don't start calling harder or louder, at this point silence is often more effective, along with some scraping of the leaves on the ground to mimic some birds feeding or dusting. In fact, don't ever call loud and hard, keep as light and minimal as possible. I've called birds in from over a mile away with only two or three very light calls. Kee Kee runs and all that exotic calling is non sense and has never been necessary for me, and I've killed more than 50 birds in my life, and successfully guided twice that number. Calling them in mid day is just as easy, if not a bit easier than early morning IMO. The way I see it is the hens have finished with them in the morning and now they are all alone and just walking around feeding and watering, so when they hear a hen,(you) they often come in fast and hot. So the key here is to be ready for them to bounce right in on you in a moments notice.

    Good luck and don't ever think of turkey as being smart. They have incredible vision and hearing, but they are dumber than a box of rocks. I have called a gobbler in before and managed to spook them, only to turn them around 2 or 3 minutes later just by changing my location by 50 yards or so.

    GS
     
  11. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

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    Check your regs....maybe some corn in a few places on his property would make a big difference.

    I have turkeys in the cabin area so it just depends on how much the snow has melted as the upper access road washed out last year and aint been repaired so I have an area that turkeys go to all by myself cuz others don not have access.
     
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Oh ya, they can be strutting right in front of you with things going great, but then one little bit of movement or anything that spooks them, and they will fly away like a covey of quail does. In other words, they are fast when taking flight, very fast. They make a popping sound, something similar to that of quail, when you hear that popping, they have been spooked, and are getting ready to fly.

    GS
     
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