Of course three out of four probably means it won't!
Maybe I'll get the ball rolling. For guys that may be wanting to try the natural bowhunting style instead of their current run-n-gun shotgun approach, you don't necessarily have to abandon your current approach altogether. If you have something that currently delivers success as a gun hunter you can probably make some minor adjustments to be successful with the bow.
As has been stated many times before, the details of the setup are probably number one on the priority list. When your gun hunting you don't have to worry about every detail, whereas to be successful with the bow it is definitely more prudent to consider everything. Always consider what is out in front... obstructions, ridges, swales, and other features you may not want out in front of you when you gun hunt can work to your advantage when bowhunting. Just know it might mean you have to use your ears as much as your eyes!
I know Chris and the Cali guys sometimes stress the lighting conditions of the setup. I typically hunt decent swaths of hardwoods (not always). For me the lighting rarely comes into play. However, if you know there is an opening in the canopy (or possibly at the very beginning of the season) and there is potential to be lit up significantly by the sun, don't overlook it.
Remember, if you get a couple birds to come in and don't get a shot off, don't fret. This style of hunting typically requires multiple successful setups to get a shot off (for me anyway). Part of the fun is you get to enjoy multiple opportunities of birds coming in without putting your tag on one! Enjoy the moments, and hopefully you end up with something over your shoulder at the end of the season.
Ha! Actually, I did leave that part out. I don't have any expensive decoys, so my experience has been with decoy-less hunting. You can probably use some of the same tactics, while changing your sets a bit with the incorporation of life-like decoys, and up your odds significantly!
So you hunt with a bow and no decoys ? I tried that for years when I first started to hunt them and finally gave up as I could never get drawn for a shot even though I called many in close enough. Tough when they are looking for you and not at a decoy !
I've only started to have some success this way, but yes, I almost never use decoys. Not sure I agree with Embry on the "not that difficult" though. ;^) It took me 2-3 years of dedicated hunting this way before I was able to release an arrow. Part of the difficulty in IL is that our seasons are only 5-8 days in length, and I typically try to limit my vacation time in the spring in lieu of fall big game seasons.
Franzen... it's okay, we don't all have to agree. Where I hunt in SE Oklahoma, I found it much easier and also more successful using no blind and no decoys. When you put a decoy out where I hunted (when we had turkeys), they would lock up a long ways out or get extremely nervous and never commit. Blinds, even brushed in, made them nervous as well. So, in turn, I adapted. This, in my opinion, made it much easier. I could put on my "leafy camo" and knee pads on and go run and gun. I would get in front of them, call a little and next thing you know, one was in my lap.
Knowing the landscape and the tendencies of the birds also makes one more successful.
Back in 2007 when our turkey population peaked, we had a 4 week season. We now have a two week season and it's the last two weeks of the Oklahoma 4 week season. We have very few turkeys on our place now so I don't see value in going out and killing them. I miss the days when I could leave the camper and hear so many gobbles that I didn't know which one to chase.
I don't want to devalue what others are doing, specifically Chris and Joe (they are good at what they do), but for me, it's not that difficult. Oh, plus I hate sitting in blinds. :)
Best of luck to you all. Timbrhuntr... you'll like the challenge, and if you haven't, watch Chris and Joes video where they murder some turkeys without blinds. It's good stuff!
I have watched all of their videos and think they are fantastic and they are real turkey killers. But what we are talking about here is a natural set up without a decoy. When I first started to hunt turkeys there was no season where I live. I had to travel to Michigan. For me this meant I had to use a bow because I didn't have the proper forms to use a shotgun in the U.S. I had no decoys or blind. I hunted the birds natural setup with no decoys. I called numerous birds into 20-30 yards but always got busted trying to draw. I have to say this made me a much better turkey hunter and killing them with a gun or crossbow under these circumstances is getting routine. I think using the bow puts into a whole different level and if you can do it consistently you are a dang good turkey hunter! Natural setup no decoys thats what I want to see a video of LOL !! I am going to try it again this year since I am finally able to shoot a vertical bow again. I hunt alone so I doubt if it does come together I'll be able to film it.
Ya like brotsky said without a decoy just not appealing to me as much.. I love watching the interaction of a longbeard strut up to a hen decoy and mount her or sprint in and attack the jake decoy with full fight mode on.... plus I'd rather take a higher percentage kill shot on a bird distracted vs one that is not distracted looking for that talkative turkey or danger. Just my .02 if I'm allowed to have one of those ;-)'
I believe guys would need to take a lot of precaution when trying a no blind bowhunt for turkeys here in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Deeks wouldnt be a must, but i think would help a ton. Ive bowkilled a few here, but they were farmland birds with a blind, so nothing like what u guys r talking about. And i love hunting them out of the blind, but thats just me. Not many ppl hunt spring birds around here without guns. I sorta set a goal this year to kill a mountain bird with my bow, though i will definitely be using a blind. I am absolutely enamored with what you Cali boys do every spring. And if the stars ever line up for me, which is unlikely, i would seriously research doing a public land turkey hunt out there or anywhere out west for that matter. The beautiful birds you have, the beautiful country you have and the way you relay it make it hard not to want to come out that way at least once. I have no doubt you boys would fill some tags here in the mountains of PA, but i have no doubt that some others would be humbled. Not gonna go all out TBM with that, but i certainly think that there are certain strategies and precautions that are more necessary some places versus others. Even here, the number one farm i am fortunate to hunt is a totally different situation from any others that i hunt just a county over. Im excited to give public land mountain birds here in south central PA a try this spring. The main thing i feel i need to focus on is putting some time in on the mountain seeing where they like to be and what areas they move thru. Ive ALWAYS been a firm believer in trying to get "in their way" first and foremost and you are giving yourself the best chance. If i can pull it off, after a few times maybe i will grow the confidence to give it a go on the natty setup.
