blackbeltbill

BILL'S WILD TURKEY WANDERINGS

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This is a great forum that I will start using even though, I use pen and paper. 

 

       So, I struck out in New York this Fall Turkey season of 2016. My friend Jeannine almost got her jake though as I posted a few weeks back. That was one huge jake flying out of that tree! It flew up as well at maybe a 30 degree angle and not that fast. Jeannine just missed and was so excited that she could not get another shot off. She was so happy to see turkeys feeding on the ground before I flushed them all. They were not going to commit to my calls and I had to make a split second decision to sprint at them. Some flew left and others-INCLUDING the brood hen ran to the right. And a few flew up to close by trees. One was Jeannines fat jake. I did not see that bird land- but Jeannine did!!! She race walked to that tree and just missed when he flew out as I wrote above. It was the perfect flush EXCEPT that the brood hen called from where she ran to. The flock did not return to the break site and that brood hen started that non stop assembly yelping within 30 minutes!  THIS IS A SIGN OF A FLOCK THAT HAS BEEN FLUSHED ONE TOO MANY TIMES. But taking Jeannine out and putting her on turkeys made my Fall 2016 season!

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Going to try to get my girlfriends son to post a number of pics here in the next few days if he has a bit of time. Some are old and some are less then 5 years old.  We will see.

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Here is a Fall Turkey hunting story that happened a good 15 years ago.......    I was hunting in Sterling Forest State Park and walking around for a few hours off of Bramertown Road. I finally heard some turkeys answer my loud lost yelping. I was at the top of a short ridge with the land gently rolling down to a flat. A beautiful and open flat as well. Looked like the perfect place to come to to feast on white oak acorns. Any turkey that entered that open flat would be in my range of around 35 yards away. I picked out a nice tree and waited. The turkeys grew closer!! I heard 4 or 5 yelping with a few kee-kee-runs thrown in as well. The turkeys were almost at the opening to the flat. I should see them soon, I thought!!  All this time, I was calling as well and held the high ground where you always want to be.

    But the turkeys did not enter the open flat. They called from just out of sight and in a line from what I could hear. Yup--any seasoned turkey hunter would reflect quickly as I did! No more calling from me. I was just about to call out the word--HUNTER  when 4 guys started to walk out on to the flat!! They did not even look up at my position.  They walked in a line and reentered the woods. That was the 1st time that I ever saw 4 turkey hunters together as a hunting group!  Glad, I made all the right choices that day and held the high ground. It is possible that some newer Fall hunters would have moved on down that flat.  More old stories to come...........Bill.

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Thank you Paula. That orange decoy that I painted worked really well. The tom that you see as well as his hen came right in as well as 4-5 jakes. Of course, I have Jerome Robinson's book In which he writes about the orange safety decoy.

    And that is me at 18 with Crumpet--a very good pheasant dog. I was getting ready to compete in Teenage Mr. America at that point.

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Well members- I am going to try to get more recent pics up this Sunday.    Getting back to that 2nd pic with the orange safety decoy-- I wanted to post that as no one would believe me otherwise. I took that picture as soon as I dropped the Boss. And he was a limb hanger for sure! His old hen came in right with him--side by side. He did not follow her to the decoy as both were interested. Now the 4-5 pesky jakes did follow those 2 in. I had to hold off for several minutes before I got a clear shot! That was a late-May bird as well as I prefer fields later in May.    IN THE TURKEY WOODS--by Jerome Robinson is an awesome book and that is where I learned about the orange safety decoy.   The 1st pic will never happen again--2 FALL turkeys. I have done that a good 5-6 times in past years. 3rd pic, I talked about. I have a more recent photo showing me looking the same--never gave up the weights.   The 4th pic is at Stewart State Forest in 1997--the first year the DEC had a (turkey lottery). They had another in 1998 and then the land became State land. The DEC  gave out perhaps 18 permits for the 7,000 acres. That gate and sign are long gone now.

      That funny tree stand still stands! It is in Sterling Forest and probably some old-timer will be up there for tomorrows deer opening day.       That old car from circa--1950s is at Stewart State Forest. Looks like a good place to lay your shotgun over on an incoming Spring gobbler!!     The next pic is from Pennsylvania on public land. I parked first and about 4 other trucks pulled on in before long! Only I shot on this morning however. Next 3 pics all show public land turkeys on my hood. Note my mountain bike in the 2nd to last pic and those hooks on him. Biking in on public land gives one an edge on other really good turkey hunters. And in my area there are very many turkey hunting veterans with great calling skills and woodsmanship. It was much easier in the late 90s-LOL!   And my last pic is another limbhanger. He was taken on a overcast day. You can see my box caller is wet. That is the Lohman-black walnut-double thunder box. And that glass caller is a HS Strut- triple glass. It sounds unlike other glass callers out there. I don't know if they are made anymore.

