Hunting Washington Forum

Other Hunting => Turkey Hunting => Topic started by: tukeyman on February 23, 2020, 10:57:15 AM

Title: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: tukeyman on February 23, 2020, 10:57:15 AM
Coming out West to do a little spring turkey when I visit my brother in law in Leavenworth.  Have never hunted turkeys further west than my home in Western Massachusetts.  By my research New England turkey hunting is much different than WA.  I am an experienced hunter here and have killed birds in all NE states.  I will be staying in Plain, WA right on the border of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  By what ive heard/read not a ton of turkeys in this region as harvest % is low.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. 
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Dan-o on February 23, 2020, 11:38:56 AM
Coming out West to do a little spring turkey when I visit my brother in law in Leavenworth.  Have never hunted turkeys further west than my home in Western Massachusetts.  By my research New England turkey hunting is much different than WA.  I am an experienced hunter here and have killed birds in all NE states.  I will be staying in Plain, WA right on the border of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  By what ive heard/read not a ton of turkeys in this region as harvest % is low.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome

Get the Turkey pamphlet from the wdfw website, and you will see that the Turkey numbers are to the far east of the state. 

You are within two hours of great Turkey hunting. 
I think not good bird numbers anywhere near Plain.  If there are pockets of birds, people will remain silent.

I've only hunted them in wa, but my hunch is that our birds are less sophisticated than yours.  Maybe easier to kill?

Get onyx maps for your phone and start finding good chunks of public land down near lower elevations (especially farm land)     

Not too hard to kill birds that way.

Good luck and let us know how you do. 

Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: TheStovePipeKid on February 23, 2020, 01:58:40 PM
Dan-o hit it right in the head. If you are serious about taking a bird hit the NE corner. Not too far and full of Mirriam's. There are birds in central Wa, unless your BIL knows people that have property it will be a tough slog. Good luck, lots of good info on areas to hunt in this forum.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: avidnwoutdoorsman on February 23, 2020, 04:07:34 PM
Sending PM
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Buckhunter24 on February 23, 2020, 04:18:25 PM
Like others are saying it will be well worth a couple hours of driving towards the northeast corner.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: avidnwoutdoorsman on February 23, 2020, 04:55:10 PM
Yes the hunting is different in many ways hunting out west versus the east coast. And I think that is more of your question.

Both Easterns and Merriams are timber birds. Easterns prefer the timber that has a little more cover and at lower elevations than merriams typically do. So your going to find them in this state and others in Ponderosa forest. These forest have much less ground cover then what you would be use to on an Eastern hunt. You can hear birds here a lot further away...usually. With the elevation changes though you're really only going to hear whats in the draw you are in. However when I've hunted the east coast birds I thought were a few hundred yards away were really like only a hundred yards away.

Merriams tend to like South and East facing slopes for roosting in the spring. This is where the snow melts first, green up happens first, and thus new food arrives first. Snow plays a factor into as well when public land hunting can get "better". A lot of the birds may stick on private land early season if the melt hasn't happened yet. Not that there wont be birds in the snow but I'm talking typical here. You'll read a lot whether bear or turkey to follow the snowline in WA.

The area you want to hunt does have a low number of birds and you will greatly increase your success if you go east but hunting the public ground above private will create results. The trick will be access. You may have to hike up a 1/2 mile off the road and then cross trek the hillside a mile or two. Not a bad way to see some good country in my opinion. Find where forest land intersects a road. Hike up the hill above where private land would be and then cross trek while using a locator call. If you see a bird during the day in a field it probably came from the hill above it. So you can hunt that bird on the way down or on the way up if you can get to it.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: tukeyman on February 23, 2020, 06:50:32 PM
Thanks guys.  Lots of great info.  Going to put in some real effort in Chelan county for first few days then maybe head off north and east.  looks like I'm going to have to do some serious scouting and knocking on doors in that county when I get there.  Biologist told me folks are less willing to give permission in Chelan county because folks enjoy seeing the birds because populations are low.  Wish me luck.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: baldopepper on February 23, 2020, 08:15:35 PM
Typical NE corner flock this winter   LOL-not really, but not unusual either.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Cab on February 24, 2020, 08:27:00 AM
Coming out West to do a little spring turkey when I visit my brother in law in Leavenworth.  Have never hunted turkeys further west than my home in Western Massachusetts.  By my research New England turkey hunting is much different than WA.  I am an experienced hunter here and have killed birds in all NE states.  I will be staying in Plain, WA right on the border of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.  By what ive heard/read not a ton of turkeys in this region as harvest % is low.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome, Maine boy born and raised here so I can relate. The big thing here is terrain and location. In Maine, birds are everywhere in the entire state but here they are in pockets as others have said the best hunting is in the NE. I hunt south central and have noticed a fair amount of other hunters where back in Maine I feel like I rarely saw others turkey hunters in general. Ticks aren't as bad as they are back in New England but they still have them so be mindful. Whats nice here is that there is more visibility compared to back in New England so it makes it easier to see birds coming through the woods, that said it's easier for them to see you. I use all the same tactics I did back home and have done just fine.

