Contributors to this thread:
2016 Nor-Cal Turkey Quest.....
Well its that special time of the year again where everything is green and turkeys are heard roaring through the woods. Joe, Brent, and I have a lot of great hunts planned ahead of us with several friends, family, Bowsiter’s and their kids. Can’t wait to start hunting and bring you stories of our hunts along with photos. Things are looking great for this season as we’ve been getting a lot of good rain. If anyone has questions or comments in regards to turkey hunting tactics or anything else related feel free to ask away. We like sharing and helping hunter’s succeed as much as possible in any way.
Again, any debate, negative, or self-inflating comments will be removed and blocked. This is and should be a special positive time in the spring woods and on this site so no need for that non-sense.
That being said good luck to everyone this spring and we can’t wait to read everyone else’s post about their hunts and success. To start it off, here are some scouting photographs Joe and I have taken. Ill start it off with one of my favorite pics so far taken by Joe. Enjoy!
Mid day bird doing the death gobble!
Little footage if you havent seen it to pass the time until opening day.
This should be excellent again..as usual!
The birds here at home are really starting to strut. Spring is coming!
I'm a kid... Who likes beer.
Those are some monster toms! You certainly are lucky to have such a great spot to hunt. I'm curious how big the place you hunt is and is it all the same land owner...or do you hunt several places? It's a little tough to tell from the pics but I am guessing your turkeys are considered rios? I'm pretty much a turkey junky since starting 4 seasons ago. Another question that comes to mind is how do you tell how old a tom is? I imagine longer beards and spurs likely mean a little older tom. I think I've heard that older toms have more wing flight feathers? Some of the oldest toms I've harvested in Nebraska tend to have a lot bigger heads. I've also noticed that they have around 20 tail feathers. Good luck this season!
OK, while we're playing 29 questions...
Curious what's the best set of hooks you guys have taken?
...same for body weight of a bird you've weighed?
Man, Jims, you're really putting a lot of thought and study into this. Pretty sure I know what Chris and Joe will say, though.
The Treadwell weekend will be epic, I may have to set a day aside to get up there.
Joe and Chris will surely respond to your questions but I can confirm they are rios. I took my best bird up there with them last year as far as hooks go and got a sweet double beard the year before.
This year we are ready to step it up a notch, can't wait!
"Those are some monster toms! You certainly are lucky to have such a great spot to hunt. I'm curious how big the place you hunt is and is it all the same land owner...or do you hunt several places? It's a little tough to tell from the pics but I am guessing your turkeys are considered rios? I'm pretty much a turkey junky since starting 4 seasons ago. Another question that comes to mind is how do you tell how old a tom is? I imagine longer beards and spurs likely mean a little older tom. I think I've heard that older toms have more wing flight feathers? Some of the oldest toms I've harvested in Nebraska tend to have a lot bigger heads. I've also noticed that they have around 20 tail feathers. Good luck this season!"
Its big private public rugged monster and has a couple birds on it... yes Rios. best way to age a bird is by their spurs as beards rot and break off easily. spurs after 4 years can also shed their outter layer off too. ive seen it multiple times in the fall for some odd reason. good luck to you as well!
Writer, best hooks I've killed were 1.5" and heaviest bird I've killed was 25# (both from the same bird). I've killed quite a few in the 1.25-1.5" range. Most birds we kill are between 18-22#. Longest beard for me was 11.25"
Man I'm getting excited!
Well if those pics don't get you fired up, I don't know what will!
Anxiously counting down the days and looking forward to all the stories you guys will be sharing with us.
Good luck guys... we start next Tuesday the 15th.
About the same here. I'm not sure I've seen a bird taken in Kansas with a beard longer than 11 1/4", though I've been in on two legit 12"-plus in other states (Missouri and Texas).
And despite all the years, and all the states, and all the kills I've been part of, I've yet to touch a bird that weighed more than 24 pounds on good scales. We kill a lot of 18-22# around here.
Then again, I'm not much for shopping for turkeys, nor are those I take. The first longbeard in is leaving dead or scared.
We should have a decent crop of two-year-olds this spring. :-)
You mention rain...Lil Nino is back!
So last season we had a few occasions where we were on henned up birds and longbeards fighting where they wouldn't commit to our setup. Also my third bird of last season was hung up and wouldn't commit so a "jake sneak" (holding the jake in front of you as you sneak crawl in) was executed to get the bird to come in the last few yards to give me a shot. For these situations I've always wanted to "reap" or "turkey reaping" and find out the results. Well this year I came across a deal on a Montana decoy I liked for this purpose, which was dang near free. This thing folds up and will be in the back of my vest in case it's needed. I did a little alterations to it so it would attach to my bow and I could shoot through it. I will still be using my DSD's decoys to start but if the situation calls for the secret weapon deek I'll pull it out.. 8 days until Ryan's out here for the junior season then an additional 7 days until all the games begin. Can't wait!!!!!
Yes maybe Justin's heads up decoy kill last year got me a little more commited to trying this ;-)
Trkyslr - looks about as good as this manufactured decoy. My best turkey ever came deep in the heart of the Ozarks (OZARK CO. MO) with just my bow, au Natural. That's been at least 20 yrs ago. I didn't have any celebrities with me(baggage). Wanting to try something "new" and different again. Always enjoy your pictures.
Shortbeard ya I've seen that one too. Thanks for the post and kind comment. Good luck to you this spring and like to hear how your hunts go.
Wow, great decoy, Shortbeard.
But it would never work in Alabama. Down there the turkeys would recognize that as a Rio Grande turkey and would have nothing to do with it.
They're that smart down there! :-)
Little afternoon scouting
Go get em! This thread might be as close as it gets for me this year!
All dressed up and ready for a funeral - their own. :-)
You must have good hatches about every year?
You know, you keep posting those pics, the poor boy who is flying in is going to flunk of out school he'll be so distracted...
