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Enter by February 22 Experience A Successful Turkey Hunt With Bearpaw Outfitters

Author Topic: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!  (Read 1430 times)

Offline Heartsblood

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Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« on: May 23, 2017, 11:11:16 AM »
Haven’t been turkey hunting since 2011. I started playing music again and mostly, my schedule is the night life. I’ve played in 3 bands and done 125 shows in the last 4 3/4 years.



I’ve only gotten out to do some sporadic fishing, ducks and grouse hunting. But I’ve missed the turkey woods, greatly.

Finally occurred to me that I just need to make it happen. Get. Out. There.

I am most familiar with the Teanaway and have taken a coupla birds there. The last gobbler I shot was in gmu 121 in 2011. After being invited up by Machias, he was nice enough to call in a nice tom for me.





I decided after a coupla weeks of kicking bushes in the Teanaway this season, that I wanted to go where I know there are more birds. Really my only observation after 2 weekends of hiking with a shotgun in the 335 were that I felt the birds were still not up higher in elevation like I am used to. Which means private land. Which I have no access to.  I barely even saw any sign – no tracks, feathers, poop. I heard one lone gobbler about 2 miles away across a river and on the adjacent mountain. He gobbled 3 times.

So I emailed Fred and told him I was going to try the NE part of the state and was eyeballing a coupla different areas. Asked him his thoughts. He gave me some ideas and off I went. I have always been pretty decent at following directions.

I will say that I am not used to hunting  “checker board” parcels – public/private/public/private…. King me! I am used to having more land to cover than I can walk in a few days. So it’s a different strategy for sure. But I was seeing lots of birds, still in flocks in the meadows/grassy farms. Some sign a bit higher up but not super fresh.





I found one tract of BLM land that was at the same elevation as the farms and actually bordered one in the far corner.  Got out there early and was shocked that my hunch payed of – there was a flock in that corner. Now all I gotta do it get them to come to me over here on the public land side of the fence.  :rolleyes:
It was right about then that I realized that I had either lost my hen decoy or it had fallen out in my truck. So I decided to sit down and watch the birds – see what they do. Maybe call a little bit. I only used a diaphragm  call this season. Sorry – mouf call. And I only really call maybe every 20-30 minutes unless I am hearing hens and gobbling. Mostly, it’s just a quick series of “here I am” hen yelps  - 3 to 4 and listen and maybe 5-6 more. And that’s it for the better part of an hour.

The flock consisted of one tom, 4-5 hens, and 8 jakes. I did get the tom to gobble a coupla times. At one point I was charged by the jakes who, upon coming to about 60 yards from me on the public land, stopped and looked at me sitting there – this weird bush that was making turkey noises. It was surreal. I had my gun up, bead drawn. 60 yards? It was like a Disney cartoon or a meercat documentary – 8 jakes all peering at me in a little cluster like a fan opening up. I just didn’t feel comfortable trying at that distance and they were so tightly grouped I probably woulda wounded at least one of them. They meandered off eventually. They seemed to like the agitated putting coupled with some sharp yelping. I turned them a coupla times but they got bored and left. That was pretty fun. Although I spent the next hour second guessing myself.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. My butt was sore and falling asleep and I hadda get rid of some coffee. I didn’t see any birds in the field. Screw it. I’m getting up. Just stood up, butt pad flapping and brushing bushes as I stepped around the back side of my tree, and relieved myself. As soon as I started, I heard some putts. Getting louder, agitated. “Really? Right now? Wtf??” I finished up and just noisily came back around and sat down. I see two birds coming thru the brush towards me making all kindsa racket. I raise my gun. They come out of the brush on a dead run at 30 yards. I rush my shot. Miss! They fly/run off. All the other birds in the field flee. Busted….

Later that week, I message Fred and relay my experience and ask what I coulda done different and what I ought to do when I go back the following weekend. He just encourages me, tells me get back out there. Says the hens will likely be slipping the gobblers later in the morning and that’s probably a good bet as to when I might find a lonely tom. I’ve also read that a bunch on the forum. I get it. Makes sense.

So I do. I get back out there. As I’m walking in I hear a coupla gobblers firing off near the NW corner of the tract. But the meadow where my flock was is located on the SW corner. I decide to try and get as close to the gobbling as possible. I eventually run out of territory – I see the “posted” signs and fences. Unfortunately the gobbling is off the property. I am guessing there are two toms still on the roost. They aren’t moving but are making lots of noise. Some hens are also chiming in just off property as well.

Screw it. I’m gonna throw down my deke (yes, I brought one this time. Go me.) and do some calling.

Here’s the thing. And I see this asked about often on the forum. You go where you know there are birds. You scout until you feel that you are in an area with birds. You bring your gun while scouting because anything can happen. But. If you know there are birds, if you hear them – go after them. Period.

So I heard them and called to them. Tepid response at best. But I put it in their minds that there was another hen, me, over here on the public side of the tract, and if they wanted me, that’s where I would be.

They came off the roost and went straight to those real hens. Or maybe those hens went to them and they went off up the valley away from me. Whatevs. I decided to relocate to the corner where the birds were last week. I set up under the exact same tree. Brushed it up a little bit. Set my decoy out and sat. Did a few yelps and listened. There were birds in the meadow. They never showed too much interest in me. The tom gobbled once or twice. They jakes did their bratty infighting and ran around a bit. A parade of white tails walked by my “spread”  all morning. A lame coyote limped thru. A ruffed grouse or two drummed away. I did my sporadic calling all morning. And periodically, I would here gobbling up the valley from the NW section. Maybe it seemed like they were getting closer? Yeah. I think?

10am – 50 yards away a gobble erupts scaring the b-jaysis outta me. Holy crap! Two toms from the NW direction wandering towards my decoy. One went behind a tree and I raised my 870. He came around again. Boom.





I am convinced, that those two toms were the same ones I heard in the early morning – 5am. They heard me in close, because I went to them. Even tho’ they didn’t want me first thing, they wanted me at 10 am. And I had put it in their heads that I existed, and I was nearby. All morning.
Good times. Glad to be back in it.  :)



"Ting-a-ling! Ting-a-ling!"

Online bobcat

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2017, 12:01:13 PM »
Great story! Glad you finally got back out in the woods!

Offline Heartsblood

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2017, 01:29:26 PM »
Great story! Glad you finally got back out in the woods!

Me too! Thanks!  :)
"Ting-a-ling! Ting-a-ling!"

Offline lokidog

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2017, 02:49:46 PM »
 :tup:

Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2017, 02:57:06 PM »
way to get it done.   :tup:

Offline Polo

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 07:49:08 PM »
I have sat for.long periods of time too. Get up to move get busted or they start calling. My new rule your tired of sitting/waiting give it 30 more. This has happened too many times Great job.

Offline tlbradford

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2017, 11:10:42 AM »
I have sat for.long periods of time too. Get up to move get busted or they start calling. My new rule your tired of sitting/waiting give it 30 more. This has happened too many times Great job.

This is great advice.

Machias is a great dude.  Congrats on the tom and getting back into the woods.
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Online pianoman9701

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2017, 11:59:52 AM »
Thanks for the great story. Nice bird.
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Offline Machias

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 07:04:27 AM »
Great write up, happy to see you enjoying the woods again!!
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Offline dfresh96

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2017, 07:59:24 AM »
congrats on getting it done...great story too...
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Offline HUNTINCOUPLE

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Re: Missed five turkey seasons and now this!
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 08:40:38 AM »
 :tup:  Congrats!!!!!!
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