help me close the deal

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help me close the deal

Postby jehler » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:24 am

I need help guys, jehler jr. is dying to shoot a turkey and i am a novice turkey hunter at best. we have 4 more days left of his season and we have property to hunt that has birds. Let me give you the lowdown on what's been happening. first day we get set up under a big white pine with low branches, cut a bunch of branches to make a blind, our concealment is great. using a box call I make some calls every 15 minutes or so. we hear and see nothing until about 2:30 and then a gobble about 50 yards away just about makes us poop our selves. the tom walks out from behind the brush into the corner of the cherry orchard we are hunting next to, he is freekin huge, the biggest bird I have ever seen. he walks out just out of range (about 50 yards) and starts to strut. then just stands there 50 yards out looking. I give a light call and he gobbles. this goes on for about 20 minutes and then he just walks away.

Day two, hunt the same area but I set up a hen decoy with a jake mounting her just past our blind. same thing happens except he doesn't gobble but once then just stands there 50 yards out staring at the decoys for 10 minutes then walks away.

this bird is huge, I think it would be awsome for jr. to get a bird this big as his first but the old man is having a hard time gettin him to commit, any ideas? I don't know wether to quit calling after the first gobble, call more, differnt decoys? should i build a differnt blind and call 40 yards behind my son? He's only ten so I don't like the idea of not sitting with him but i think he can make the call, he has made the call not to shoot at 50 so I think he can handle it. any help would be greatly appreciated, we only have till saturday :help:
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby cjg » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:22 am

I'd try a different spot nearby. Maybe he's not liking the blind? I know it's hard with kids to get them not to move, but I don't think a blind is necessary if you have good camo including face and hands and don't move. You said you're not hearing him until 2:30, what's he doing the rest of the morning? No gobbles just before light? Have you tried roosting him in the evening? I'm guessing he has some hens he's with in the morning and after he's finished with them he goes looking. If he's coming out in the same general area and you could get someone else to help out, you could set up with your boy close to where he comes out and have someone else call from where you have been sitting. Sometimes decoys are a bad thing especially with an older bird that has been shot at or spooked in connection with them before. You might want to locate an easier bird, the big ones are usually big because they are extra wary, I won't say smart because I think they are dumb, but have incredible senses and are wary. If there's a Tom hanging around, usually means there's hens and that usually means more Toms. The one you're seeing may be the dominant bird and has been kicking so much butt that the other Jakes and smaller Toms aren't vocal, and are staying near the hens after the big bird is done. It might be tough with only 4 days left, you definately want the bird close, I like them within 20yds, especially with a kid. Don't get locked onto a particular bird with a kid, most kids would be more than happy with a Jake with only 4 days left.

Not sure of your whole setup, posted land or whatever, but here's what I'd do, try and locate some birds on roost around sunset, usually an owl call will make them gobble, if you can pin point them great, don't try and get to close. Get back there well before first light and try the owl call again, they may or maynot gobble, if they do great, if not now you have to make a decision wether to stick with it because you know thet were there last night or try to locate some other bird. If he's there try and move in, if it's good and dark you can get with 100 or so yards, but if it's not full dark keep back further, NO FLASHLIGHTS, be vey quiet, breaking branches is not so big a deal, but no talking, gun loading noises etc. Pick a spot you can see good towards the bird with no fences or natural obstuctions between you and him, no blind, back to a big tree if possible, good camo, gun pointed in the right direction, room to shift right or left if necessary, usually works best for a small kid to sit between your legs so you can help them more and whisper etc. Once you're set up wait a few minutes and give a few yelps, not sure what kind of call you use, I just bought a new Knight and Hale Tom Coffin and really like it, but the push button type calls are my favorite, easy to use and make the right sound, I've got all the other ones and have used them, I just find the push button ones to work the best and easiest. Hopefully he's gonna gobble right back at you, make him wait a bit then give him another yelp, I usually just wait after that, he knows where you are, but sometimes if I have someone new with me I'll try and keep him talking if he will, it adds to the excitement for the other person. ( this can be a bad thing if other hunters are around ) usually less is more when calling. Now if you haven't spooked him, he will usually either fly down headed for you or go off with some other hens if this happens and the other hens are talking now you have to call the hens to you and hope he follows, I'll usually make quite a racket, duplicating what ever the other hens say, cutting and yelping, whatever it takes. If he heads off with other hens ( if it's that late in your season hens should be about done with the Toms, this usually makes for easier hunting ) and they won't come, you can either wait until he gives up on them and comes back looking for you( this might take a few hours ), because he remembers where you were as long as you have'nt spooked him or you can try and get ahead of where they are headed and wait, which is pretty tough especially with a kid. Or look for another bird, I usually have about 3 places in mind when I head out in case someone is in my spot or whatever. But if you know you have birds around it's usually best to wait it out, maybe throw out a couple yelps every 15 minutes or so, don't move and stay very quiet as far as talking etc, again tough with kids. If he does head right towards you when he flys down, don't call much, he knows where you are, his gobbles are going to sound farther away after he flies down, sometimes you can hear his wings, hopefully he's going to head right to you, if you hear him headed your way, get situated, gun up rested on a knee pointing towards where you think he's coming and Don't Move. If you can see him stop calling and Don't Move. He might stop and strut and gobble a little, but without a decoy he has to keep looking. I like to have some sort of natural obstuction between me and him like a big rock or a small hill or big tree that he thinks his hen might be behind because he can't see it and knows it has to be here, so when he comes around looking for her he's in range, BAM it's all over.

