Help a novice out!!!

AUhunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
Messages
58
Location
North Alabama
A few questions from a novice just trying to get started turkey hunting. I went this morning in Hickman County, called two gobblers in to about 20 yards (no idea how I did it though as my calling is bad!!!!) around 11:30 but couldn't get a shot. Help a brother out on the questions I have from this morning:

1. Do the birds always leave the roost at 1st light or is it dependant on the weather, temps, etc.
2. Is it standard practice to walk and call till you hear a gobble? That's what we did this morning and it turned out OK.
3. Once a bird gets within 50 yards, do you still call or just let them come in themselves? If you call, what do you do and how often?
4. Are decoys needed and if so do you do just hens, hens and jakes or what?
5. Do the birds act differently on a sunny morning vs. a cloudy one? I'm guessing they don't hit the fields in the cloudy conditions like they would in the sun.
5. How do you hunt in the afternoons? Just more walking and calling or is there another strategy?

Thanks in advance Guys and Happy Hunting!!!!
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
I'm a 3rd year hunter but might have a little advice, ill try...


1. Usually sometime around sunrise but can vary depending on how light, eg woods vs fields or cloudy vs sunny, etc

2. It works, especially mid to late morning, sometimes a lone bird will be gobbling looking for a hen and you don't even have to call for him to gobble (happened to me this morning)

3. Highly depends, if he's gobbling a lot or coming toward you then do not call, he's already on his way. In nature a hen comes to the gobbles so if you keep calling he thinks you are coming and waits. If you lay off the calling after getting some response, he will probably get too curious and come looking for you.

4. No decoys are not needed but people do have success with them sometimes. I've killed 15 birds spring and fall combined since I started and none were with decoys. Some stalked, some called, don't feel a need for Seles but Rhys my personal preference.

5. Not sure but they do hit fields when it rains, and it was cloudy this morning and they played around in a field all morning.

6. Afternoon is my least favorite time to turkey hunt but if you got a lone gobbler that is hammering then move in as close as possible without him seeing you and call, lone birds are usually very killable.

That's the best I can offer, maybe some veteran hunters can chime in too.
 

REN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
8,834
Location
Wilson County, TN
1. All depends on where he is roosted and weather. Fog for example will usually make them hang up longer, also if you really call alot at him in the tree and are close they wills stay longer to wait on you to come to them. ON AVERAGE they are on the ground soon after sunrise though

2. I wouldnt call it standard but some do it with success. If you are talking about finding one in the morning on the roost then just get to a place you can hear a long way and listen, usually nature will do all the work for you. If you mean after fly down then yes it can work but you need to be careful on when and how you do it. Nothing worse then calling and then walking 10yds just to learn you bumped a bird and now he is even smarter.

3. there is no rule here, normally if i know he is coming toward me i dont call at all regardless of distance however if he hangs up out of range i will try and get him to come a tad further using a call. some situations call for you to get aggressive and others a very soft purr will get the job done

4. absolutly not but they have their place i guess. If i am hunting in a big field i will use them from time to time but i never use them when i am hunting woods i just use the terrain to help me instead. Like Setterman i grew up hunting a state you were not allowed to use decoys.

5. again there is no "rule" here. Example would be today, I saw 8 different toms and every one of them were in the woods and were not even heading to the fields. Being it was overcast and still wet everywhere this morning around me they had no reason to go to the fields yet as there was no sun out to dry them off.

5. I have killed more birds between 10-2 then any other time of the day. If you can get one to gobble you can kill him for sure. I usually try and get to strut areas in mid morning and hunt more visually. Walk super slow and keep an ear out for one sounding off.



bottom line is there are no absolutes in turkey hunting and what worked today may not work tomorrow. Keep at them and try to learn something each time you go and try not to make the same mistakes over and over.
 

AUhunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
Messages
58
Location
North Alabama
Thanks guys! I'll use your suggestions the next time I go. After reading, it is obvious I called too much this morning when those birds were coming in.

If I may, a couple other questions that came to mind reading your replies:
1. Where do the turkey typically roost? Are there defining landscape features (pine trees, ridges, etc?) that they prefer?
2. Where are their strut areas? Is this just open areas in general or are there specific spots that I should target?
3. WHat is your preferred locator/shock call and do you use it other than at daybreak?
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
1 if they roost on ridges or hills, they will usually fly down uphill because it's less distance from the tree to the ground. I like to look around creeks and rivers because they often roost in the trees along the water.

2 they generally like to strut where visible which is why fields are so common. Sometimes they have a strut zone where they come to the same area repeatedly to show off. you will have to find them by observing the birds or finding fresh sign, if you spend enough time in the woods you will find where they like to strut. If they roost by a field and fly down into the field they will usually strut right there

3 I don't use locators, I let them gobble on the roost and there are naturally crows and hens that will make them gobble too. During the daytime if a bird is hammering a crow or other loud noise will often make him gobble too. You can use locator calls if you like but I don't use them so I can't help much there. I will make some cutts on my tube call to try and get a response, that will make them gobble sometimes.