Lol good one Michael. Yes the last few years the hatches have been great with the mild (drought) springs. I've been seeing a lot of longbeards so far but also a ton a jakes. This could be one of the highest gobbling filled springs here in years ,,,, I plan on being a small reason causing that ;-)
Yes Ryan is jacked and so am I ... Gonna be a blast!
Looking good! Chris, let us know how the modified MT decoy works out!
"You know, you keep posting those pics, the poor boy who is flying in is going to flunk of out school he'll be so distracted..."
LOL, that is incredibly true! Ryan is super pumped to come out there and anytime I even look at my phone or computer he asks me "What are you looking at, Dad? Is that something about the hunt?" He wants to see every picture and post related to it for sure. He was excited, but the video Chris posted a few days ago pushed him over the top!
Ton of jakes = Holy Crap is next year going to fun!"
That means you'll probably have at least three-quarters of a ton of two-year-old turkeys. With that many two year olds, they'll be running in packs, and every additional two year old turkey in a pack triples the testosterone and decreases the average intelligence by a third.
Shoot, even I sound like I know what I'm doing when the woods are full of two-year-olds!
Good for Ryan, this is a trip he'll be telling his grandkids about long after you're gone, Scoot.
I'd tell you to be sure to enjoy every second, but you're a good enough dad you already have that figured out.
ha ha... I hope Ryan gets to do more than unfriend one!!!
That's funny Scott! T minus 6 days!
Are you shooting that 150 VPA Chris?
125's.. Might throw the spur model into the quiver
Great weather for this weekends junior season... Gonna be awesome! Can't wait to see Ryan smoke a big ol longbeard!
C'mon, Ryan doesn't need luck.
He's heading out with Super Dad, and hunting with Turkey Team 6. Those guys kill more turkeys than the Butterball plant.
Chris is so good with that slate, when he gets it fired up the flocks of turkeys flying in from surrounding states are big enough to show up on weather satellites.
Shoot, TBM PAYS Chris and Joe to stay at least two states away from Alabama so they don't devastate that population, too.
Will it be legal if Ryan shoots all three turkeys, with one arrow, and one shot?
Remember, Ryan, these guys are pros, so be picky and hold out for a bird with a beard that's at least 14 inches, or smaller!
Lol you guys are too much! Thanks for the week wishes-- can't wait to get there. Plane leaves in 7 hours and the family will good of for a few days before the hunt. The whole thing should be a blast.
Ryan , good luck buddy and remember aim small miss small!!! Hammertime. Hunt
"TBM PAYS Chris and Joe to stay at least two states away from Alabama so they don't devastate that population, too"
Have a good time men!
Ryan can't wait to have ya here buddy. Chris an I were talkin on the phone tonight Goin over strategies and plans. It's gonna be awesome. If only we could quit our day jobs and just hunt for 3 weeks straight. Gibble gibble!! :-) (intentionally mispelled)
Will there be a seperate thread for Ryan's hunt or will it be here? Can't wait to follow along with the action !
Go get em boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
timbrhuntr, im guessing scott will do a separate thread but we'll add info of the hunt here.
Chris- I'm happy to do it however you prefer. I kinda feel like I'm just along for the ride on this one...
In SLC airport with the family now. Last leg of the trip out in 20 minutes. Heading for San Fran first then joining the guys on Friday.
Thanks just don't wanna miss any of the action we don't open here in Ontario until the 25th of April and I am already seeing strutters all over need a fix and this is good one !
Shooting dimes with the kill arrow and ready to get it bloody. Soaking and breaking in the mouth calls as well. Can't wait! I may be more excited about this season then any past season. Can't wait!
Nice shooting Chris! I can't wait to hear about Ryan's hunt this weekend. If he's even half as excited for it as my daughter is for turkey opener here then I understand what Scott's putting up with! It's a good problem to have! Best of luck to you gentlemen this spring! We want skunk hat and kill pics by Monday! Ha!
Get 'em boys! Good stuff you're doing for our sport Chris and Joe. Hope Ryan brings enough arrows. Will he have 3 tags or just one?
Thanks guys! 2 tags for Ryan as the junior season is the weekend days and Cali only allows one bird a day.
Good luck Ryan and Scoot. You're in pretty "capable" hands...:) Can't wait to hear the stories on this junior hunt.
WHAT! Ryan and Scoot are coming to town!
I'AM OUT OF THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OR ELSE I AM COOKED FOR SURE!
Love it Paul! Got Saturday's roost location set and saw a lot of birds... Should have some action! Ryan we hope you like to hear birds gobble?!!!!!!
Scoot, when you get a chance, how about an update on Ryan's equipment? Some of us working with young people might benefit.
Can't wait to see and hear the stories of the hunt. It's going to be great. Western birds love to gobble. Hope you hear a few 100 the first day!! Hunt
Hunt we should..... Maybe even the first hour! ;-)
Well try to "milk" the hunt longer than "Maybe even the first hour."
With that many birds around, you might wait until afternoon allowing you to take lots of pictures.
We look forward to the color commentary on the play by play!!!
Good luck to all.....what a treat!
Good luck in the morning. Looking forward to seeing a smiling Ryan with big old gobbler!
Go get 'em Ryan! Looking forward to seeing some feathers on the ground in the morning!
All tuned up and ready for the morning... I can't wait!
Great form, Ryan....I see many dead turks in your future!
That didn't take long ..Way to go guys !
Man I have been smiling all morning. Congrats guys. Hammertime. Classic photo to. Hunt
Yowza ! That's a nice set of spurs looks like you put the young man on a beauty and he got it done quickly !
That is an awesome picture. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!
Good shootin' Ryan! Awesome!
I do hope you showed the young man how such birds will hang from tree limbs by their spurs.
Looking forward to details, and more photography.
