Well I braved the great outdoors again here in Michigan this morning and just about froze to death. Another fool proof plan - sabotaged. Sat for 2 1/2 hours last night waiting for turkeys - thought they would be back to roost in the spot from the night before but that wasn't to be. So we headed back to the truck and headed home. As we are driving out we were glassing for turkeys hoping we would find their roosting destination. Wasn't long before I glanced up at the treetops and just above us are 10 turkeys sitting. So we continued to drive by and starting planning our hunt for the next morning. We would brave the snow and cold to try again for the elusive Michigan bird - Did anyone ever notice how early 5 a.m. comes? By 5:30 we were stalking up to our location to set up. By 5:35 the voices in my head were saying that it is way too cold to be out here chasing some dang stupid bird. By 5:40 my brain became so cold that I am sure the voices died of hypothermia. It wasn't long before daylight was fast on us. So we waited for the first gobble. And Waited. And waited.
It had been nearly 45 minutes since light was up. The husband starts whispering to me that maybe they flew down in the opposite direction and we missed them. Or maybe they were spooked out last night after we seen them. Maybe we should move and try something else. I have to admit that the little part of my brain that wasn't completely frozen yet was overwhelmed by the idea of going home to a warm bed. So I agreed to his terms and started making our way back to the truck. We hadn't moved 20 feet and I get the hand signal to get down. Low and behold - the turkeys are still sleeping in the tree. There they were - all hunkered down with their heads tucked inside their feathers - same idea I was having at that moment as that wind was whipping through me like a skife knife.
This time the voice outside of my head says why don't we wait them out. Why not - I have a million frozen reasons I could have given him but my mouth engaged before my frozen brain had time to ponder and I said something along the lines of good call. So I hauled my cryogenic body back to the blind. Seemed like an eternity when I spotted a turkey flying down. Then a second one. It wasn't long and I can see a turkey moving through the woods just in front of me. It's a hen. At this point she is headed right toward me. She comes to the end of the woods and crosses the road between us. But she doesn't come in my direction. I see a second turkey coming through the woods. This one is quite a distance from me and isn't following the hens exact course but it is headed toward her. I finally see the bird through the thick brush and it is a long beard.
Too far and too thick to take a shot. Here is where patience comes back into the sport of hunting.
I hear that voice outside of my head again telling me that the hen is to my left and not to move. When she finally looks away I start to turn around and there she is feeding along. Finally - I get in position because that Tom is following her and now he is going to step out of the woodline and follow her into the field. This will leave me about a 30 yard shot. So I get into position and wait. The hen decides to feed her way back to the woodline. I watch her go deeper into the woods knowing that she was taking my tom with her. Another good tom led astray by those dang hens. (lol) We waited another half an hour. Nothing but a few more toes lost to frost bite. So we slowly made our way to the woodline and headed for the truck knowing their would be another day - another turkey -
another week of turkey hunting.......
I just hope it is warmer......
Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu
Dawn, you didn't mention anything about calling....are you trying different calls. I'd try calling that "boss" hen over to you if the tom isn't responding to any love yelps and the tom will most likely follow. You can either try to get her "mad" so she wants to come over and chase you away, or just call to her "friendly" like and she might just be curious to come over, either way, long beard will probably tag along. Good luck, and believe it or not, you are experiencing "hunting" and each time you go will add just a little to your eventual "success".
We have tried everything to pull in the hens to bring the toms and we have tried to pull the toms off the hens to no avail. When season opened the toms already had their hens. Didn't take long after opening day education for the turkeys to go quiet. We first tried calling in the toms and we had no success. Then we tried to bring the hens in close so he would come - calling only made them very cautious and often sent them in the opposite direction. Just driving by them gets them running across the fields to the nearest woods - they are extremely agitated this season. Same problem all of the area hunters are having. Nothing works. We have gotten closer by plotting their travels and ambusing them. That method has worked often for us - but it is more luck then skill. My husband is a great turkey caller and an awesome turkey hunter - killed one with his long bow several years back. I have been a avid turkey hunter for more years than I wish to say (then you would know how old I was - lol) and every few years they really make you work for them - this is one of them. But we will keep trying - calling, ambushing, praying (whatever works) but even then we will just keep doing what we love - Hunting turkeys!
...is that during conditions like you're describing, the only DUMB animal in the woods is the hunter.
A weird guy named Mazlo had what he called a "hierarchy of needs". When you look at it, it goes something like #1-Survival, #2-Safety, #3 Security, #4 Water, #5 Food, etc. What hunters done want to recognize is that these animals (birds) can't come in out of the weather and that SEX is at about the bottom of that hierarchy of needs. All the calling, rattling, scraping, bugling, quacking in the world won't attract an animal stranded in one of those priority hierarchies.
As for me, turkey hunting entails walking into the local grocery and finding the frozen food section. I can stay warm and dry and the bugs don't bite in that environment.
Had no problems having them return the calls. But never had the chance to see a bird. It seemed like everytime a tom would answer, the second time it was farther away. Decided to try and follow the flock and found both time's that the tom's were with a flock of hen that numbered 8 or more. They just weren't going to leave that many hens for a single bird. Finally decided to come in and have a bite to eat and warm up. Going to wait until later in the afternoon and hope to find a single tom looking for a hen. Good to all you all. And dress warm because it's really coooooold out there!
You have no idea what you are missing! Stalking those grocery store turkeys sure is very sporting now is it. Unless you are looking for a fight with a local PETA Member standing guard over the butchers slaughtered foods.
As for Mazlo - he sure has his hierarchy needs in the wrong order - (lol) What do you think keeps us Michiganders warm in the winter. (lol)
I woulda just shot 'em outta the tree! (Just kidding of course - lol)
We hare having a rough time here also, tried everything! Just like your 2nd post! I have been after the same Tom for 6 mornings. Everyday he flies down and never goes the same way after that! He has 6 hens with him. I live in Kentucky. I have been within 50 yaers of him. the green leafs are coming out now and you are lucky to see 20 yards. The turkeys that we see in the fields always run into the woods., like they know what I am up to.
I always get a turkey, but this year I have begun to wander?
I will press on till May 5th
To breakfast that is! But I did think about those who were freezing their yoo-hoos to "bag a bird". Don't feel bad. Yesterday I was trying to get fence posts dug and concreted in between rainfalls. Got the last fence section up and it was starting to snow. This stinks! Jeff F.
Tony sounds like you have the wrong gun. That's well within range of my turkey shooter.
Dawn you should of been with me in Texas last week. I went down for my mothers 80th birthday. My brother-in-law picked me up a 1/2 hour late last thursday morning and we still bagged 3 nice toms before 9:30.
I was done hunting last Monday at 8:30 AM. I called in two toms and shot the biggest one (I think). He has a 10&3/4 inch beard with 1&1/4 inch spurs. I do remember a few bugs. I have a few photos if you want to see them.
Just got a Benelli Black Eagle. Using 3.5 #4 shot,what would be the ultimate choke to buy to get consistant killing patterns out to 40 yards? It came with a full,modified and open choke set so I would assume a tighter choke would be in order. I have one more tag to fill and this is the baby I'd like to use.
At this time of year the Toms have to make "hay" while the sun shines...it's all about sex. Birds killed early in the season are usually heavier than those killed later in the season. They are more interested in strutting and mating than eating and that's what gets them killed. I've watched toms strut and pace for over 3 hours in fields without eating, while the hens and jakes are scratching around and eating the whole time. Maybe Mazlo or whoever ought to ask the turkeys before making out his heirarchy of needs...