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bmc

My season d hunt......long but replies are much appreciated!!!

10 posts in this topic

My wife and I hunt season D every year.  It seems season D is really hit and miss for us.  We hunt in NE Wadena County.

This year I hunted 5 mornings from 5 am to 1200, then back out around 3pm to 8:15 pm.  I hunt out of a ground blind being I'm archery hunting and it's easier for my wife who was recently diagnosed with an auto immune disease that is slowly destroying muscles in her legs and shoulders.  She uses a 20 gauge.

I set our blinds on Thursday afternoon.  Both landowners, about 5 miles apart from each other said they had been seeing turkeys every where.

Friday we hunted farm B, where I shot my jake last year.  We heard a little bit of gobbling at sun up and that was it, no birds seen.  We also found out the guys that lease the property for deer season were up turkey hunting.  I talked to them and they were very nice about things and said to go ahead and hunt and told me where they would be.  I let them know we'd be out in the afternoons and to use our blind if they wanted to in the mornings.  We decided to put our time in at farm A, where my wife shot her bird last year, a grassy pasture, with a huge alfalfa field to the west of us.  It was extremely windy in the afternoon 20-30 mph and extremely hot, 85 degrees.  At 7 pm we saw at nice tom at 100 yds, headed to where birds roosted last year.  I had a jake, breeding hen, and another hen decoy out.  I called a little, he puffed up and did a lil' strut and kept on going to the roost.  At 8:15 we were on the county road about a half mile  straight line from our blind.  We saw 4 dandy long beards in a flock headed to the north to roost on the east side of the county road that separates our property from where these birds were.  I'm thinking these were the toms gobbling that we heard in the mornings.

Saturday a.m. found is at farm A again.  Birds gobbling steady for about an hour then things got quiet till my wife spotted a tom, possibly the same one on the east woodline, where we saw the tom last night.  He was going N/B away from us.  I had 2 hen decoys out.  I called and he'd gobble, getting father away from us.  He went silent and a couple minutes later, my wife saw that snowball head bobbing above the rise in the middle of the pasture.  He got to the top of the rise and gobbled and strutted, he then went around us on the east side, too far for a shot.  He hung out behind us and eventually left, N/B again.  Sat. pm we went with out hosts to the steak feed at the VFW in Menagha.

Sunday morning found is at the farm A blind again no decoys.  We had 4 different toms gobbling for an hour and a half at sun up.  We had a hen go by at 25 yds at 0730, if she only had a beard.  LOL  We heard some gobbles at 9 ish but didn't see anything else.   We hunted farm B Sun. evening and didn't see or hear anything .  This blind is in a low grassy area w/ clover on the east side of a large cornfield that had just been tilled under..

Monday morning farm A again, I heard some gobbling, but not as much as Sun. a.m.  I heard some gobbling at 9:15 am, called back, he gobbled at me, and never saw a thing.  I hunted the same blind in the afternoon, which started out with some rain, the the rain stopped and it got dead quiet.  Never saw/heard anything.

Tuesday morning farm A again,  just a couple gobbles as sun up then the rain started. and rained pretty much till noon.  Never saw/heard anything.  On the way out, there were 3 jakes in a stubble cornfield that hadn't been tilled under yet.

I then packed up my blinds and gave this round to the turkeys.

Now, my questions.

Why would 4 long beards be hanging together?  These birds all had 8-10" beards, we saw them out the vehicle window at 15 yds.  I wonder if they were the same jakes that came in last year when my wife shot her jake out of a flock of 5 jakes?

Why would a tom turn down 2 hen decoysys, other than they didn't go to him like he wanted?

Do turkeys prefer last years corn stubble over alfalfa?

I also set up a trail cam at an open gate  that had thick red pines on the west side and cattail swamp on the west side.  In 4 days I had 1 turkey on cam, a jake.

We never saw or heard any hens other than the 1.  IF the toms were henned up, why would they be gobbling for an hour + at sun up?