Well it was an awesome morning!!! Got into the blind and were set with deeks at 8 yards. Began to get light and pack of yellow dogs began howling behind us and the nearby roost trees 60-80 yards away erupted with gobbles... Prob heard 200+ gobbles this morning... Gave them my tree talk, wing flaps, fly down chatter, and on the ground aggressive rasp. Birds began flying down and we quickly had a bird in front of us 60 yards just over the rise.. A few soft seductive get the heck over here yelps and he was slowly working in.. He then Spotted the deeks and inched a little quicker.. Then the giant beast saw the jake decoy and his mood changed as he quickly marched right in.. He was a giant old bird we could see had massive hooks.. The monarch began beating the jake decoy and Ryan came to full draw.. As the bird pecked the Jake he paused and paid the price as Ryan's shot flew true. His head shot with the bullhead was perfect and the bird dropped then flopped about 12 yards before expiring. It was awesome with many high fives, hugs, and hootin n holloring.... We were so fired up!!!! Ryan was on cloud 9... I then walked up to the bird and about fell over when I saw the Spurs up close... Straight daggers!!! Easy 5-6 year old bird.. Super beard and heavy weight.. We then enjoyed hearing other birds in the distance, watching and hearing some Canadian honkers pass by.... We then did our pics and ventured around to a few other spots scouting for tmrw and the season. In a little bit we will be caring on a tradition so standby for that ;-) But in the meantime how about some pics! Great day! Congrats to Ryan!!
Bird stats 23#, 11.5" beard, 1.5" Spurs, age as old as he'll get now!
Them's some big ass spurs! Congrats Ryan!
I'm thinking dad's going to be flipping for a taxi bill on that one!
Ryan, you've already killed the biggest bird of your life!!!!
OK, since you have the quality, it's time to work on the quantity.
Looking forward to seeing pics of tomorrow's bird, too.
And the group pic!!! Thanks again for everyone following and to those who helped Ryan make this possible with your contributions.
That almost brought as big a smile to my face as the big one on Ryan's face and everyone else's involved.
Those types of smiles will NEVER go away.
Great going everyone.
my best, Paul
Heck yea!! Attaboy, Ryan!
Writer, he's shooting a Mission craze at 43 lbs. Easton Axis at 440 grains. 125 bullheads. This set up worked great this morning! Chris and Joe delivered a great experience and Ryan made good on his opportunity. Wonderful morning in the blind and a great time watching my son get a smile that is ear to ear.
Congrats to you all for making this dream come true!!!
Super bird is right.....what a giant!!!
Way to go Ryan!!!
What a monster bird!
Ryan, you've got one of the top smiles on Bowsite!!
Nice work team, and congrat's on your first of many Ryan!
Awesome Ryan! What a gobbler to take on the first morning! Congrats!
We're using the Victory arrows at 45 #.
Kyle, pretty sure that's his second turkey. His bird last year is one of my favorite Bowsite stories.
Great, great team, from shooter, to father, to new friends.
Ryan, I've literally killed a semi trailer heaping full of turkeys but I'm VERY envious of you, kid! :-)
How does someone miss with arrows this big?!!!!
Update.... Joe might have an update for tmrw's morning location. ;-)
Scouted our morning spot this eve. Looking promising as I stopped counting at 12 longbeards. I got some great video and a few roost tree pix. Here is one that might possibly living his last night.. Well see
What a great day it was today. Got to watch Ryan make some memories that will be with him forever. He said about 10 times today "this is the best day ever" so awesome to be able to be part of that. Hoping tomorrow is the same. Here is the major roost if you look close there is about 30 birds in this tree. Gibble gibble :-)
Are communal roosts like that normal in California?
Congratulations Ryan... awesome gobbler!!!
More pics and updates to come, but man what a day and what a trip! Very interesting happenings today! I've got an exhausted, excited, frustrated, appreciative kid tonight. I'm humbled and appreciative of Chris and Joe's efforts more than I can put to words. More details to come!
Well this was one heck of a great weekend. Today was action packed, with blind and natural setups, with passed on birds within easy range (Ryan's choice on jakes), lessons learned on opportunities and great times with our new good friends. Ryan is one heck of a young bowhunter who is just starting to stack up game. I'm very happy both Scott and Ryan made it out to let Joe and I share with them one of favorite seasons and times of the year to be in the woods. We had a great time and Ryan loved the sweet taste of success as seen in this pic. It was great start to our 2016 season and it involved probably the biggest bird we'll kill and or be apart of this year. Ryan's shot on that giant bird was epic and the video footage is superb. Ryan set the bar pretty high. Ryan is the Future of Hunting. We got some more great photos and video today, which we'll add later. Hope everyone's enjoyed the updates.
Writer, yes majority of the time each year the birds roost in the same roost trees on ones nearby. Roost trees aren't around every bush or over every hill so most of the premium roost sites are used every spring, every fall, and sometimes both.
OK, we headed down the road this afternoon (sadly) and are checked into a hotel. Ryan and I are back with the girls and we'll finish our family/hunting trip tomorrow and fly home on Tues morning.
I planned on updating in this thread while we were in CA more, but it turned out I didn't get any cell reception at Chris's house, so I haven't posted much. However, I took a ton of pics and have lots of share about this trip.
Before I say anymore about that, I want to get to something that is really important: I want to thank those who helped get Ryan out to California to hunt turkeys. Mark Watkins, Alexis Desjardins, Andy (Ghostbird), Justin (Brotsky), and Zack & Anne Walton (Zackman) all helped out in getting Ryan out here and we are extremely thankful and appreciative of that! In addition to those fine people, obviously Chris and Joe deserve a HUGE thank you from us. What a generous and selfless offer this whole thing was and the thought of my son winning it and getting this once-in-a-lifetime experience as a result is just amazing.
