My hunting partner and I decided to take the plunge and try turkey hunting before I start work and he heads to Alaska. We need some advice on what to expect, calls etc. Any help will be appreciated. We are going general turkey in unit 2.
This will be my first season as well. S.E. Ga archery turkey opens end of March. Picked up a slate call and a hen decoy. I watched a bunch of youtube videos on calling. Seems like the key is to not call too much, it will drive the Toms away. I'm gonna grab a crow call as well, for a locator call. Seems the Turkeys will respond when a crow calls in the area. I have no experience with turkeys, just doing alot of research, here,old Gobbler and on AT.
Well good luck to you sir. I hadn't thought of YouTube. In your research did you find it better to have a hen decoy or Tom?
Is where you're hunting really wide open or lots of woods? Do you think you will be finding them (on the ground) and then trying to setup in their path or are you going to be in their early to find them on the roost and try and call them in?
In most situations runin a jake and hen decoy together will keep most toms from hanging up but if you get a satalite tom whose had his butt whipped a few times they might shy away from the jake deke. I suggest get both and take them along on every hunt better to have them and not need them then to need them and not have them. Feather flex makes a very lite and easy to carry decoy and there cheap too look'em up
Elk bugles work good to shock them as well, if you're hunting them where there's elk. You can use the same diaphragm call as well. Really messes with other hunters though.Get your basics down, 3-5 note yelps,clucks and purrs your cadence and rythem are more important then tone asfar as the crow call goes you can shock gobble a turke with a lot of things a dog whistle (the ones humans can't hear) owl hoots, (work good in the morning) or coyote howls ofrom a distance), i.ve also used a short reed goose calls as there are a lot of breading pairs of canads around.
Put it more into the obnoxious fun category than "tried and true tactics". I've done it a couple times in NW NE, and it worked, but I'm pretty sure a Tarzan yell might have gotten them to sound off as well.Never heard of the elk bugle idea. I may have to try that theory out. Sounds interesting.
I would say a mix. It's going to be small junipers with open meadows with mix of forest. I am going to guess I am going to try and set up in there paths.
I hunt easterns here in Iowa, but have heard that merriams are more vocal than the easterns, especially when they are on the ground. I don't' know this for a fact though, for I have never hunted that species.
This is a typical hunt here. Get into where you think or know they are roosting. The birds are the most vocal (gobbling) when they are still on the roost. As it gets light out and the woods start to wake you can use some type of shock call, I use a crow (mostly) and goose call, to entice the birds to give away their position. If you don't hear any then keep walking and try the shock call again. During this time you don't know where the birds are and are waiting for them to tell you where they are. When/if you do hear one, or more, pick the one that sounds the most "fired up" and try to quickly and quietly get to within 60 - 100 yards from their roost and set out the dekes. I try and set the dekes around 15 yards. That way if they hang up and won't commit they should still be within shotgun distance. I have tried to keep getting closer and closer and have got busted because of this. It's not worth getting ultra close. Very rarely will they fly down into your spread anyways. Now there isn't a lot of time to find these birds on the roost and get into position. On a usual morning they will be gobbling on the roost for maybe 15 to 20 minutes before they fly down and typically shut up.
Now to actually calling to the birds. I have found that less is more. You want to play hard to get. While still on the roost I will let out a few tree yelps (imagine a hen just waking up from sleeping all night and these are the first words out of her mouth, softer and like she is still half asleep is how I picture it) and will usually get cut off by multiple gobbles. Once you know that the birds know that there is a hen over there you want to shut up. I might throw out another series of yelps if it has been ~8+ minutes and they are still in the tree. I want to remind them that I'm still there before they fly down. When you stop hearing gobbling it usually means they have flown down and are now looking for hens to mate with. I will throw out another series of yelps when I know they are on the ground. These yelps will be a little louder and more excited than the tree yeps. I will then wait a good 15 minutes before throwing out another series of yelps and maybe a few excited cuts. If you get a bird that is cutting you off you want to get them fired up and then stop calling. Their curiosity will kill them.
Like elk hunting you want to get the toms so curious that they want to come and check it out. If you can't seem to call in the toms, do some aggressive purring with some puts and yelps and try to call in the hens and hopefully the toms will follow.
During the day you can throw out excited yelps and cuts and hope for a tom to respond. If you don't hear anything, walk another 150 yards and throw it out again. Sooner or later one will answer, hopefully. During the day the birds will have hangouts where they try and pick up chicks. If you know these areas you can always set up there and wait.
Now keep in mind this is how I hunt easterns in Iowa, where I am either setting up in the woods or on field edges. I have never hunted merriams so they might be totally different, but I doubt it. This will give you a place to start at least. If you have any questions or if I didn't explain anything clearly just ask. How is Laramie these days? I lived there for 2.5 years while getting my masters at the University. I miss the place.
First off, thanks for writing such a detailed post!!! That info will help a LOT!!! I may have some questions for you soon. Writing a presentation right now. Oh good ole laramie is cold and snowy. What did you get your masters in?