Western turkey trip woes

tbowers

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
144
Got back from a trip out West from WI. Been out there the past several years and had decent action. 6 of us were out there for 3.5 days and we killed one bird. I put around 25 miles on the boots and hundreds on the vehicle- the lack of birds was nuts. In all those miles we ran across one group of 5 jakes, 2 toms and some odd hens here and there. The few gobblers there were wouldnt respond to calls for the most part, they would gobble back on the roost of course, fly down, gobble a few more times then wander off. The closest I got was one on the roost that was gobbling well but then another hunter was also on the same bird so I gave up on that one.

We tried getting FAR off roads, we hunted until almost 2pm each day which was 9 hours. Every bird we ran into was within 200 yards of a 'major' road . If you put on that many miles/hours here in WI you will blindly run into dozens of birds. I had talked to Fish and Game prior to going and they noted populations were 'good' , whatever that might mean. We talked to other hunters and experiences were the same, some guys killed a couple jakes but never saw a Tom in 7 days. Another group hunted 3 days and never heard or saw a bird.

Anyone else having similar experience across the west- MT,NE, SD areas? I just couldnt believe it after having the past several years be pretty good and no 'bad' reports from F&G of populations being down.
 

j_volt

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 15, 2019
Messages
402
Location
Missouri
I hunted out west for Merriams for the first time this spring. I don't have much to compare it to, but it seemed like there were a lot of birds. There was definitely a ton of pressure and the weather sucked, but my dad and I ended up filling all 4 of our tags in a day and a half. I do think we got very lucky, but we also saw a ton of (henned up) birds. By my count, we saw approximately 25 Jakes, 15 Toms, and 100 hens in 1.5 days of public hunting. The biggest challenge was getting the Toms away from the hens as it seemed the recent snow must have kept the hens from having laid eggs yet (or they lost their nests and restarted). We had the most luck on small pieces of public instead of the giant expanses with a truck at every pull off.
 

dtrkyman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
1,744
I killed 3 birds in two states out west, probably averaged 12-14 miles per day on my boots!

Did not see lot's of birds or hear much gobbling, mostly due to the crazy winds! The birds I killed came to the call on a string though.

Mountain turkeys are definitely not in every canyon, vast areas of nothing with some key places holding birds. Problem is most flocks people know about and get a fair amount of pressure.

J volt that is a lot of birds in that amount of time!

Also I killed a bird late last season and there were jake's everywhere back in there, scouted it the first day I got to the area and zero sign! Mountain turkeys definitely move.

Not sure if you were hunting Mountains or not but all the birds I killed this year were in completely different areas than last!
 
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T

tbowers

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
144
I tried areas that held birds last year, and explored many miles of new country. I know Merriams never stop moving but populations in the area I was in must be WAY down to walk and drive that many miles and have one guy out of 6 kill a bird in 3.5 days. The hunting pressure overall didnt seem bad, ran into a few but there is miles of country to spread out in.
 

Titan_Bow

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
963
Location
Broomfield, CO
Where I hunt in Western Nebraska the drought has really impacted populations. I also think the lack of planting on state land had had a negative impact as well. I still got my bird out there this year with my bow, and was into turkeys every day, but not to the extent that I had been say in the same areas say 5 or 7 years ago. Where I hunt, turkey populations are fairly cyclical and ebb and flow somewhat with drought conditions.
I’m headed up to the black hills in Wyoming this weekend to try and get another one.


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