Chris and Joe couldn't have been better! Chris and his family welcomed us into their home for the weekend and took great care of us. They treated us like family (well... better than some of my family treats me actually). Joe took the full weekend off and spent it babysitting us for the whole weekend. Both of them taught us so much it really steepened the learning curve for Ryan and me hugely regarding turkeys. Ryan got six years worth of turkey experience compared to what we get at home! Plus, Chris and Joe were just GREAT guys- I enjoyed every minute with them and honestly, I can't say enough good things about them. Great guys, weekend, and experience for my son, and really a wonderful weekend being a dad watching my son get to experience something that most kids won't be lucky enough to get to do. Chris and Joe- I owe you guys big time for making this weekend such a great experience and I'll be more than happy to return the favor in any way I can.
These guys are the real deal, by the way! In addition to being really, really knowledgable turkey guys, they are blacktail whisperers! I'm not one to go all "fan boy" on people typically, but I will tell you fellow bowsiters that if they get a fan club, I'll be first in line to join! Ryan will be right behind me too! :) In all seriousness, Chris and Joe are a whole lot like me with regard passion for archery- they eat, sleep, and breath it and we got along pretty dang well as a result.
There's one heck of a fun update coming regarding Sunday's happenings! We had some really, really cool interactions and Ryan had a handful of opportunities or near opportunities on Sunday. It was quite the day! Chris and Joe will post some pics and video in the next while and I'll chime in occasionally too. I won't be home until Wed, so I'll have hit and miss access to the internet. Plus, I just found out I've got an inch of water in my basement due to a failed sump pump, so things might be a mess when I get back for a few days. I'll try add my two cents when I get a chance though...
Thanks for following along and for all the kind comments- they're very much appreciated!
SitO, the bird from Saturday is actually Ryan's 3rd turkey. He shot a nice tom when he was ten (story on bowsite), shot a great bird that allowed him to win the FOH contest (story on bowsite), and then he shot this bird on Saturday. However, none of them were as big as that whopper from this weekend- what a monster! We only saw one bird on Saturday morning (heard a boatload of them, but just saw the one), but it was the right bird! He put on a great show for us and Ryan did his part like a seasoned veteran. He made a great shot, with Chris calling him in and Joe taking some really great video (stay tuned for that). I just sat back and snapped some pictures- I'm kinda a slacker!
Get home safely boys. Looking forward to the Sunday update, sounds like a doozy!
Chris/Joe, thank you again for doing the future of hunting contest last year. My daughter had an amazing time trying to kill her turkey and win your contest. It turned her into a turkey hunter for life. She's already dialed in and ready to go for our opener in a couple of weeks and I have no doubt she's going to get her first bird this year. Thanks for all you did for Ryan and for sharing with the rest of Bowsite. First rate. Good luck on the rest of your season, looking forward to following along.
Ryan passed on jakes first thing in the morning. He stated he'd shoot a jake later in a natural setup if a longbeard didn't show off the roost. It was a Jake parade.
Bird we saw on the way out.
Checked this spot and all quiet...
Ryan was now determined to go NSOB .... We heard some birds about 200 yards out and game on!
I apologize Ryan, thought it was your first. Nonetheless a fine bird and you obviously made a great shot, hope the rest of your season is as awesome!
After some major coaxing two jakes finally broke in to 17 yards and put on a show.
The jakes eventually got bored and left without a shot. We were all wondering why Ryan didn't shoot. Ryan told us he was unsure of the distance so didn't want to take a risky shot. Gotta be impressed with that from a youngster.
With time winding down we checked a few more spots and finally got on 3 jakes. We elected to use the blind and with some eagerness the birds are living to see another day. Today Ryan had lots of action and learned a lot. He stated he had blast and today was icing on the cake after yesterday's hunt.
It was great weekend with Scott and Ryan! Thanks for making the trip out guys. We had a blast!
Ryan and Scott it was an pleasure having you guys out. I loved Ryan's enthusiasm and being able to teach and watch him learn was awesome. Safe travels Goin back home with the family. Wish it wasn't over as the whole weekend was so much fun.
Thanks for posting those pics, Chris! Thanks Joe- I appreciate that! Ryan and I loved your enthusiasm too! We also enjoyed watching you two work together as a team. It's obvious you two are a well oiled machine together! It was fun watching you work together to decide where to go, get set up, etc- it's clear you guys have spent a lot of time together working at this craft. Fun to watch and learn from for sure!
Thanks for doing the FOH contest guys- we had a blast! Ryan hopes he can come back and hunt with you guys again some day! As you guys said when we were leaving- I hope we can team up on a hunt again in the future too. Take care guys and thanks for everything! Scott and Ryan
Father, Son, and Friends. A great combo for sure any wheres on the planet but especially in the woods with bow in hand..
my best, Paul
Sounds like a great trip for sure. I am so happy for Ryan & the team... what a giant tom!!!
... safe travels, looking forward to the rest of the story!
Good stuff, Joe and Chris. Quite selfless of you all to bring in the young man and show him the ways.
Congratulations, Ryan. Beauty of a tom!
Very cool! Looked like a great weekend. Congrats on a fine bird Ryan. Good work boys!
That was really great. Ryan is very lucky to get to see two real live turkey killers in action and get to see some of how they work that right there would be hard to beat without the fact that he got such a great tom on the trip too !! Congrats guys that was too awesome ! Gonna be tough to beat this thread !
Good stuff all the way around. Thanks for all you do. Congrats again Ryan
Thanks guys! Sunday was a really interesting day- highs and lows for our young turkey hunter! He didn't end up bringing a bird home on Sunday but Chris and Joe put him on five different opportunities/close calls! To say they did their part is an understatement! Ryan had a slam dunk opportunity right away in the morning. We heard several hundred gobbles while the morning light changed the pitch black surrounding to the scene of a beautiful northern California landscape. The two Jake's pictured above all but begged for Ryan to shoot them! ...but, Ryan passed.
After several close calls Chris and Joe pulled some last minute heroics and called three Jake's into the deeks. But it wasn't meant to be- Ryan rushed, even panicked a little, and bounced a bullhead off a bird, hitting too low and in the feathers, that was at 8 yards. The excitement of nearly pulling it off in the last minute was too much for my 11 year old! All three of us had seen him clearly rush the shot in his excitement. This was not the outcome we hoped for but it was one of many, many learning moments for Ryan on this trip.