If you get on a lone gobbler you have good odds. Sometimes they sound off on their own and sometimes another sound will make em shock gobble. but I usually hear birds like this in the later morning after the flocks have split up

Again this is just my 2 cents and I have limited experience so take it with a grain of salt. I am going by what I have experienced in the woods myself and birds do not always follow the books on what to gobble at and where to strut and when.
 

AT Hiker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
11,454
Location
Clarksville, Tennessee
All great advice! One thing you will learn though is, once you think you got these critters figured out...they will show you up! So take it from me, never underestimate them! Your arsenal book will grow bigger every year, and it will evolve as well.

1.) Turkeys roost where they feel safe, unpressured birds tend to roost close to a field edge on the side of a ridge/hill in hardwoods. These birds tend to flock together as well, meaning lots of birds roosting together. Pressured birds seem to roost further in the woods (a.k.a further away from other predators/hunters). They will tend to be more spread out and typically quite when they fly off roost. They will also roost in hardwoods that provide cover, but allow them to spot preds if they can. Once again, usually on the side of a ridge.

2.) Strut areas are actually everywhere this time of year, but along your lines of thinking a strut area is usually a open/flat spot. This could be a feild, road, hardwood bottom, or a wooded flat on the side of a ridge. Think deer and terrain when looking at a map for turkeys; saddles, bottoms, ridges, etc are all turkey spots in big woods. They will avoid thickets usually, burned areas are great a week after the burn (sometimes sooner). This time of year, your strut zones are gonna be where the hens are...right now most seem to be feeding. Look for red oaks, old corn crops, maybe freshly disced ground. Not a lot of bugs out yet, so they are fairly limited.

3.) If your area has a lot of birds in it, let them do the talking early daybreak. It usually only takes one or two birds to gobble and it seems to get all the others into gear. Owl calls can be effective in the early morning pre-dawn hours, but it seems everyone uses it. I like a crow call, coyote howl/bark, elk buggle, and peacock. This will make them gobble, but it can also ruin your hunt. So limit all (except crow call) until you are for sure there are no turkeys close by. Believe it or not a crow call before sun up is effective, but I prefer to let them (the turkeys) do the talking first.

If its a new area and you have no clue where they roost, find a high spot and listen. Know the terrain as well as you can so you can make a wise move on them. If they are quite right before sunup, or you hear turkeys gobble in the distance but none in your area...give them a few moments then give the crow call a shot.

This is all from my book of turkey hunting failures, you will write your own, but a little plagiarism is acceptable.

Good luck!
 

Trevor2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
2,244
Location
sunbright,tn
One thing to add to all the great advice. Don't try to call them down hill. It can be done but is very hard to do. Ger on the same level with them or above them.
 

deerfanatic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2002
Messages
242
Location
Savannah,TN
They will sit on the roost longer on foggy mornings sometimes. I bumped one of roost one morning at 8:45 but it was extremely foggy and I just couldn't believe they were still on roost. When I use decoys I usually jus use a lone hen. I don't like to carry in any more than is absolutely necesary. Work slowly and never get in a hurry. If you are working a gobbler and another hen starts to call you need to try to either get between the gobbler and real hen or copy every call she makes. It will make her mad and she will sometimes come looking for you and do th calling for you. Don't make a peep when she gets fairly close. She will be the best decoy you can get. Good luck.
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
Trevor2 said:
One thing to add to all the great advice. Don't try to call them down hill. It can be done but is very hard to do. Ger on the same level with them or above them.
I have heard this and I always try to get the upper ground. But yesterday when I called a bird off private land onto public land (and then proceeded to miss 3 shots at him), he was on ridge top fields and worked his way around and down the hill into the bottomland where I was set up.
 

G8rntn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
1,940
Location
Cleveland, Tn
AUhunter said:
A few questions from a novice just trying to get started turkey hunting. I went this morning in Hickman County, called two gobblers in to about 20 yards (no idea how I did it though as my calling is bad!!!!) around 11:30 but couldn't get a shot. Help a brother out on the questions I have from this morning:

1. Do the birds always leave the roost at 1st light or is it dependant on the weather, temps, etc.
2. Is it standard practice to walk and call till you hear a gobble? That's what we did this morning and it turned out OK.
3. Once a bird gets within 50 yards, do you still call or just let them come in themselves? If you call, what do you do and how often?
4. Are decoys needed and if so do you do just hens, hens and jakes or what?
5. Do the birds act differently on a sunny morning vs. a cloudy one? I'm guessing they don't hit the fields in the cloudy conditions like they would in the sun.
5. How do you hunt in the afternoons? Just more walking and calling or is there another strategy?

Thanks in advance Guys and Happy Hunting!!!!

Heading to Hickman this Friday myself... U hunting public? Heard they cut a ton...
 

AUhunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
Messages
58
Location
North Alabama
Not public. In a club in Only off Only Road about a mile off the interstate as the crow flies. I'm in the club mainly for deer but have gotten more interested in turkey over the past year or two.
 
Top