Front range Colorado birds

Joined
Apr 12, 2017
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8
Location
Denver Colorado
Looking to get a little advice/insight on turkey hunting the mountains. This is my first year going after long beards in Colorado. I have harvested birds in Ohio, Kentucky and Nebraska but I have just spent three days in areas 501 and 511 looking for birds. I put almost 30 miles on foot between locations on and off trail. I tried locator calls both crow and owl, tried hen calls with no luck of hearing or seeing a single bird. This is frustrating in compares to hunting out east where birds are easy to locate. My questions are, are the birds still not that excited right now? Is the population vs area to run the problem? Are these birds going to be in drainage/ lower areas or working ridges? I mostly hiked the ridges where I could call into bigger areas, looking for any advice. I saw a couple of tracks crossing roads but were not fresh. If anybody is in the front range area and is looking to get out and turkey hunt I'd enjoy the opportunity to team up. Thanks again for any help/wisdom
 

vanish

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May 26, 2016
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534
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Colorado
Sounds like you are in one of the better areas. Front Range Merriams are a tough nut to crack. I hunted 6 days last year and never saw or heard a bird or even found sign for that matter.

This year I found some right away, but I am not the only one who knows where they are hanging and I'm concerned about them getting pushed out before I can make things happen. I scouted all around the area and as close as 1/2 mile away from "the zone" there isn't any sign of turkeys at all. I, too, have had no luck with intentional shock calling, even though I read that's the most effective way to find birds.
 

LongWayAround

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Aug 10, 2015
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I filled my OTC tag down low in a drainage Saturday. Last year and three years ago I got my bird high on a ridge. Two years ago I struck out.

The birds are few and far between out here. You're dealing with very localized flocks that can be highly nomadic.

I know places that have turkeys and I still can't always find them. They might be high on a burnt ridge, hanging out in the ponderosas, or burried in dark timber. The first mountain bird I killed took me until the last Saturday of the season, having hunted three days a week every week.

Try talking to the locals and just asking if there are turkeys around the area. I've found a few isolated spots this way.

I grew up hunting the Midwest and it's a totally different ballgame when you're after mountain birds. If you strike one up he might gobble 100 times. Or you might get a response a mile away and when you get there...nothing.
 
OP
W
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Apr 12, 2017
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Denver Colorado
I really appreciate you guys taking time to reply. I'm going to keep after it, sounds like it's kind of a luck game. Not what I'm used to but I will be getting after it when I'm free. I stopped in the ranger station and asked to talk to the biologist. She was a young lady who unfortunately didn't have much detailed info. Just "I've seen them over here or I've seen them over there" haha not what I was kinda hoping for some better detail but hey that's better then nothing I reckon. Thanks again guys
 
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OP
W
Joined
Apr 12, 2017
Messages
8
Location
Denver Colorado
I really appreciate you guys taking time to reply. I'm going to keep after it, sounds like it's kind of a luck game. Not what I'm used to but I will be getting after it when I'm free. I stopped in the ranger station and asked to talk to the biologist. She was a young lady who unfortunately didn't have much detailed info. Just "I've seen them over here or I've seen them over there" haha not what I was kinda hoping for some better detail but hey that's better then nothing I reckon. Thanks again guys
 

vanish

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May 26, 2016
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534
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Colorado
I finally managed to roost one. Got in there 45 minutes before light as I figured I had enough time before work to make it happen and wound up much closer than anticipated. It paid off, but I flubbed it! There was a bit of a rise between the Tom and I when he finally flew down, and I misjudged the amount of clearance I had through the scope. Blasted that rise good :D That was a real heartbreaker.

20170411_063324.jpg

Last night didn't find any birds until 8 minutes before closing. I finally managed to shock call one with the crow call. I was hoping to roost him, but he was still on his feet, and moving away fast. He moved out of pre-work day reachable range and I had to bail on following him, but I know there's at least one still around.
 
OP
W
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Apr 12, 2017
Messages
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Location
Denver Colorado
Little update, went out in a different unit last week near salida. Found a bunch of birds all posted up on private property. I was able to locate some birds in the morning and called them in off the roost but turned out to be a hen and super young jake. Going to head out again this week back in Pike NF most likely. Hoping to find a roost and put it all together! best of luck guys
 

justin davis

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Feb 24, 2012
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Colorado
I found that there are a lot more birds down in southern Colorado as well as southwest Colorado compared to the front range. There is also a reason why so many guys go to other states to hunt turkeys!!! Colorado isn't that great! You can hunt all season long and if you get 1 chance on a mountain bird your doing good!
 

LongWayAround

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Aug 10, 2015
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Good luck man.

My lady hammered her first bird Easter Sunday before brunch at 12 yards doing the dance.

Then, I spent the week out of town working on a ranch in the mountains that turned out to be loaded with turkeys. I had them gobbling at the utv when I would pull up. I'm going to head back and try to get access across the adjacent subdivision to the national forest.
 

Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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Generally speaking Front Range birds on public land generally get quite a bit of pressure and are fairly sparse. There is often an incredible amount of country with few birds. Once you find an isolated area that holds birds...stick with it and sooner or later you'll have success! I know spots on private or land that doesn't allow hunting on the Front Range where I see turkeys just about every time I'm there. They obviously know where they are safe...and are often fed! What makes it even tougher where I hunt is there are so many predators. The turkeys know if they make much noise they will be eaten by the many coyotes, bobcats, mtn lions, and bears! In fact, I called in a giant chocolate black bear a couple years ago. He had drool coming out his mouth and I had to wave my arms to get him to turn the other way! It's pretty tough locating turkeys if they are quiet...especially if there is lots of country and it's difficult to glass with fairly dense trees. Stick with it and you'll get one!
 

justin davis

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Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,406
Location
Colorado
Generally speaking Front Range birds on public land generally get quite a bit of pressure and are fairly sparse. There is often an incredible amount of country with few birds. Once you find an isolated area that holds birds...stick with it and sooner or later you'll have success! I know spots on private or land that doesn't allow hunting on the Front Range where I see turkeys just about every time I'm there. They obviously know where they are safe...and are often fed! What makes it even tougher where I hunt is there are so many predators. The turkeys know if they make much noise they will be eaten by the many coyotes, bobcats, mtn lions, and bears! In fact, I called in a giant chocolate black bear a couple years ago. He had drool coming out his mouth and I had to wave my arms to get him to turn the other way! It's pretty tough locating turkeys if they are quiet...especially if there is lots of country and it's difficult to glass with fairly dense trees. Stick with it and you'll get one!
Yea ain't that the truth. Years ago i was hunting some birds and would hear some gobbles and then the gobbles would stop. I couldn't figure out why the birds would just shut down.

Then one morning was calling and there was a bird rooster nearby. I noticed 3 coyotes sitting there staring at me. That's when I figured out what was going on!
 

vanish

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May 26, 2016
Messages
534
Location
Colorado
My bird is in the meatpole thread. :)

Made a bonsai pre-work morning hunt on Wednesday with my wife. Had two jakes to 30 yards as they followed the hen looking for me. She didn't shoot. I was mystified as she's never taken a turkey. Her response? They looked small compare to my gobbler. Argh! :D
 
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