As awesome as Saturday was Ryan and I got to spend the whole day on Sunday hunting and learning more about turkey hunting. We learned a ton on Sunday and enjoyed the time with the guys in the field immensely. We also got a lot of got pictures and Joe got some great video. More of that to come.
Rushing the shot is, unfortunately, one of those lessons that has to be learned a few times in ones hunting career. That sting will stick with him awhile and I'm sure he'll make good the next time. Hunting is a never ending education!
Been there, done that, Ryan a few years ago.
Both you, and the turkey, learned a lesson and will see other days.
A bowsite classic for sure. Thanks fellas!
Thanks guys and this just the beginning of this thread :-)
Man I just went back and re-read the whole weekends post. Looking back now it was such a great weekend and experience to take Ryan and Scott with us. Great people who really love the sport of bowhunting and appreciate the times we had. Does it get any better? Plus we had excellent weather and birds we're gobblin good so Ryan got to witness it firsthand. So grateful for the whole thing. To everyone who helped make it possible, Chris and I appreciate it very much. Gonna be hard to beat this past weekend for sure
Thanks for the recap boys! Sounds like you all had a great hunt. Congrats to all of you for getting it done for a kid that will remember this forever.
Looks like a great hunt with some really good guys! What a way to start the season (and this thread!) Congrats to you all.
Thanks guys! Ryan and I are still on Cloud 9 about the trip and the monster bird he shot.
Gibble gibble-- go get 'em this weekend, boys! Have fun!!!
Today's opener took off quickly and tested me. Birds were roosted over 600 yards from where they normally do so once this was obvious by the gobbling heard we cut the distance in half. I started with some very loud fly down cackles followed by some raspy loud long cadence yelps. The birds about 300 yards were hammering back at me. Then I heard some hens cuttin loose with the toms and fly down away from us then thought it was over. Well I stayed on the loud aggressive calls and shortly could tell the birds were more interested in me vs their own hens. I kept up the calling until the birds roared 60 yards away and were in view. There was three big toms and they marched in. A simple fence caused them a slight challenge for a minute until they went under and came into the decoys. Two of the toms strutted in but one stayed alert and either picked me or Joe off. The birds got nervous and began to head the other way. With one hole in between a trees splitting trunk, I came to full draw and as the last bird paused at 22 yards I let him have it. He went straight down. Just a reminder to myself how bowhunting birds without a blind can be tough and turkeys will always have superb eye sight. We were pumped to break the ice for our opener. We began taking some pics and I noticed all gobbling in the distance ceased. Birds were on hens and in shut down mode. We then began checking spots that always have birds and all was quiet... Around 10 o'clock we checked our fourth spot when.... I'll let Joe take over and until then here's some pics.
Taking it all in ... All :-)'s
Man turkeys are a gorgeous bird... Never understand when someone says they're not.
Maybe the most perfect way to enjoy a sunrise!
And to top off a day for me after our hunts was to take my daughter to an Easter egg hunt... Yes I got some looks lol!
Chris and I checked a few spots and not much action. Did have a jake come in an would not leave for anything. Got some cool pix of him.
Wish I had Ryan with me this guy hung around for over 15 minutes love sick!!
After locating a bird we got one to play and he made the mistake of coming into the deeks with me hidden 18 yards away...he didn't go very far after I sent a vpa thru him
Gorgeous day, awesome hunt with best buddy can't get much better than that. Definitely blessed!!
Great work fellas! I've been waiting for these pics. As always great pics and a good work on the update.
Lol Chris I bet you got some looks! Janna would have shot me! Absolutely looks like something I would do...
Solid work on the opener fellas. Looking forward to tomorrow's update!
Today was a great day and all I did was run the camera and a few calls... More to come later from Joe and brent
You guys make this look way to easy ;) Nicely done !!
WTG fellas! Great work and happy Easter! Gibble gibble!!!
Very nicely done Gents......once again!!!
Keep it rolling!!!
My best, Paul
Chris, do you think you pulled those first three totally away from hens, or did you peel some sub-dominants away from a flock with some more dominant birds?
And, oh, you're calling too much. Three yelps, two clucks, wait an hour...when are you going to learn?
Writer, they were the only ones gobbling in that roost and the closest group to them with gobbling birds was well over 800 yards away. Only sounded like three in that roost. After the hen flew out she started cutting and yelping very loud and the three that came in to me showed her no response but they cut me off almost every call. And to add one of the three was an absolute monster I couldn't get a shot at.
Great way to start off your season guys! Congrats!
Thanks guys! Today was a test and some clutch moves made to seal the deal .... Got into the kitchen you could say. I'm turning in and Joe and Brent should be adding their stories soon. Hope everyone had a good Easter!
Great looking birds and pictures!
What a day! Spent some quality time withe family this AM and ran up to meet up with Joe and Chris about noon for an afternoon hunt. We were runnin and gunnin all afternoon to no avail, and with time running down we slid into the kitchen on two unsuspecting long beards. All it took was two mouth calls from Chris and the birds came in on a string. I got pulled back when the first LB attacked the DSD jake decoy and joe did the same. I had to wait quite a while for the bird to clear but I was able to take out the heart of my bird which only made it about 5 steps. Joe's bird went over to attack my bird and he sealed the deal on our first double of the year! Great ending to a great day! Great times in the turkey woods with two great friends. It doesn't get much better. Thanks guys!
U guys know me not one to write long stuff so all I gotta say is "2 birds came in, 2 birds are dead" :-)
Here some pix
Hero pic!! Such a great day. We had a few close calls leading up to this an we were gettin a little frustrated but by the end of the day we wanted some ice cream :-)
Gotta love two-year-old turkeys, take them every hunt.
Don't suppose they gobbled much, did they?