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The 2 stories that follow happened many years ago in PA. Both in the Spring turkey season. They are very similar- but happened years apart.  I love to turkey hunt at State Game Lands #180 in Lords Valley. Been going there Spring and Fall since 1994.  I had no luck for a good 3 hours in this first story. I was just set up 70 yards from a woods road. More of a field road really. PA is known for VERY Wide field roads. I finally got a response from my cutting. A good 5-6 gobbles! Yup--jakes were on their way in. I love when this happens as it does not happen often. They cam past me in a perfect straight line as well. I wanted the leader or first in line- but # 2 jake was just too close. There was 6-7 jakes and finally I opened up on the jake lagging last. Exciting hunt as they walked past at less then 20 yards. Now on the way out on that old and bumpy woodsroad which runs a good 5 miles right next to Shohola Lake-- a truck was bumping along with 2 late morning PA turkey hunters. They slowed down before passing me and wanted to talk. Both these guys were in their 50s and most likely veterans of the turkey wars. When I told them, I took a jake- the driver just rolled his eyes and screwed up his mouth. I quickly reflected and said--HEY, I AM HAPPY WITH HIM! I quickly drove on again. That choice is always up to each turkey hunter.

      The 2nd story happened also at #180. But this time the LATE MORNING line of jakes did not come in. They had an agenda and I knew where they were going.  I was in the woods when I first saw the jake gang. That field road circled all the way around and back to the main woods road. I backtracked out of the woods the way I came in and race walked all the way around that field road. I knew it would take a good 20 minutes to fully get ahead of the gang. That is what happened! I reentered the woods just in time and set up. A few gobbler clucks later-- I got answers.  That perfect jake line again with a different flock. This time the leader was 10 feet ahead of the line and I dropped him. TG my woodsmanship skills helped me as I knew this public ground well. 

   I miss hunting in PA-- but my Chevy s-10 is a 2000 model and I have to hunt local. New Jersey is only 20 miles away--so I will always have 2 states Spring And Fall. Until, I get a new truck-LOL! Hope people here enjoyed the stories. And if you want a Spring jake yourselves-- think LATE MORNING--10.30am and on.---Bill.

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Well members-- I am going to try to get more pics up tonight. Perhaps 6 or so. I want to get my Brother in law -Mark in as well- but have to call him first. He took a tom with a near 12" beard and horrible tail feathers. A recent photo of me from 4 years ago with another 20pounder+   And hopefully- I get get some pics of my beards and sets of spurs up. Wish, I had not lost any--but I found 29 beards which includes some jake mini beards and 30 sets of gobbler legs with spurs. I have another 8 or so spur-sets on a necklace. They dont look as good as Maytoms.

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ALSO  members-- I took time out to update my turkey records. No small task as the last time I updated was 2013 from 3 record notebooks that I have. Some members and guests may be interested in my --wild turkey wanderings and my poor average. So here it is.

   New York-1990-2016---New Jersey-1994-2016---Pennsylvania-1994-2014---Spring and Fall for all 3 states.

    Estimated turkey hunts---1,500+

    Total number of wild turkeys taken---113

     Private Land turkeys taken---NONE

     All hunts on public lands and crowded to the max- gun club lands

     Breakdown of turkeys taken---44 gobblers--- 37 jakes---26 hens--- and 6 jennies=113

    Missed over the top---at least 25

    woundings and escapes---over 20    mostly minor woundings from too long of a shot.

    158 + wild turkeys shot at.      

 

       Hope members and guests enjoyed reading the records.  Anyone can do the same as I almost quit after a few years with no mentor to help me out. Only reading everything in sight and countless scouting trips got me going on the long learning curve.

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Here is another old story members. Now some members or guests may remember the hunter and his truck if they live in the Orange County area.    This story happened before Sterling Forest State Park became State Land. So, I would say--1996 or 1997. It was the opening day of the Spring turkey season and I parked before 4am in front of a locked gate on a gas-line road off of Orange Turnpike.  I was there for a good 1 hour when headlights were shining on me---but not from Orange Turnpike. Someone had the keys to the gates and was driving up on me. I had to move and this hunter with deer antlers bolted  or fixed down somehow on his truck hood was waiting to come out. Is that legal-- I don't know. That is why some here may remember this guy! He told me  that he dropped a buddy a half mile back where I knew their were gobblers roosting.  Too late for me to go anywhere else and I heard no gobbling that morning. I think his truck spooked them as he drove in from the other side at Rt. 17A. That place was crowded even when I had to pay 85 dollars to hunt!

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FOLLOWED AT WAYWAYANDA STATE PARK!