My decoys are 2 hen Primos She Mobiles......seems like there's a lot of red on their heads.  Maybe the tom that turned them down thought they were jakes and didn't want to fight w/ them?  My jake decoys is a Redhead brand I believe in a sneak pose, very realistic looking in my opinion with a mainly red head and a little blue around the eyes.

IF you take the time to read these ramblings and put in your .02 worth, I really appreciate it!

Just a frustrating season I guess.  Wondering if we should try to go earlier or later next year.  The landowner at farm B said we should come a week earlier, I know a lot depends on what kind of spring we have.

Thanks guys!!

 

Brian 

 

 

 

  

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Sometimes that just the way Turkey hunting goes. I would try for an earlier season where may be not as many folks have been calling at them. Glad you both got one each the year before.

On a side note. My buddy uses a blind and I just make a hide by trees. He has gone 1 to my 4 in 5 seasons. Not sure how much difference that makes? Maybe he's sleeping in the dang thing? :D

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Yeah hard to say but that is turkey hunting. The move around a lot! The mid season hunting is just plain tough. The birds have been hunted, the toms have been fighting, the hens have been harassed by the Toms, Jakes. High winds and rains also play big factors for the birds... Being you bow hunt. Keep after it. Eventually all the cards will line up and you will get a chance...

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It's the hunting pressure like the other guys referred to I would guess. Once they have had pressure put on them it can get real tough. Set your blind in your best ambush spot and hope for the best. Good luck!

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Now, my questions.

Why would 4 long beards be hanging together?  These birds all had 8-10" beards, we saw them out the vehicle window at 15 yds.  I wonder if they were the same jakes that came in last year when my wife shot her jake out of a flock of 5 jakes?

I wouldn't be surprised.  I see this a lot with 2 year old birds.  Even older toms will hang together at times, especially coming off the roost.

Why would a tom turn down 2 hen decoysys, other than they didn't go to him like he wanted?

Bingo!  I stopped using hen decoys years ago.  I either go with jakes or no decoys.  3+ year old birds expect the hens to come to them.  They often will hang up, strut and gobble expecting the hen to come to them.  Your decoys won't but often he real hens show up and off they go.

Do turkeys prefer last years corn stubble over alfalfa?

Sometimes.  I see them hang in pastures, oak ridges, swamps, corn stubble, alfalfa, prairie grass, etc.  They go where they want to go and stay where they want to stay.  Usually relating to food and security.  Read the sign and make the adjustment.  I have a young man going out tomorrow morning and moved a blind 75 yards to a spot the toms have been using as a strut zone.  It's a lot easier to kill one when you are somewhere the toms want to be in the first place.

I also set up a trail cam at an open gate  that had thick red pines on the west side and cattail swamp on the west side.  In 4 days I had 1 turkey on cam, a jake.

Sounds like the turkeys weren't using that area during that time.  We had birds all over the first day of our season around fields and they disappeared for 2 days other than some lone hens.  Found them deep int eh woods working acorn ridges.  They are back in the fields right now.

We never saw or heard any hens other than the 1.  IF the toms were henned up, why would they be gobbling for an hour + at sun up?

Assembling the hens.  Toms often roost near hens but not always with hens.  Even if they have one they want more...

My decoys are 2 hen Primos She Mobiles......seems like there's a lot of red on their heads.  Maybe the tom that turned them down thought they were jakes and didn't want to fight w/ them?  My jake decoys is a Redhead brand I believe in a sneak pose, very realistic looking in my opinion with a mainly red head and a little blue around the eyes.

If you have a big group of jakes running around they can be pretty aggressive and I've seen toms avoid them.  Hard to say.  Try without decoys and make the toms look for the hen.

IF you take the time to read these ramblings and put in your .02 worth, I really appreciate it!

Just a frustrating season I guess.  Wondering if we should try to go earlier or later next year.  The landowner at farm B said we should come a week earlier, I know a lot depends on what kind of spring we have.