Cut me off twice then it was to late :-)
Wow, think what you coulda done if you knew what you were doing! :-)
Beautiful women, fine sippin' whiskey and two-year-old turkeys,..God's greatest gift to a man.
Screen shot pic from yesterday's double footage...
Keep it coming guys! These birds don't stand a chance with you around.
Well we start again Saturday... Work just sucks during the season lol.... Saturday I'm hunting a spot I scouted yesterday and saw an absolute giant hooked bird. I'm probably gonna take my daughter as she proved last spring she can hang and carry my decoys lol. Good luck to everyone else hitting the woods this weekend.
Are you positive you are hunting turkeys on the same planet as I live on. Great looking country.
Sure looks like a Fairy Land to me.
my best, Paul
Paul it's amazing how scenic it is in nor cal during the spring... Almost tropical like with all green grass, leaves, etc. and wild flowers... Then usually in May in a two week period it turns to yellow, tans, and Browns when temps rise and moisture dries up.
It sure was a treat for Ryan and me to spend time hunting in that beautiful country! We come from the west side of MN in the Red River Valley where everything is pancake flat! If you've ever seen the movie Fargo, pay attention to how flat it is and how far you can see in some of the scenes- that's what it's really like here! The undulations and diversity of landscape where Chris and Joe are at is just plain awesome! I'm mostly color blind and I could even see a ton of color out there in the vegetation. Very pretty country indeed!
Well today we got our butts whooped.. Hunting the toughest turkeys in the country even if they're retarded ;-) can be humbling at times... We had birds do what turkeys do on accasion by circling our setups, come in from behind through the none easy route, sneak in silent without even a gobble and so on... Yes we hunt tough pressured birds on both private and public ground and not every setup is success. Today we checked 5 spots, covered 6 miles of some fairly up and down country on foot and had gobbling birds at 3 of the spots. Tmrw is a new day.
Good work guys-- just a matter of time before the next big gobbler goes down in your neck of the woods! Glad you got to get out over the weekend- I have no doubt you two had fun while taking the beating! The birds have to win once in a while too!!!
Looking forward to more updates and I can't wait to be able to offer some turkey updates from MN! Ten more days and we'll be chasing birds here. It won't be like out there, but we'll hunt where we can.
Well today ended up being a great day! Any day in the woods is better then work. We began the day hunting a spot that gets a lot of hunting pressure from neighboring reached and subsequently called in two longbeards from about 300 yards away. They came in fast but as soon as they saw the deeks at 60 they put on the breaks.. Deff been harassed the last week im guessing. They eventually worked off. We then covered ground and eventually got a response. We set up and called in several jakes but passed. We then began running and bowing and after three more setups and spots we got on a solo bird, which came in right. A few calls from Aaron and he was running in. Two jakes joined the setup just as I put my arrow into the longbeard. Well the arrow went through the bird, which was bumping the deek then the arrow shishkabobbed the DSD Jake deek. The bird was drug down/attached to the deek for a few flops until the arrow exited his body. He stumbled 8 yards and was down as the jakes pounced on him. Had Joe and Aaron with me and it was a great time. Time of kill was about 2 pm and it was mid 70's temps which was very warm. Here's pics from today's setups and hunts. Good luck to everyone!
Today was a tough day with temps even warmer on this high front and birds not to responsive. We did get on a group of longbeards with 2 hens that were within bang range but could not see the deeks and circled away... Rest of the day was tough with very little gobbling. We have a cold front and small storm inbound so that should hit the reset button. Good luck to everyone else!
Good times with good buddies today!
Well yesterday was another great day as I was in the woods and not at work. After locating a gobbler below a steep ridge point where we played with birds last year. Joe and I came up with a game plan.... We went out to the point and called and got the bird responding a couple times. Once he cut the distance to about 100-150 yards we fell back 80 yards to our setup where the ridge and brush left no option for the bird to funnel in and see our setup. Well after falling back and going silent for 5 minutes I called and the bird lit off rt where we were calling from out in front of us. One more call and he was in view marching toward the DSD Jake and hen decoys. When he passed behind An oak tree next to the decoy (planned decoy location setup) I drew undetected. He came to the decoy head on and I made the frontal shot count. He crumpled down and flopped 8 yards away. I was tagged out! With another bird about 200 yards out joe and I switched spot but that bird didn't come in. Now I can call in birds for friends and family the rest of the season. We checked a few other spots for Joe and a storm rolled in with heavy rain. We called it a day and then celebrated our traditional way. Here's some pics from the day.
The setup ...
With another bird gobbling we switched spots but the bird didn't bite...
Nearby dust bowl we've seen hens use before...
Now that I'm tagged out I'll be helping others out as full time caller, camera dude, Sherpa, etc.... Seasons early and it's off to a blast. Love the time spent in the spring woods here and cherish every minute of it. I love the game of turkey huntin especially with the bow and natural/no blind as it makes the hunt so much more exciting and challenging. Hope everyone else is having a good season as well.
Today was an excellent day as we had Nate (sdhntr) hunting with us and was up for the natural setup. We made our way through the the dark wet foilage to a point were we heard a couple birds gobbling in the roost about 200 yards away. We sat up and the dominant sounding bird flew out and after a few minutes got to about 100 yards away. The bird then found a hen and seamed to follow her up a ridge away from us. That bird then went quiet and the second bird kept gobbling about 150 yards out. After 30 minutes of the gobbling bird not moving I then closed the distance towards the bird getting about 50 yards closer on a small ridge and called. Getting closer and in the kitchen worked as the dominant bird instantly responded from the same general area as the other bird. It sounded like he quickly lost his hen. I then retreated back to the setup and called as I went sounding like a hot hen going away from him. Within 10 minutes the gobbler closed to 60 yards and thundered at us. He had a cool deep guttural gobble which stood out. After a few soft calls then 5 minutes of silent treatment he made his way in. He strutted up to the Jake decoy and Nate put him down. Shot was 16-18 yards and recovery was 0-1 yard. The bird was a big bodies 22#, 3 year old , inch Spurs, 10" thick beard. We were fired up as it was such a cool hunt. I'm sure nate will add his .02 ... Here's some pics from the hunt.
