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Author Topic: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)  (Read 987 times)

Offline simpleperson

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First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« on: April 25, 2017, 03:51:02 PM »
My first hunting experience ever was last year. My brother and I made the trip out from Seattle to Colville to find them gobblers, no success.

This year, we did the exact same time, this time starting much earlier in the season (last weekend). We tried driving along Flowery Trails east of Chewelah, but it seemed like it was way too snowy, and we suspected that might affect whether or not they're mating yet -- do they?

The next day, we headed down the mountain and tried East of Addy. It was a pretty treacherous road, but we found an amazing campsite, and saw many, many hens and jakes. We were feeling good. We found a spot with a ton of visibility and set up the blind. Around 3:00 we took a break, and headed back to the blind at 4:00. Made a call, and heard a response right away! He was close! After about 45 minutes, and many times of despair thinking he had wandered off or couldn't find us, the gobbler shows up. He was PISSED! Started making a lot of noise at our decoy jake, and as he was walking over there, my brother shot him at about 15 yards.

Spirits were high - 1 turkey down, 2 to go (me and my dad). But as they next few days unfolded, it became really clear that we didn't know what we were doing. Were they up at higher elevation in the mornings and evenings? Were they in more brushy areas? Near the creak? Should we move towards the gobblers when we hear them call? Why did they respond with a gobble and never come in? Were we too aggressive? Should we call less? Did the gunshot of the previous bird scare them off? We tried roosting the birds, no response to hoots or crows. We tried splitting up and searching them out. We tried different calls. We tried gobble calls. Hills, brush, high elevation, low elevation, etc. We saw tons of birds (mostly by stumbling upon them), but maybe only 1 gobbler. These questions and experiments] caused a lot of doubting and became very disheartening. No amount of internet research can make you confident in the process until you've gotten the experience.

Overall it was a very fun time camping, and a very adrenaline-filled time calling the gobbler in. We're tempted to hire a guide or something next year, because even if someone had told us, "turkeys can be unpredictable, you should just keep trying everything", I think that would have been very encouraging.

We didn't weigh the bird, but my brother reports that the turkey breasts, deboned, weighed 7 pounds. Dang.

Offline Machias

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 04:03:37 PM »
Awesome job!!!  Still plenty of time left in the season!!
Fred Moyer


History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

Offline simpleperson

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 04:06:06 PM »
Yep. I think we're going to try closer to home, maybe wenatchee.

Addy is a real long way away from home. ;)

Offline jennabug

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 04:14:31 PM »
Should we move towards the gobblers when we hear them call? Why did they respond with a gobble and never come in? Were we too aggressive? Should we call less? Did the gunshot of the previous bird scare them off? We tried roosting the birds, no response to hoots or crows. We tried splitting up and searching them out. We tried different calls. We tried gobble calls. Hills, brush, high elevation, low elevation, etc. We saw tons of birds (mostly by stumbling upon them), but maybe only 1 gobbler. These questions and experiments] caused a lot of doubting and became very disheartening. No amount of internet research can make you confident in the process until you've gotten the experience.
I'm new to this too, but have read a lot and spent some time asking lots of questions.  My husband and I went turkey chasing last week and had partial success.  The first tom was easy, textbook.  The next couple of days we got outsmarted by the birds.
To answer "why don't they come to me?", the hens will normally go to a tom to mate.  He will gobble and strut to call her in to him.  If the tom already has hens with him, known as "henned up", he won't respond to calls as readily.  After the hens have laid enough eggs over a period of days, they will sit on the nest for 28 days to incubate the eggs.  During that time it will be easier to call a desperate, lonely tom to your decoys.
We definitely had our roller-coaster of frustration and excitement when hunting this season so far. Not filling our tags will give us another opportunity to get back out there. ;) :tup:

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 04:57:54 PM »
Sounds like you're doing everything the way it's supposed to get done! Time in the field. You can read every book ever written when it comes to hunting, but the real life experience is what it's all about. The more of that you compile, the more you'll know what to do. Congrats on the success! You guys earned it :tup:

Offline Whitenuckles

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 01:38:00 PM »
That's turkey hunting for you. Keep it up. Experience and patience kills birds!
GEAUX TIGERS

Offline ctwiggs1

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 01:42:26 PM »
turkeys can be unpredictable, you should just keep trying everything

Offline simpleperson

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 10:00:16 AM »
turkeys can be unpredictable, you should just keep trying everything

Haha, thanks. Thanks for all the encouragement! It sounds like even a week can make a big difference in their mating cycle. Without making the 5 hour drive, is there a good way to get a sense of where they are in their cycle?

Thanks again, all.

B

Offline jbeaumont21

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Re: First success with turkey! (and discouragement)
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 01:03:46 PM »
My belief is that weather plays a big part in it.  If its cold, cloudy, rainy and windy the Toms aren't very active. Cant blame them, I wouldn't be into chasing tail if I'm wet and cold either. If you have good sunny weather with relatively warmer conditions the toms seem to be more vocal and reactive to calls.  I try planning my trips around the weather, which obviously is very difficult to do in the NW. I typically keep an eye on the forecast and then play hooky from work when I see a good patch of weather. Unfortunately turkeys are hard to predict so anything you can do to put the conditions in your favor certainly cant hurt.  :twocents:

 

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