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Hunting turkeys in large flocks
I have a unique situation for my area of the country. I live on Long Island and there has been no turkey season for many years due to the fact there were no turkeys here. The DEC restocked the Island and now they are EVERYWHERE. The DEC opened a ver y short fall season and a youth only spring season. This is not like hunting upstate or anywhere else around here. The flocks are HUGE and the ratios as are similar to what I see out West in States like Iowa etc. what tactics and decoy pattern do you guys use to to pull long beards away from the pack? ...... or do you set up in ambush like deer hunting and wait for them to come through a funnel types situation? Are tactics different in this scenario?
I used to hunt a place that had lots of turkeys roosting next to a river. There would be some pretty big flocks at fly-down, but I usually sat up a couple to three hundred yards away from the roost. You could nearly always pull in a curious tom or three doing this.
Are you just trying to kill males only, or is this an either sex season? Many times the fall seasons are either sex, plus I assume this would be an either sex season because it seems LI is trying to reduce population.
There are lots of fall tactics out there with much reading available. It can be tough to target males only though. I would just hunt turkeys, and whatever you get within range let the arrow fly (assuming bowhunting). I would get in the travel path similar to deer if you can, and realistic decoys could certainly be beneficial imo.
Birds may also group up differently, depending on island conditions, the timing of the season, the nature of the specific animals, etc. There is a chance you might be able to target a flock that contains toms only.
Where I've hunted in Nebraska during the early archery season the turkeys are in flocks of 10 to 100. I've found it nearly impossible to coax toms away from all the hens with decoys or calls. Scattered jakes and hens generally filter away from the large groups but toms usually stick with the hens. Unless you can coax the lead hen into heading your direction it could be super tough. I've usually had better luck getting in front of the flock and bushwhacking them. Sometimes you can get a tom to wander your way when they first fly down off the roost or gather before flying up in the roost in the evening. Later in the season once hens start nesting toms are sometime not as "flocked up" with hens and you can find lone toms wandering around later in the day. It's a lot easier decoying/calling them in at that time.
The secret is to stick with it! Be willing to try different things and adjust what you are doing to the reaction of the turkeys and what they are doing.
With only hen decoys out, I called in this early Spring flock with some aggressive hen calling, as the birds were heading for their roost tree in the pre evening. Killed the tom has he came to investigate what all the chatter was about.. I have found out that in the early Spring, when the birds are bunched up, they can fly down and just head the other way. If you can hunt all day, stick it out for later in the morning-early afternoon, as a tom or two might return to the roost area attracted to your HEN calling. Again, just place out hen decoys or/and a jake but not a strutter.
Yep. When they are flocked up, you have to be aggressive with the hens. After they break up and start laying, many times aggression will cause the hens to lead the gobblers away. But, in early season big flocks where the sex ratio is often skewed, the gobblers aren't going to leave the hens very often. So, place out 2 or 3 hen decoys and, call aggressively to get the hens fired up. If your decoys will move and, they haven't been decoy'ed to death, aggressive calling will pull the hens to you because they too are working out the pecking order. Get the boss hot and get ready. Good luck and God Bless
I'm in Nebraska right now and the turkeys still seem to be in their winter flocks. I have been chasing a group of 30 or so toms and jakes in one flock.Yesterday I watched them and they spent a good 2 hours in a cattle pasture chasing each other around and fighting.So I have been lucky enough to shoot 2 by using a strutter and jake combo. They just can't stand seeing these two interlopers in their area and will come in for a look sometimes close enough to slip an arrow into one :)