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Let's talk about Turkeys


Padre86
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All right, so I'm new to hunting Turkey.  I've spent the last 2 weekends up in the Adirondacks looking for them.  I see these things all along Rte 28 during my numerous drives up to the Adirondacks, but I've never seen them on hikes and certainly never during any of my hunts up there.   So what I am missing here?

As I understand it (someone please correct me if I'm wrong), the general idea behind fall turkey hunting is to find a big group of them, break them and then hide out and ambush them as they regroup.  I've heard bringing a dog along to help with the break up is sometimes helpful.  I've heard calls are sometimes used as well, but they seem to be more relied upon in the spring season, when they aren't as grouped up.  

1) So where do I look for Turkeys, especially in an area as big as the ADK's?  I've spent some time going down old (no longer active) logging/hunting roads and trails.  Sometimes I head off the trail to move through some brush in an attempt to flush anything out of hiding.  

2) Is the weather and foliage optimal for fall turkey hunting?  I've noticed that the weather this time of year is a bit warmer than usual.  As well the foliage has only just now started to turn.  In fact, when I was moving through the woods today, a lot of the foliage was not only still on the trees but still very green, making it very hard to see very far in any direction.  With all the racket I make stepping on dead leaves, I feel like I'm bumping and scaring away any potential game well before I see them.  

3) Should I be using a Turkey call, even for the fall season?

4) Do Turkey like moving in the rain?  It's been fairly wet this weekend so far, almost a constant drizzle.  Is hunting for Turkey in the rain worth it?  I know some game species prefer to say put in rainy weather.

5) Is ambush or calling pretty much the only way to hunt Turkey?  I've heard that Turkey have amazing eyesight as well as hearing.  So head-to-toe camo and stealth seem to be essential.  I just have a hard time sitting still in some place like the ADK's.  It's a big area, and wildlife isn't nearly as abundant here as some people think it is.  If I don't pick the right spot, I could be doing a whole lot of sitting without seeing a single animal (I know from experience).  

 

Anyways, those are just a few questions/issues I was trying to work through.  I figure if some more experience Turkey hunters on this site offered some feedback, we might be able to get a helpful dialogue going for myself and other hunters new to Turkey.

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Great post sir! I am no expert, but have a few or many pointers as members know.  In Fall hunting- you can TALK TO the turkeys rather then at them in Spring hunting. Alot of Spring hunters don't know about that. So callers are very important in Fall hunting.

    Take a stroll through the hardwoods  and find sign of turkeys--look for dinner plates as they scratch. I f you see fresh ones-- get to that area and wait for them if you are not good with a call. I hate sitting too! 20 minutes is about it for me in Spring and I move . If you see a flock- you must bust them in all directions. Some hunters lay their gun down and run at them while barking---you read that right. Some hunters shoot in the air to flush them. Just be careful what you do -safety first. Pick a good spot and some hunters will build a quick blind. Anywhere from 30-45 minutes-- the fun will start and your heart will thump as you hear kee-kee-runs,half gobbles, non stop lost yelping from all directions as they close in on the break site. Try to pick out a jake if you can. When the Mother hen flys down after 1 hour and gives that raspy-- assembly yelp----the show is over! Silence now as all young walk to her.

   A light rain, fields and turkeys go together!! Spring or Fall. Forget about the ambush--safety first--call them in. Alot of times in the Fall- I will just wear brown pheasant briar pants, a black and green--box pattern shirt that you can buy at Target and some face-paint or facemask and cheap 1 dollar --brown jersey gloves.

   Find the food and you will find the turkeys!! Dogs are great for turkeys also and I have taken wild turkeys (on the wing) just like a pheasant--yup- it is legal.  Some authors disagree --like a certain one from New England whose Fall turkey hunting book, I sold at a flea market. Alot of great turkey hunters on this site and you will hear from them as well . I am sure---Bill.

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Scouting is your best option, even if you have to do it from the car. I don't know where you are hunting, but if there is agriculture, glass freshly cut soybean, corn, or alfalfa fields, especially during a rainstorm, early morning, or late afternoon, the birds shouldn't be too far into the woods if you see them near an ag field.  If they're not coming to the fields, look for acorns or beech nuts in the woods. A dog is a huge help in scattering them, if all works well, they can be called back with hen yelps or kee-kees (or gobbler yelps if you scatter male birds). Don't let anyone tell you differently, targeting fall birds is much more difficult than hunting turkeys in the spring. Good luck!

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8 hours ago, Uncle Nicky said:

Scouting is your best option, even if you have to do it from the car. I don't know where you are hunting, but if there is agriculture, glass freshly cut soybean, corn, or alfalfa fields, especially during a rainstorm, early morning, or late afternoon, the birds shouldn't be too far into the woods if you see them near an ag field.  If they're not coming to the fields, look for acorns or beech nuts in the woods. A dog is a huge help in scattering them, if all works well, they can be called back with hen yelps or kee-kees (or gobbler yelps if you scatter male birds). Don't let anyone tell you differently, targeting fall birds is much more difficult than hunting turkeys in the spring. Good luck!

I'm not hunting a particularly agriculturally heavy area.  The ADK's has few true farm fields.  Most of the openings are from old clear cuts or blow down.  But I will keep your tips in mind for hunting Turkey in other locales.

 

Also, why is fall hunting harder than spring hunting?

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44 minutes ago, Padre86 said:

I'm not hunting a particularly agriculturally heavy area.  The ADK's has few true farm fields.  Most of the openings are from old clear cuts or blow down.  But I will keep your tips in mind for hunting Turkey in other locales.

 

Also, why is fall hunting harder than spring hunting?

I'm speaking in generalities, but spring birds travel less during a day in the spring than in the fall season. They're driven by mating in the spring, and food in the fall, especially once it gets colder. Scouting a gobbler is fairly simple in the spring, get up early, listen for the general location where they roost and gobble, and set up; if that fails, find the open areas where they strut and put out decoys, much simpler looking for birds that are calling loudly to one another (spring) than looking for birds that are on the move most of the day mostly quiet (fall).

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Great advice from all!  I prefer to run at the turkeys without firing a shot first.  I made a mistake many years ago and ran up a ridge trying to scatter the flock. They all ran in the same direction and not very fast.  If you can get above them--they will flush to the--4 winds!

   Each flock is different when they start to call after 30-45 minutes. Just do what you hear. You are going to have time to make a small stick blind. Do it quietly because when they come in- you might see a jenny at 9 oclock and a jake at 3 oclock and you will have to move very slowly to get on the jake. If the Brood hen comes in earlier then 1 hour and that raspy assembly yelping is going on and you see her--flush her again. The young will start talking again soon. You will do well

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