Sorry for the long post, I know there's no way to cover every possible situation, maybe you can gleen a little useful info from my rambling, I still have a couple weeks before my season opens. When I scout for birds, I'd rather find 1 Tom alone in the woods than 10 Toms together in a field. Field birds have been seen and called at by every body and their brother for weeks before and during the season. BTW I'm a registerd hunting guide here in Maine and have taken many turkeys myself and guided a bunch of people on their first hunts even a deaf guy. Good luck and let us know what happens.
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby Pete-pec » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:10 pm

Good post CJG.

My thoughts are that this bird is waiting for your "decoys" to come to him. Try to get rid of the decoys, and call less. If he knows your location, he doesn't need a ton of calls to remind him. This can really botch a hunt quick. If he comes out in strut, I like to call at him very lightly to let him know he's real pretty. If he comes out of strut, and moves your direction, and goes back to strut again, hit him with another soft call. If he remains in strut after your first call, don't call again. He comes out to 50 yards, sees the birds, and in nature, expects them to come to him. If he doesn't see the birds, he may be more apt to come investigate a bit closer. This was the first year I have ever used a blind, and I think I'll use one a WHOLE lot more. The birds simply pay no mind to it. So if you have access to a blind, then use it, and get closer to this bird. Set up the blind near the area where the bird is coming out to, and maybe you will put the smack down on him. If you're not seeing the bird until the evening, then try to set up the blind in the latter part of the morning. If you don't own a blind, I may suggest buying one. I was simply amazed at the effectiveness so far this season. I've had birds at 10 feet looking right through us, as if we were nothing more than a hay bale?

I would definitely try hunting this bird in the morning though. If he'll only gobble on the roost, and gets quiet real quick once hitting the ground, then he's probably with hens, but they won't necessarily hang out together the entire day. The other reason he may be checking up on your setup, is the hens may be just inside the woods, and either he doesn't want to leave them, or they are dictating that he stays in their company. After all, the hens rule the roost, and will only breed when they are indeed ready, so he will remain at their sides to honor their request when the time does come.

Most importantly, don't over-think it. Keep it simple. Call less. Move less. Use less gadgetry. And most importantly stay put when you hear nothing. There's a good chance the bird is just out of sight, and when you decide to move.........BUSTED!

Good luck, and I hope to see pictures in the next couple days.

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Re: help me close the deal

Postby jehler » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:24 pm

Thanks guys, I'll try to get my brother to call for us. we have several different box calls as well as some mouth calls, I am pretty good at the mouth calls as they are a lot like what i use for coyote howlers, still we use the box calls more, I spent all winter practicing. I try to call as little as possible, if 20 some years of duck hunting has taught me anything it's not to over call. I think this bird is just really wary like cjg said, there are other toms on the property but non of them have come in.

If it helps any it is not late in our season, the season goes until may 28th but MI has a real screwed up system. we drew the early hunt, we get 6 days 4-20 - 4-26 we are actually the first guys to get after these birds this year. we hunted the same bird last year for 2 days and couldn't get him then either. there is no chance of getting my son after a smaller bird, he's all about getting that big tom, he told me he'd rather not get a bird this year than give up on "harry gobbler" (what he's named the bird, after harry potter the wizard). we haven't roosted the bird, it's been 36-38 degrees here and raining the last two days and by 4 oclock we have been just to wet and cold to sit out any longer. I have a feeling he's roosting in a protected area across the street and a mile down. we have permission to hunt the whole farm, about 160 acres of cherrry orchards with swails of pine, hardwood and feild. maybe we'll try to find a spot closer to where I think he's roosting. I might try to find a blind to borrow and set up in the orchard, he seems to feel real safe there. we have good camo but Need some kind of blind to conceal the wiggles, we'll get him :thumbsup:

I have two days of green building classes so I can't hunt tommorrow or friday, but my brother is going to take him out both nites i'm gone and we'll hunt saturday and sunday. no bodey else has permission to hunt within 2 or three miles of us so hopefully we will get him.

