Contributors to this thread:
Heavy Pressured and Hened up Gobblers
This is my second year trying for a Tom with the bow. I have shot several in the past and a Jake. But mostly run and gun with the Mossberg. This group of birds has about 3 toms and 3-4 jakes roosting together and several hens. I chase them all last spring and only got them within 60 yards once and they wouldn't commit to the decoys. They roost about the same area every day and fly down headed south. I tried cutting them off, sitting up real close to the roost, waiting till later in the day etc. I used a trail cam and thought I had found the strut zone. Setup and watched them fly down and strut 70 yards in the opposite direction. These are woodland birds and I do not have permission for the field they are traveling to. There are others hunting these birds as well. I tried all kinds of calling this morning.....fighting purrs, aggressively calling, soft calling and no calling. They head the same direction but not through the same area. Any tips or advice would be great. I know this is Turkey hunting and I might have to stick to it till they get lonely. Just never seemed like that happened last year. Thanks for any info!!!! Archer 0880!
Good chance you could get one late morning. Sometimes hours later they'll return to where they heard hens (you) at first light. Turkey hunting can seem real hard or real easy! Good luck! C
Here is a relatively foolproof method but will take a few days with a bow:
- Watch roost one night
- Watch the fly down the next morning
- Wait till they leave
- Go setup a blind
- Watch from a distance that evening to see if they roost in the same spot
- Go in very early. Quietly set up a jake or full strut decoy so that they can see if from the roost
- Wait until they fly down
- kill one
With a shotgun, it is much easier. Just note the exact tree that they roost in. Go in very early and set a decoy in view of that tree. Quietly sit down and wait at least an hour for them to fly to the decoy.
I would send PM to "Bighurt", he is widely regarded as the most knowledgeable turkey hunter in the world.
Mad, this is sorta what I did this morning. We could see them in the trees and watched them fly down. I feel strong they could see the half strut jake and hen prior to fly down. They stayed at 60 yards gobbling for over an hour and strutting. We could barely see the fans and occasionally a big white head. They are roosted on a slight hill and flew down towards the bottom side. Decoy and blind were on top. Could the decoy have been to close to the tree? The bird was about 50 yards away from us. Do you think trying the same spot another morning would be ok?
Jack - I have silently watched the TBM/Big thing unfold and all I can say is "There are those that always feel like the drunk/party guy on Karaoke night; you know the ones that "truly" thinks they are a Rock Star when on stage and the next day still think they totally nailed it and want to tell everyone that wasn't there how great they were.!!!!! LOL. To each their own, but sometimes they need to leave their rock star on stage.........
Hang in there, there are days, and then there are turkey days !
Maybe they are shying away from the decoy? Maybe put the blind where they might come by or fly down to and ambush them. Make sure in the early morning they can't see You when your setting up
When they fly down, are they just pitching anywhere or are they pitching off into the wind, which helps birds land?
Easy with hitting them too hard on calls, unless it's super late in the season, especially if this about the only flock you have to hunt. (and I enjoy calling aggressively.)
Don't ignore the late morning idea.
In an Ozark (shotgun) camp we killed 33 one spring, and I think something like 27 were killed after 11, and most after noon...and we had to quit hunting at 1 p.m.
I second writers post. I've been frustrated many mornings only to sit back, take a nap, and have gobblers come sneaking back looking for hens late morning to mid day. Have a first fly down strategy, then be prepared to either slip out of the blind and set up decoys or be prepared to move for the mid morning hunt. In your scenario I would not decoy first thing in the morning. If you've observed them flying down a few times, try and determine where they are pitching out and landing. As Mad said, sneak in middle of the day to early afternoon, set up your blind, then ninja mode it back in super early. I would not decoy or call though, just try and ambush them. Writer makes a good point about the wind too. I hunt public land Nebraska, and it can get real windy out here. Birds will always pitch out into the wind. I've had many setups where I expected them to go one way but they went another, simply because of wind direction.
Thanks all for the input. They seem to pitch down different directions. There was little to no wind yesterday. My dad was in there this morning and said they flew down a different direction with even less gobbling. We have pics of a coyote chasing them often also. Going to keep at it and try watching them fly down a few more times see if there is any pattern to it.....Area has large amount of trees to roost in to..
I have seen high pressured birds shy from decoys. It happens. I would probably try to get in as close to the roost, but in an area that they cannot see from the tree and do a couple of very light tree calls. After they fly down, scratch the leaves and give a couple of light clucks. Take your lead from the hens. Less is usually more in these situations. Patience seldom goes unrewarded.
Maybe put in a food plot:)
Turkeys can be like shooting squirrels at times. They can be unkillable at times too. Hunt til noon or later and eventually it will happen.
Fwiw....I have been getting my butt kicked by then for 4 straight days. I haven't even been close to a gobbler yet.
9th year, still have not got one with a bow. It's like the curse of the Cubs!
I don't even bother hunting at first light anymore. Everyone else is there! I get up, eat and get to the first spot around 7:30 or 8 and run and gun until I find them. I've had much better luck doing this, plus I am not exhausted by 9 which is when most of the luck I've had starts!
at fly down they might be hen'd up already, they will stay with that hen to breed, then go in search of another. That's the tom I want to find!
What are everyone's thoughts on busting them off the roost in the morning? Or should I do this the night before?
I wouldn't bust birds I know are coming to the same tree every night. I would setup a blind very close to the roost, get a hen decoy on a string and only purr and cluck very softly of a content hen feeding, just move the decoy a bit when they can see it. Don't move out of the blind until quitting time and don't let them see you. Also, use a different sounding call that those birds have not heard before. Subtle calls only, mirror what the hens are doing and if the oppty arises try to get the lead hen pissed off to come investigate. Pressured toms are tough to kill if every hunter is just getting them fired up with aggressive calling. Late morning is also your best bet to kill one.
Here is a perfect example of how to kill turkeys. Be too stubborn to leave and put enough time in you will get lucky.
I killed this bird a couple of hours after I made the post above. Saw a gobbler at 400 yards. 20 min later 3 of them are whipping my decoy like he stole something.
Not the best pic but I made due with my phone.
Congrats BowFreak, nice looking bird and way to hang in there......Might try and sneak out before work towards the end of the week. try a softer approach......then on Sat sitting all day.....