Chris and Joe make this turkey stuff easy. My biggest bird yet is en route to the taxi man. He cautiously came in after an hour of working him. He stared me down for 10-15 seconds, and then went behind a big tree. I was cold and my leg and ass were dead asleep. I finally got my bow back after a minor spasm and settled in. He half strutted in and took one thru the wing butt. Flop city and game over. Tell y'all what, that blindless game is a lot more fun. Good times. Thanks CS and JF!
Oh yea nater! Great times! View from video footage
Flop city!! What ya think of that uncle nater!!
Awesome pics! You guys kill it!
WTG fellas! Great pictures and it sounds like one heck of a fun time was had by all. I sure do wish I was back out there with you!
Chris I tried my best to imitate your fly down sequence this past weekend helping my buddy who had a North Dakota tag this past weekend. Oh my goodness did those birds go Bonkers up in the trees! It was remarkable how their temperature changed and how quickly they hit the ground and came running. If only my buddies shooting ability worked as well as the set-up did...
Congrats on the continued success out there guys. What a great thing you have going and what a fun spring!
Uncle Nate and I got back out this morning and found a lone Longbeard lookin for love. We sorta scrambled to a setup and it worked like a charm. I'll let him chime in if he wants. Here are pix. Bird #9 for our group so far. So much dam fun!!
Uncle Nate knows shot placement!! Smoke city! Bird went 4 yards
Well worth the trip up. Always fun hangin w Uncle Nate!!
Some guys claim they are the best, Myb they are. Good for them. I don't make no claims. I just have fun and want to see others around me succeed. That's my goal. If I can see others enjoy it thru our generosity then there is no greater reward in my book. That's the real trophy to me is watching friends, family and juniors experience the excitement Chris and I get from making that happen for them. We don't want any fame, glory or praise. Just memories. We are extremely fortunate to have what we have and we love taking people to experience our piece of heaven. Thanks to everyone who has followed and chimed in. There will be more to come as I still got a tag to fill :-)
Well worth the trip for sure. Thanks again to my homies Chris and Joe. They are blessed to hunt such beautiful and bountiful country and I feel blessed to shared it with them, even if just for a couple days.
This morning was magical. Joe roosted a lone bird last night and we snuck in the dark this am. He was hot and came off the roost early. Hit the ground and ran right in. The whole program didn't last 5 minutes. It was crazy. Cool to see variation in birds too, this one being at least mostly Merriam.
At the airport now, headed back to real life and I'm a little sad about it! Thanks again boys. Hope I can return the favor on some piggies.
Awesome pics! You guys kill it!
Great pics boys! Good shootin Nater!
"Mostly marriam" lmao smh.... Rio buddy!
A Turk is a Turk, but I sure see Merriam in that second bird!
Just lighter colors buff but not white like true marriam.. Rios typically have light buff tan tips. No matter what color great bird and kill 'natural' !
This morning Brent and I got out and had a great morning. Located a bird on the roost and got setup about 200 yards away. He was super hot gobbling at every call I threw at him. Eventually he came off the roost with some silent treatment and was on his way. When he cut the distance in half he closed quickly and gobbled frequently. The setup.
As he began to circle wide I gave a directional call to bring him into our lap. He strutted into the decoys, which were 10-12 yards away....
After 2 minutes of strutting and pecking the Jake deek he made his fatal move....
He finally turned and Brent took his shot. His first shot was low but he was able to get off a second shot. The bird stumbled over the hill out of site. We gave him time and found him just over the hill drt. We were pumped it was an awesome hunt. The bird probably gobbled 150 times. Here's some pics... Thanks to those for following along.
He got a little wet from the grass.
That joker had me shook up bad! Having him at 10 yards for long without moving, then holding back until he turned had me worked up into a complete mess! Luckily I was able to make a quick follow up shot but what a hunt! He gobbled his brains out and stormed in to the decoys where he was lookin for love in all the wrong places. Thanks Chris!
As usual ..Great pics..Thanks for sharing
Decoy Dave going down to hunt with you guys ??
Willieboat, no he couldn't make it. Next year hopefully.
NICE, buys. Congrats Nate.
As for the best.....well Joe, if you boys don't want to claim that, I can understand.....however, I've never seen better turkey hunters / callers anywhere......and I've been around. :)
Today was a long tough day but a great day by the afternoon. We ended up with two birds... My uncle Jim was in town and he sealed the deal around noon. Yes it's a cowboy kill but it's part of our season "quest" ... Here's a couple pics and I'm sure joe will follow up with some type of an update.
Relly col thread. Congrats to the successful hunters. And, good on the host's. God Bless men
Well Chris an I went into a spot to setup and 3 longbeards were already there. I couldn't resist the temptation so I went sneaky Indian on em. Closed the gap to 41 yards (guessed) and had to make a quick decision to shoot. Arrow was 2" off from his heart an broke the wishbone. Angling forward. A second arrow from 30ish anchored him. I'm happy got to kill a solo bird call in, be part of a double and spot an stalk kill one. Great season for me. Hope u guys enjoy these pix.
Quite possibly my favorite pic all season. Tagged out!!!
Today we had a couple hours with uncle Jim and had an opportunity he couldn't capitalize on but it was still fun. A lot of birds off the roost with only one hen they're following so a lot of mid day action rt now. I never get tired of the scenery I get to hunt in.
Uncle Jim always takes time to impress my aunt at any cost.... He saw this hillside and had to take a pic to send her. Fun morning with lotta gobbles heard and birds seen.
This weekend we had good friends Roy (BOHNTR) and his wife Anne hunting with us. Our goal was to get Anne her first ever bird. Saturday was a day full of setups, gobbling, birds called in, and a few arrows flung that didn't connect. We still had a great day and some knowledge was gained. Anne was a little discouraged but in good determined spirits to get the job done all they way up to the last minute. The day was done without a bird riding in the back of the truck and she was ready for revenge. Here's a few pics from yesterday then Joe will fill you in on today's adventure....