Thanks :hi:
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby fireman17 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:27 pm

Be sure to post pics up when you lay the smack down on him! :hammer: :thumbsup:
Don't worry I brought extra shells!!
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby Indaswamp » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:52 pm

Knowing what state you are hunting will help determine the stage in the breeding cycle. late season, the hens go to nest.

typical day:
gobblers gobble to attract hens. hens go to the gobbler. he flys down, goes into strut- and pretty much stays that way (unless he is mounting a hen) until the ladies get tired of him...they will leave him at some point in the day to -search for a nesting site first, make the nest, then begin laying 1 egg a day....once the last egg is layed (about 10-15) the hen will not leave the nest except for water and to poop away from the nest.

Tactics:
The gobbler goes from playboy, to lonely boy over the course of the season as more hens go to nest. use this to your advantage.
The hens will not allow a gobbler to follow them back to the nest. (the gobblers start chasing hens)If allowed to follow a hen to the nest, the gobbler will just stand around gobbling (attracting preditors)....also, when the hen sits on the nest, the gobbler will think she is receptive and try to mount her...and the eggs will get crushed. when the hens leave the gobblers around 9:30-10:30 each morning, they sometimes bust like a covey of quail, flying in all directions to get away from the gobbler. the gobbler runs around in a futile attempt to not let them leave. I have witnessed this on many occasions watching birds in fields. once this happens- that ole tom becomes very killable. This is his weakness....
he goes from the hens chasing him...to him chasing the hens. this is when he is most vulnerable.... IMHO.

Other than right off the roost....best time to kill 'em is between 10a.m.-2p.m.-less competition from real hens. they will start trolling ridges or fields trying to find hens. sometimes, hens nests get destroyed...either by rain fall flooding, or preditors like raccoons finding the nest...they will meet up with the gobblers late in the season to breed again and try nesting again.

If you find one gobbling on his own during the middle of the day, and he gobbles at every sound ....get ready, somethings fixin to die!!! grab the nearest tree and get ready!!

This gobbler sounds like he is setting up in this cherry orchard on his strut zone in the late afternoon (a very visible area) trying to find the hens that left him earlier in the day so he can have them fly up to roost with him. If you know the exact spot where he is coming in to the orchard...set up there and wait. or try him off the roost at daylight....
hope this helps...
also- he may be spooked from the blind. if he is in this spot a lot, it's something different he's not use to....
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby Blackdogs » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:35 am

Is he coming out in roughly the same spot? If so, turkeys are creatures of habit for a week or two they will be on the same pattern everyday.

If he's coming out in the same spot, get as close as you can to that spot and smoke him when he sets foot in the orchard!
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby A-Bomb » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:31 am

I agree...I hope your hunt was succsessful. Today is the last day...Lets see them pics. :thumbsup:
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby jehler » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:57 am

:crying:

we didn't get him, saw the bird a couple more times but he never got within 1/4 mile of us again that we know of. the property has a lot of spruce and fir trees that are thick right to the ground, this bird just slips in and out and never gobbles, from what we have seen of him he does not have any set routine. It rained on us almost the whole season and was in the 30's and 40's most of the time, I don't know enough about turkey hunting to know if that was a good thing or not :oops:

thanks for all the replies guys, I learned a little from everyone. jr. and I will study up and be ready for him next year if he's still around. my brother sat and scouted the bird friday while I was out of town at a green build class and and saw him twice near where we hunted, he is convinced the bird would be a state record at least for weight. his beard only looks to be 10 or 11 inches but the bird is giant
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby cjg » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:09 am

Dam, that's to bad, we were pulling for ya. That's what you gotta expect when you have a particular bird you gotta have, goes with the territory.
Do you have a fall season? If it's all about the record he'll weigh more this fall.
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby allnighter » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:55 pm

:oops: our season is over here also with a big ol turkey egg. :crying: I feel your pain.I was hoping your little dude would get one.C'est la vie
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Re: help me close the deal

Postby A-Bomb » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:02 pm

Damn, i was hoping you guys would connect. Thats hunting though....Better luck this fall or next spring. :smile:
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