    Waywayanda State Park is in New Jersey. It has a huge black bear population. But a black bear was not following me. It was another Spring Turkey Hunter! This guy was an old timer too. I did alot of hiking in this area and knew alot of turkeys were near the Appalachian Trail. On the day that I went hunting, someone was behind me at a distance. I soon lost view of him. The turkeys that I had scouted out were now on a farm. They would not come back to the State Land no matter how I called. Now a road led up a hill near the farm with a line of old houses. I no longer hunt this area- so I think it was Barry road or something close. It is right on the NY/NJ border. I soon found out why the toms were on that scrub farm. There were makeshift ground blinds all over the place. A good 7-8 in my area!! The residents along Barry or Barrett Road were into the turkeys big time and probably taking over the limit--but that is just my thoughts on it.

    Now getting back to the old timer that was following--I saw him a few more times on the way out and finally got close enough to talk to him. He said he figured that I knew where there were some hot turkeys back here and was following me! The old timer was honest enough and probably a beginning turkey hunter as well. After seeing all those ground blinds and I knew there were more-- I never hunted Waywayanda again. PUBLIC LAND IS TOUGH-LOL!!!

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Well members--a turkey hunter can learn quite alot from an old journal. I never have much luck on opening days. Check out this account from 5/1/2001.

    59 degrees--BP--30.14---I started my Spring season in NY in Sterling Forest State Park off of RT. 72. in the LONG SWAMP area. I heard 3 toms today--but they were all gobbling in different areas then they were 3 weeks ago. A MOB OF  TURKEY HUNTERS IN STERLING FOREST TODAY!!! All the toms moved straight into the swamp with their hens. Next time, I will set-up on the trail South of the power-line where they were roosting in different areas.------6 hours.

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Here is another quick story from that same journal on the very next day--5/2/2001. Now, to this day, I have only been on true private land just 3 times and this day was the very first. It did not go well at all.

57 degrees--30.03BP---Today, I went with Bill over to his co-workers place. Roger told us about some turkeys that were in the woods behind his home. I was working a jake flock for about 3 hours and the gobbling was good! Then they became silent and 2 turkey hunters appeared close to us! They backtracked away quickly and were soon out of sight.---3 hours.

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This next Opening Day story will have the few members and guests who read this laughing at my blunders!!

   May 1st 1999

    Opening day in New York. Parked on Candle Road in Sterling Forest and followed woods road and 2nd orange trail to hardwoods area beyond the Appalachian trail corridor. Tom was already down when I got there. Called tom within about 50 yards using the hen wingbone and Cody-Spec2 single slate.---Using the spit and drum caller- he almost came in-giving me a return spit and drum!!

      BAD SETUP and I had to stand up to relieve the pain in my calves! Gobbler saw movement. Later, I was working him again.-------Lone gobbler flushed 3 hours later as I was walking the perimeter and cutting.

 

  Hope a few members and guests enjoyed that true story from another journal. I believe that was the first and last year- hunters could cross the Appalachian Trail and corridor to hunt the (isolated Monroe State Land). That is the State land in Sterling Forest State Park that can be hunted- but is (landlocked)--no access.  Try to get some pics up tonight---Bill.

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hope members enjoy the pics the  first is me  the next is me with a few jennies and mark has a tom  he has near seventy turkeys to his credit he uses only slates and boxes

pictures (1).jpg

pictures (2).jpg

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Finally got up 3 more pics here. Now my Brother in law--Mark took a dandy gobbler with a 12" beard as you can see! The tailfeathers are no good however. The 2nd pic again won't happen again--2 nice jennies on a Fall hunt. Note my orange hat--safety on public lands. And the 1st pic was taken less then 5 years ago. Orange hat again. I just feel safer going from set-up to set-up with an orange hat on.

    Glad I got all these pics up as last May- one member thought that I did not hunt at all. Hope a few members and guests who check in here like them.---Bill.

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23 hours ago, Bill Schmidt said:

hope members enjoy the pics the  first is me  the next is me with a few jennies and mark has a tom  he has near seventy turkeys to his credit he uses only slates and boxes

pictures (1).jpg

pictures (2).jpg

pictures (3).jpg

Whats with the 3rd pic? Nice bird, but looks like you wasted some coupons under it.

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That's my Brother in law--Mark. Yup- he wasted some Shop-Rite coupons for sure. ----I like the Kurt Russell quote!! He was awesome in the movie--SOLDIER where he said a grand total of 40 words.

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1 hour ago, Bill Schmidt said:

That's my Brother in law--Mark. Yup- he wasted some Shop-Rite coupons for sure. ----I like the Kurt Russell quote!! He was awesome in the movie--SOLDIER where he said a grand total of 40 words.

Never waste coupons if you are on a budget! 

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