Yup! I understand you guys hunting with decoys. All for it. BUT... again, my point about hunting without decoys (in SE Oklahoma), is I had to adapt to killing them without because the birds I hunt would not come running into the decoys like the ones I have hunted in other states and even in the western and SW part of Oklahoma. I've had results similar to yours, Chris, in other parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. The Easterns where I hunt are a different breed, for whatever reason. Predation? Hunting pressure? Just the way they are wired? Not sure.
Before you say, ahh.. it's your setup or it must be your decoys... I honestly don't believe so. I've hunted multiple setups, with hens, with Jake and hen, with Jake. It just didn't pull them in like similar setups in different regions.
Like I said above... I had to adapt to the area that I hunted. I did, it was minus decoys, I killed turkeys. That, again, is when we had huntable populations.
I wasn't attempting to belittle another's methods or devalue anyone's accomplishments. I just touched on my experience with hunting without a blind and no decoys. My 2 cents, :)
Probably going to hunt some public land. By the way... the more I think of the decline in our turkey population, it also about the time our hog population began to grow. So, another factor. Anyways, I don't want to make this thread about my problems.
Best of luck everyone! Looking forward to seeing your daughter kill a big Tom out West with the "beach boys", Justin. :)
The key feature seemed to be using a piece of natural cover to draw. For example, set up your decoy so that the turkey has to walk behind a bush to get to it. You draw while you are hidden by the bush and then shoot them when they come out the other side.
Franzen, I haven't ran without shoes since high school when my girlfriend's dad came home early from work! Ha! Thanks for the well wishes for Kia! That kid is so excited, I think she set a record last night for most words said in a 60 minute stretch, then she broke that record the next hour!
I think the key thing here is that turkey hunting is supposed to be fun, and the thing that makes it so much fun is how many different ways there are to do it! Blind, no blind, decoys, no decoys, fanning, go and bow, ambush, sneaky indian, and the list goes on and on! Do it whichever way makes you happy, just remember to post your pics on the meat pole!
I'm just hoping that there is a seperate thread for Kia's hunt as I'm excited to start following that one for sure.
As far as decoys blinds etc for my part I wasn't trying to make it about that or that there is anything wrong with there use. Just that when Franzen and then Embryoklahoma started to bring up the no decoy it brought back memories of my first 3 or so years hunting bow only no decoy or blind and I never could get it done so for me its on the top of my list ! With the California guys they used blinds then stepped it up to no blind so I figured the next challenge is no blind and no decoy.I would love to see that on film and it seems the only way I'll experience it is through them so gotta keep the pressure on them to try it LOL. But hey nothing wrong with sticking to the decoy thing it is fun even if its not nearly as challenging ;) .
Tmbrhtnr that's boring and as I've said I prefer higher shot percentages and the decoy interaction ... to me springturkeys is about calling them in and their interaction with the deeks... that's what I enjoy! Also I have killed a few birds with no deeks in that past both spring and fall and still enjoy decoying them in much much more. Honestly I can't remember did you have a natural setup submission in our contest we ran a couple springs ago? I have a bad memory.. Deeks were not a rule requirement.... if not I'd like to see it again or maybe you can get one this spring for us to watch and enjoy. Good luck! ;-)
Also there is already a thread for Kia and her soon to be hunt.. it's gonna run off and keep the passing it on thread going from start to finish.
Thanks. No I'm not much for contests. I'm trying to get one on film no dekes but it's hard solo. I just found with decoys after the toms lock in you can get away with just about anything. I have actually waved my arms at toms to get them off the decoy they are so locked in. Doing it without a decoy would for me be the ultimate but you say you have done that already. Maybe once I get that done I'll feel the same way you do. Love your pics etc
High percentage shots CAN be obtained without decoys too. It's all in the setup. I've killed them strutting, just popping out of strut, feeding and one following hens at less than 10 yards. Only Tom that was alert caught me drawing and he was less than ten yards. He popped out of strut and my pin was already on his back... Dead.
Get GOOD decoys, one of which has to be a jake (AvianX or my favorite DSD). Don't move and let the Tom come in and start sparing with the jake decoy, if he is in the mood, he will. When that happens, you will be amazed what you can get away with. I shoot them with traditional equiptment and just structure for blinds so it can be done.