Awesome scenery.... We're very fortunate
What a great weekend. So fun to spend time with good friends and help them try to get a bird. Today was slow all morning but I wanted to try a spot I know birds hang out in the afternoon. Long story short we got setup and had birds on their way only after a few yelps. Anne made a perfect shot and Roy made the memory even sweeter following up with a double. Love this stuff.
Great memories for Roy and Anne!
While driving to a new spot this peacock was chillin on the fence. So cool to see his breath this mornin as he made a call. Most beautiful bird on the planet. Worth sharing I thought
Congrats Roy and Anne!!! It was fun!
Great weekend. First time I've seen steam coming from a bird's mouth.
I had a confused peacock come strutting in behind a group of hens that had a jake with them about a half-hour earlier several years ago.
Peacock is really pretty good eating...so I've heard.
yea writer it was about mid 40's in the morning so deff cold enough for steam,,,, we have a few wild ones around and one on a property we can hunt that is super spooky that also hangs out with the turkeys.
Cool birds. On a fly-fishing assignment in New Zealand they shot driven peacocks on the wing like driven pheasants in Europe.
The Kiwi peacocks were more wary than their turkeys, but not as wary as their big brown trout.
Way to get after it... awesome thread and pics!
Thanks again, Joe & Chris......it was a memorable weekend mixed with a little 'rodeo' drama! :)
Seasons winding down and we're still at it. Brent had one more bird to get and we were determined to get him tagged out. The birds are starting to bachelor group back up a little and are acting a little funny as usual around this time of the season. So yesterday we sat up about 300 yards away from the roost on a hill top in some broke up timber where the birds travel through mid morning. At first the birds were responsive but soon went quiet off the roost as I'm assuming they had one or two hens they were trying to impress. Around 730 they started gobbling a little still about 300 yards out but more to the east of our location. About 5 minutes later I hit some loud high pitched yelps and several birds responded about 125 yards out. I then mixed in some raspy reed calls and in about 10 minutes we were surrounded. Soon two jakes slipped in then two longbeards strutted in. These two toms looked awesome with the sun shining through their cool fans. The birds were lovers not fighters as they began mounting the two hens deeks I had laying on the ground. As the two birds began loving them some deeks and getting jealous over each others moves, Brent came to full draw undetected and tagged out with a heart shot. We were pumped and it was an awesome hunt! Here's some pics from the hunt.
Hittm here they only go 3 yards
Brent sent me this pic... Looked like granny was gettm slapped.
Nice work Brent, Chris, and Joe! More great pics for sure!!!
What an amazing season! Chris and Joe have completely turned me into a turkey addict! I am super grateful these two invite me up every year to share the turkey woods with them. There is nowhere else I would rather be in the springtime! Bad news about taggin out is its all over, but thats the goal right?
Well we had a great season and I know I'm already looking forward to next year. There's a small chance I still might try and take out a junior or archer the next couple weeks but with carp surfacing and state broadhead shoot approaching its gonna be tough. This season we've have had more success on close-in natural no blind setups and even broke in a few into doing it and getting it done. Got some awesome footage as well. Hope everyone who has followed along enjoyed the quest and pics to help illustrate it. Here's a collage joe put together of our groups season kills up to this point. Thanks for the many comments and questions via pm's and comments on the threads. Always here to help if possible. Good luck to everyone the rest of the year!
I'm sure Chris and Joe will be starting a new thread, but with Kia's hunt just a month or so away I was thinking about Ryan's trip last year. What a great time we had out there! Ryan and I are pretty typical midwesterners and aren't super emotionally expressive guys, but hopefully Joe and Chris still know just how much fun Ryan and I had out there with them. Kia is in for one heck of a treat and I know Justin will love being there too. I wish I could come back out there just to take pics and watch the show!
Looking forward to some scouting pics from the guys and the tale of the hunt. Gonna be fun!!!
thanks buddy! I was thinking we might keep her hunt on the "and the winner is " thread as imo that thread is started off great and would be a complete from finish to end story/thread. Ya we cant wait either time is getting closer each day.
If you guys think you can't wait, you should see the little peanut bouncing around my house! I mean literally flipping and bouncing! Ha! Kia is jacked! Her shooting is better than I've ever seen it right now and she is ready to kill that turkey! The daily count down is on!
Justin, is she shooting a Bullhead? What is her setup currently?
I'll bet she puts wallop on a big ol' gobbler, regardless of her setup!
Scott, she is shooting a Bear Apprentice 3 40# at 23" draw. Her arrows are 26" FMJ 500's at 400 gr total arrow weight with a 125 gr Bullhead. I don't have a chrono so I don't know the speed but she blew through her deer no problem at 20 yards last year. Out of a blind at around 10 yards give or take I think a head shot is easily in her wheelhouse. We're picking up a few turkey targets this week and she's going to start practicing head shots from a sitting position at the range now until go time from 5-20 yards. I'll probably have her practice seated on the ground too in case we get a chance at a natural set-up for her. I'm going to be setting up the Double Bull in my basement and having her shoot out of it at her "head chopper pillow" with her bullheads as well. To quote her Sunday at the range "All these people are pulling for me and doing so much to help me out, I'm not going to let them down!" That's my girl!
Haha that is an awesome quote from her! Ryan felt the same way. In fact I really think a big part of why he panicked and got so hurried on the second day was because he simply felt a lot of pressure. Of course like most pressure it came from within but he felt it because so many people were cheering him on. Kind of ironic but true. Half pint is a little bit older now then he was and she's also a girl which means she's probably a whole lot more developmentally mature than Ryan. I'm sure she'll handle it just fine. I would not want to be a gobbler in front of her a month from now!
Her setup sounds great and I have no doubt she will be ready!