FYI, learn about morels and when the turkey hunting gets slow take a stab at trying to find some, they're delicious. Hope that helped.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: MerriamMagician on February 24, 2020, 10:12:08 AM
There are plenty of birds in Central WA. However most of the more highly populated areas are going to be south of the Leavenworth/Plain area. If you're interested, PM me and I can dial you in to some good public areas.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: bearpaw on February 24, 2020, 10:14:46 AM
The three main areas for birds are northeast, southeast, and southwest. The northeast produces about 3/4 of the birds taken in the state!
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Machias on February 24, 2020, 12:09:35 PM
Growing up in Missouri I did a lot of turkey hunting.  One of the things that stood out for me when I first started chasing turkeys here is they "sounded" further away then what they actually were.  I busted several birds in the first few days of hunting gobblers here.  Resist the urge to rush in on a far off sounding bird.  At least for the first few times you get a response.  I don't know if it was the cooler mountain air, or the bigger terrain features, but I had much better luck with a little bit of patience.  Good luck!  Nothing like chasing Merriams in the mountains!
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: nwwanderer on February 24, 2020, 12:10:00 PM
May want to consider flying into Spokane, easy detour for a bunch of birds and avoid the Seattle craziness
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Cab on February 25, 2020, 01:44:20 PM
Growing up in Missouri I did a lot of turkey hunting.  One of the things that stood out for me when I first started chasing turkeys here is they "sounded" further away then what they actually were.  I busted several birds in the first few days of hunting gobblers here.  Resist the urge to rush in on a far off sounding bird.  At least for the first few times you get a response.  I don't know if it was the cooler mountain air, or the bigger terrain features, but I had much better luck with a little bit of patience.  Good luck!  Nothing like chasing Merriams in the mountains!

This is so true I learned the same thing when I moved here. It can make it hard to tell where they are but my god the views are fantastic  :)
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: avidnwoutdoorsman on February 25, 2020, 02:32:24 PM
Growing up in Missouri I did a lot of turkey hunting.  One of the things that stood out for me when I first started chasing turkeys here is they "sounded" further away then what they actually were.  I busted several birds in the first few days of hunting gobblers here.  Resist the urge to rush in on a far off sounding bird.  At least for the first few times you get a response.  I don't know if it was the cooler mountain air, or the bigger terrain features, but I had much better luck with a little bit of patience.  Good luck!  Nothing like chasing Merriams in the mountains!

This is so true I learned the same thing when I moved here. It can make it hard to tell where they are but my god the views are fantastic  :)

I told him the opposite in a PM... but then again I haven't hunted open country like Missouri. When I went and hunted Florida for Easterns and Osceolas I would hear a bird and think it was way the heck off in the distance. Dude I was hunting with was always like, "that bird is close, 100-150yds out". 10 min later it was usually in our laps.

You are from Maine so you have the best relationship Cab for how things sound here to there. I would tell you a bird in WA is twice as far as it would be if you were in FL based off of sound. Then again that's the Swamp.  :chuckle:
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Cab on February 25, 2020, 02:48:07 PM
Growing up in Missouri I did a lot of turkey hunting.  One of the things that stood out for me when I first started chasing turkeys here is they "sounded" further away then what they actually were.  I busted several birds in the first few days of hunting gobblers here.  Resist the urge to rush in on a far off sounding bird.  At least for the first few times you get a response.  I don't know if it was the cooler mountain air, or the bigger terrain features, but I had much better luck with a little bit of patience.  Good luck!  Nothing like chasing Merriams in the mountains!

This is so true I learned the same thing when I moved here. It can make it hard to tell where they are but my god the views are fantastic  :)

I told him the opposite in a PM... but then again I haven't hunted open country like Missouri. When I went and hunted Florida for Easterns and Osceolas I would hear a bird and think it was way the heck off in the distance. Dude I was hunting with was always like, "that bird is close, 100-150yds out". 10 min later it was usually in our laps.

You are from Maine so you have the best relationship Cab for how things sound here to there. I would tell you a bird in WA is twice as far as it would be if you were in FL based off of sound. Then again that's the Swamp.  :chuckle:

I've had it both ways, in open country like central they sound closer since there is less brush in the way, in mountains type I've had some sound further if they were over the top of a hill. I had one this year that sounded far away and as soon as I crested the hill it was much closer then I thought. I set up the next day and it sounded like a single Tom about 1/4 mile away, I hiked in closer(200 yards) and did a quick slate call........the woods exploded in front of me with 8-10 toms gobbling! I was 30 yards away, I took my time and 1 walked right past me at 10> yards. I took him back to camp and took a photo with him because back home you don't get views like this, my dad loved it.
Title: Re: First trip to Washington for spring gobblers
Post by: Machias on February 26, 2020, 01:31:23 PM

I told him the opposite in a PM... but then again I haven't hunted open country like Missouri.

Missouri, at least 3/4 of it and down in the Ozarks where I hunted is far from open, it's thick hardwood forest, small mountains/hills.  I think they are just a much louder bird, the Easterns, then the Merriams are, especially up in the thinner mountain air.  Just one guys opinion.  This was also the case comparing them with the Easterns in Virginia.