My favorite season have always been C-E.  Little different this year with the longer seasons.  I've been burned by late springs during "A" season a few times with flocked up birds often off the properties I have permission to hunt.  This year there was a lot of breeding going on during the "C" season on the properties we were hunting.  During this time toms are less vocal and responsive. The seasons that are later I've found to be more consistent.  Not always a lot of gobbling but usually more responsive birds.   When we hunt the later season we bring a lunch and hunt all day.  Many of our birds are shot late morning through early evening after toms have lost their hens.  Good Luck!

P.S.     These late seasons coming up can still be very good.  Prime time for me during the late seasons are 10 am - 7pm.

Thanks guys!!

 

Brian 

paceman and ANYFISH2 like this

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I have found that private farm hunting in MN can be hit or miss, lately for me mostly miss...  The last 3 or 4 years I have hunted with Sutty out west now we get in on day one and there are plenty of birds in the big valley we hunt.   One bird gets shot and the rest get the heck out of there and are on the next property or two over where we can't hunt and can't get permission to hunt...   For the rest of the trip we are lucky if a bird or two decides to come back to our section and see what is going on, sometimes jakes are dumb enough to do that.   

In my opinion after a few solid years of hunting it the area gets too much pressure, even though it is all private.  Every farmer I talk to has multiple friends and family already hunting.  As a result, when a bird catches sight of me, they run like hell and don't look back. They know what is going on even if the hunting pressure is a mile over, they know.   I have hunted birds that never see hunters and it is a night and day difference.   

 

So BMC, my thought is this.  You mentioned some guys already hunted the land.  They likely put enough pressure, along with neighbors, to keep those four big gobblers holed up on the one section nobody hunts.    Everything else already knows what a dumb hunter sounds and looks like because they've seen it for three weeks already.  So they are not stupid enough to come check out your decoys or calling.  They roosted with a hen or two and are going to stick with them, or just walk off to the property that never sees hunting pressure.    I would suggest learning this pattern, known where they like to go, and ambush them with or without a blind.   Get your wife in position with the 20ga and blast one of those suckers. :) 

Or you can keep sitting in your blind and hope one of those gobblers forgets what has been going on for the last 4+ weeks and finally comes in to your calling.  

 

 

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All Borch's assessments are pretty much dead on.  The only thing I'd disagree on is the decoys. When archery hunting, those birds need to be right in your face to assure a good shot.  That can rarely be accomplished without decoys.

Later in the season like this, many toms have been harassed relentlessly by jakes.  I'm leaving my jake at home for the rest of the season.  Just a hen or two for me right now.

One thing I have to say is, there's no set in stone right or wrong answer.  Many good successful hunters use many different tactics.  The only consistent is patience and perseverance. These two things have killed way more birds than anything else.

ANYFISH2 and Borch like this

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Decoys can be your best friend or your worse enemy when hunting turkeys.  Like Don mentioned for archery hunters it tough not to use them.  But most of the birds I've shot without decoys have been in easy bow range.  The problem is not having the decoy as a distraction so you can get away with more movement.  When hunting with kids I use decoys for this reason.  If I'm concerned about the jake spooking them I use my wimpy, little funky chicken.  Even then I've had toms skirt the set up.  After shooting a few I get a better idea why.  When I've finally shot a tom that skirts this set up he's usually pretty beat up.

 

Every turkey will teach you something different and every hunter has a program that will eventually work for them.  It comes down to experience, confidence and especially persistence when things get tough.  Well that and getting a tom in the right mood to show up when you're hunting.

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x2 from what Borch said

Yes maybe decoys can help Archery but I do not use them much during my archery hunting and the birds are within bow range. Most the time they have to come searching for that hen so they get in even closer without at times. 50/50 on deocys 50 % they might work and 50% they will screw your hunt up. I'd rather take my chances without first and watch the turkeys for a day and pay close attention to how the react to other birds. That will most times help knowing if you can get away with decoys. Either way makes it fun trying to figure out your next game plan.

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1 hour ago, Hoyt4 said:

 

50/50 on deocys 50 % they might work and 50% they will screw your hunt up.

Either way makes it fun trying to figure out your next game plan.

Yep, that right there is what it's all about.

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