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Old 04-24-2020, 07:23 AM   #1
Buckladd
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Turkeys 2020

Thank God itís almost turkey season. How is everyoneís gobbler situation looking? Iím seeing turkeys in a few of my spots Ė all woods, no farms Ė but havenít been able to pin down any gobblers yet. Iím going to check a trail camera this weekend.

Sadly, due to the virus situation, Iím going to miss the youth hunt for the first time in many years. Looks like this year it will be a family/household deal. On a positive note, DEC is offering a full online course for hunter ed and over 6,000 have taken it in just over a week. I prefer some in-person instruction at the range, but at least this is getting some kids set for turkey season.
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:12 AM   #2
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Thanks for kicking this off, Buckladd.

I'm having trouble finding sign in my neck of the woods. I read your article about the "run-and-gun" technique, which I plan to do, but was wondering what type of forest I should be doing that in.Should I be looking in hardwoods or softwoods? Thick spruce or open oak ridges?
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:23 AM   #3
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Thanks for kicking this off, Buckladd.

I'm having trouble finding sign in my neck of the woods. I read your article about the "run-and-gun" technique, which I plan to do, but was wondering what type of forest I should be doing that in.Should I be looking in hardwoods or softwoods? Thick spruce or open oak ridges?
I'm in the same boat you are. Given the fact we had a good mast crop last year, I'd start in any oaks or beeches that produced last fall. Especially if you've seen birds there in the past. I'll be doing the same thing in one of my hunting spots on state land where I keep seeing a lone hen. I also like to get up high early in the season and let loose with a box call. Sound travels, and it works both ways, until leaf cover takes over. I usually do that after sitting tight for a bit in the morning if I've had no action. You just have to be patient because the birds can come from a long way off.
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Old 04-24-2020, 11:39 AM   #4
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Awesome. Will try that in an oaky area where I've been seeing a hen by the road.
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Old 04-24-2020, 12:11 PM   #5
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Lots of turkeys here but I'm not in the dacks
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:32 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat you are. Given the fact we had a good mast crop last year, I'd start in any oaks or beeches that produced last fall. Especially if you've seen birds there in the past. I'll be doing the same thing in one of my hunting spots on state land where I keep seeing a lone hen. I also like to get up high early in the season and let loose with a box call. Sound travels, and it works both ways, until leaf cover takes over. I usually do that after sitting tight for a bit in the morning if I've had no action. You just have to be patient because the birds can come from a long way off.
Box calls are interesting once one gets good at using them. I have had good luck with a slate box call. Cooked the turkey in an oven bag.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:07 PM   #7
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My friend's son is taking his boy for the 1st time this weekend. They've been seeing toms regularly, so they're hoping for some action. I'm seeing way more birds this spring than last. Easy winter didn't hurt.
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Old 04-24-2020, 03:29 PM   #8
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My friend's son is taking his boy for the 1st time this weekend. They've been seeing toms regularly, so they're hoping for some action. I'm seeing way more birds this spring than last. Easy winter didn't hurt.
Often, predictability of a successful hunt is determined by timing. When the tom gets "ready" he will respond to almost any sounds including a door slam. Use camo, even on your gun stay hidden and don't overuse your call and they will strut right into range. Best of luck. Used to hunt in the early am and fish in the afternoon.
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Old 04-27-2020, 07:21 AM   #9
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Box calls are interesting once one gets good at using them. I have had good luck with a slate box call. Cooked the turkey in an oven bag.
A few years ago I was hunting in Western NY with a friend of mine on a small piece of public land. He's an expert caller, I'm not. We weren't hearing or seeing anything near us but we kept hearing a gobbler way off. I pulled out my box call, and let loose with 5-6 loud yelps. About 15 minutes later he was gobbling 100 yards away. My buddy finished calling him in and wound up killing him. If I'm not having any action, I let loose with the box call and wait. It's worked more than once.
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Old 04-27-2020, 08:25 AM   #10
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Have shot dozens over the years; however, I'm not into it these days. Advice to getting a turkey - obviously most important - go where you know they're around, either where you've seen them in fields or heard them in the woods.
If you can find a field where the farmer is regularly spreading manure - that's a turkey hot spot.
If you hunt a field, set back about 5 yards into the brush, next to a tree, something to cover movement; put some brush in front of you or camo netting.
If you're hunting in the woods, make sure you cover your movement and stay still; again, the use of camo netting or brush around you will help immensely.
Box call is easiest to master, just get the cadence of the calling sequence down by practicing a little, it's not that hard.
Make sure you're comfortable, bring some snacks and water; in case you have to sit a few hours it's all good; a turkey lounger or type of low slung lawn chair helps immensely.
I used a cheap foam hen decoy that I set about 15 yards away from me, stuff a black plastic bag inside the cavity to keep the body fuller.

If you call and hear a turkey respond, hopefully it will come in right away. If it doesn't; just be patient and call every 15 minutes or so. Somewhere in the little pea brain of that turkey, it will remember where your call came from and it will eventually wander over to check it out; it may take over a few hours for it to come in, but it will.

Here's where the being comfortable and limiting your movement comes into play, since you may have to wait a few hours, being in a turkey lounger and behind camo netting will keep you hidden until the turkey surprises you by popping out somewhere close to you.

I got many turkeys at first light, however, just as many between 10 and noon after waiting out a turkey that I heard earlier and taking brief naps and relaxing waiting for the turkey to show up.

Contrary to any magazine articles you read that suggest turkeys are geniuses(which is laughable to think about, let alone to write about) I will tell you they are stupid, and if a nice gobbler is around, you should be able to get it. The only thing that will mess you up is if another hunter is wandering around close to you in your area. Hopefully, this will not be the case. In any case be very careful, and best of luck to anyone who ventures out in May; hopefully the above advice from my experiences will help you.
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:25 AM   #11
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Also be very aware of which way you intend to shoot if a turkey comes in. Without a blind, taking a shot to your right side as a righthander (and vice versa) is difficult to pull off stealthily when the gobbler is 40 yards away and looking in your direction. I set up my decoys about 10 o'clock from me if I'm facing 12.

A few years ago, I set up my decoys and ended up moving around a bit to get comfortable and better my field of view. An hour later a hen and then a tom moved in towards the decoys which were now too far to my right. They split a little bit and she circled to my left side him to my right. She spotted me the second I tried moving to get a shot at the tom.
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Old 05-01-2020, 01:39 PM   #12
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Real interesting hunt this morning. I'd been scouting this week and had some birds pegged for this morning. Sure enough, they werenít there THIS morning. So, I slowly changed spots by about a quarter mile and called this guy right in within about ten minutes. He didnít gobble, just came up the trail clucking and looking for the hen, around 7:15 am. I popped him at 20 yards. He's got a 9-inch beard, 3/4-inch spots, but tail feathers like a jake. Still, I'd say he's a 2-year-old. After I shot, I sat there and listened to two others gobbling on a ridge I had just snuck around. I spooked a hen that was going towards them. Going after one of them toms tomorrow! I know of at least 8 or 10 others that got birds this morning in or close to the Adirondacks. 'Can't wait for tomorrow!
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Old 05-01-2020, 03:19 PM   #13
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Beautiful. The spurs are generally the best way to age the bird, so you are probably good at the approximate age. What are you shooting? I used to go with a Mossberg 835 with 3.5" mags. had to be careful to make sure there were no birds behind what I was aiming at, as the 3.5" mag would put them down instantly at 40-50 yards every time.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:17 PM   #14
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Beautiful. The spurs are generally the best way to age the bird, so you are probably good at the approximate age. What are you shooting? I used to go with a Mossberg 835 with 3.5" mags. had to be careful to make sure there were no birds behind what I was aiming at, as the 3.5" mag would put them down instantly at 40-50 yards every time.
Remington 870 Express mag w/Winchester Longbeard No. 6, 3 inch mag. Have some 3.5's in No. 5 but I'm not big on long range shots. Made a few, missed a few. Don't like 'em. This pattern is solid inside of 40 yards, but the No. 5's have a better pattern at longer ranges with this gun. This hunt was more about the call, which was made by a friend from Chestertown: https://www.facebook.com/NortheastLivingLights/
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Old 05-02-2020, 12:14 PM   #15
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Those calls look beautiful. Is the wood walnut?

Also, I shoot the Winchester High Velocity 3.5 in #4 loads. These pattern nicely in my gun with the choke that came with it. Close or not, I like to put them down: hate to see a bird flopping around or running away. The use of a low power scope; I think mine is a 1.5 - 4 power, really helps.

Hope you are able to get your second bird soon, good luck
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:13 PM   #16
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Nice bird. Two days of no turkey talk in the area that I'm hunting. Also, very few shots heard. I talked to a couple different hunters and they said the same.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:19 PM   #17
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Hearing a lot of hunters cuss about henned-up birds. I worked a tom in three times Saturday, but he would not come out of the woods and into the small clearing I had my decoys in. I think he wanted the hen to come to him. He'll come around, if someone else doesn't get him first.

Sunday I went up on the deer hunting mountain. Heard a few far-off gobbles at first light, then it rained, and I didn't hear anything after that. Did the old run-and-gun, it was a good morning despite it being quiet. Back at it later this week. Good luck guys, and gals!
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:46 AM   #18
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Missed a giant this morning.

I finally heard some gobbles while out fishing on Sunday. Went to that spot this morning and posted up, used a box call, then 20 minutes later used a slate call. 10 minutes after that, I heard a gobble about 50 yards away, over a little knoll that I had walked over on the path on my way in. Waited 15 minutes, used slate call again--nothing. Waited another 15, still nothing. I figured I scared it off with novice calling, and I had to come home and remote work, so I got up and started walking down the path.

I got 50 yards, came down over the knoll, and standing there was the biggest turkey I've ever seen, 15 yards away. I saw it before it saw me. It was hung up right where I had heard it. It crashed off through the trees and flew away.

How long should I wait before I go back, if at all?
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:55 AM   #19
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You can go back out in the same general area today. Turkeys are not smart; you will only have your chances diminished if other hunters are wandering near you. Just make sure you sit still where you set up and are well camoflauged. Being comfortable and still are extremely important, see my notes above.
If you hear a gobble close by, call very softly on the box call or the slate call or whatever call you are using. Don't call too much. If you can't use a mouth call, one of those push button small egg shaped calls will enable you to call softly with very little movement.
Be careful and Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:44 PM   #20
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How long should I wait before I go back, if at all?
My guess is that bird was simply waiting for you (the hen) to come to him. That's how it happens in the natural world. Go back ASAP and try a hen deke, maybe a jake with it, and try to get close when he's on the roost. Give him a visual and keep your calling conservative like you did this morning. I hope you get him!
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