Contributors to this thread:
I think I'm heading back to Kansas. I'll only have 3 days to hunt. I'm trying to decide how to maximize my odds. Ill definitely be hunting all day. But how?
Mornings are easy. I'll try to set up near roosted birds.
Should I stay put until 9-10 and then move? Should I stay there all day? Should I move after fly down if they head another direction?
Should I plant my blind in a well travelled area and just sit all day? If so, decoys or no? calling or no?
Should I run and gun looking for turkeys?
Mad, I prefer to get close to the roost and call early. If you get some responses more times than not those toms will come looking for you later in the morning after the hens move off to their nests, etc. You also know those birds are coming back into that area to roost later that evening. I like to sit, call occasionally throughout the day, and wait them out. Any of your methods has the possibly of working though. Just do whatever feels right at the time and enjoy your hunt. Don't put so much pressure on yourself! Ha!
I wait them out. Best time for me has been after 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. seems to be magic! These two were killed between 10 and noon.
I prefer to stay put until I break for lunch around 11:30-12. I haven't had much luck running and gunning since I prefer to hunt farm fields and it's too easy to bump them while I'm moving around on field edges. That's also my hunting style in general, I have no problem staying in the same spot and don't get too restless.
I've found that turkeys are different than whitetails in that the "lull" in the action is more from 8:00-10:00 or so, and then the toms will get active again between 10 and noon. For deer I don't mind taking a break from 10:00-2:00 (except during the rut, all day is good) but with turkeys I take a break from 12-4.
We'll be in the Salina area next weekend, looking forward to it!
Sit and stay, make em pay.
Patience has killed quite a few turkeys.
yep, 10 am til noon is happy time for me. if they've heard you earlier, they will come looking mid day.
I don't have any idea what your hunting area looks like or how big it is, but this is what I do. I set my blind up the afternoon I arrive within 200/300 yards of the roosting area because I know some birds will be streaming through. I call sparingly, maybe every 20/30 minutes, just a few yelps. My blind is already in place for the next morning hunt. About 8/9 the next day, I'm either cleaning a turkey or breaking for breakfast. After that I'm back out in a different location where I've been able to call birds in the past. Then, again I'm either cleaning a turkey, working a tom, or I'm moving back toward the river to intercept a bird going to roost. This usually results in at least one dead bird and at least an opportunity at another. And sometimes, I muck that other one up like I did last year :) BTW, I hunt on private land that I am intimately familiar with having hunted it for over 20 years. And, I usually only have three days to hunt, one trip per year. I'm leaving tomorrow, so we will see how all this sage advice will actually work out. If it does, I'll post up the story. If it doesn't, disregard all of the above, and buy a butterball :)
A good friend of mine and a really good turkey hunter once told me the following. Anytime you hear a turkey gobble after 10:00 am, that turkey is trying to commit suicide. I would say wait them out.
Those late gobbling birds are almost always alone and trying to get hooked up. Just don't over-call them or they tend to go silent and strut. I learned a long time ago that a walking turkey is a silent turkey. Birds often show up unexpectedly when things are quiet, so keep alert and watchful. It's fun to hear a bird gobbling at your calls, but know when to say when. A hot bird will come to you when you call (some) and then play silent.
Yesterday I had two mature red-head gobblers show up silently at 9:15. They didn't make a peep as they walked in. I don't know if they heard my earlier calling or were just moving along. When they saw the dekes they walked in and jack-hammered my DSD jake into submission, then walked away without so much as a sound. I never even tried to shoot...just enjoyed the show.
"I learned a long time ago that a walking turkey is a silent turkey"....where did you come up with that?
We've had them gobble about every step of the way in, or at least every time we've called, which is a lot.
Mad, come on back. Birds are working pretty well. A lot more toms out on their own mid-day.Last weekend's Governor's Turkey Hunt had 81% success, of 70 hunters in two days.A huge majority were killed between 9 and 3 in the afternoon.
I had a great hunt yesterday at 4 p.m.
Those turkeys didn't get the memo about being quite as they came in. The largest scored 69.125, so it wasn't his first rodeo.
"I learned a long time ago that a walking turkey is a silent turkey"....where did you come up with that?"
Actually from living where I can see turkeys out my window and hunt them out my door. Don't misunderstand my words to mean every single turkey walks silently...but I have seen a great majority of gobblers walk across my back fields over 300 yards and never once gobble during that distance, whether with hens or alone. On the other hand, sometimes they suddenly will fire up and gobble hard but it's usually somewhere that gives them a vantage point to watch and listen for hens. At that point they are usually stationary. Thanks
Are you hunting Easterns or Merriams?...just curious.
I'll be hunting central kansas. The area is pretty hybridized now.
I think there is some truth to your statement. When turkeys are just going from one place to another, they are generally quiet. When they are trying to attract a hen by gobbling, they are generally stationary.
One big exception is when you get a gobbler fired up. I got 2 birds fired a few weeks ago. They came in from about 200 yards and just about gobbled continuously. That is probably one of my top wildlife memories. (it would be higher on the list if I actually killed either of the gobblers...)
I like to get on a ridge, especially one that ties into other ridges, and wait them out. I will call ever 30 mins or so...i have found that if I can get one to gobble after about 9 or 10, that bird is in the bag. Usually by then the hens are on nest and the toms are out cruising looking for more hens...good luck..
A lot of good info given.. Without knowing the terrain and not seeing the birds you played with a week ago and their mood it's hard to say what would be the best move. So play the terrain and birds accordingly based upon your knowledge. Good luck!
I can't sit, get to restless. With deer hunting I am in the tree so it's easier, but turkey's I'd much rather run and gun, but I don't bowhunt them! We only get to hunt until noon, I usually start around 8 AM and I get good responses.
I just set up and call. I've hunted KS a few times, and I call loud and hard every 3-5 minutes. Wind is usually a factor, and I don't want birds to get by me if I wait every 15-30 minutes to call.
I even have multiple calls going at the same time and that really seemed to get them jumping this year.
Case in point: I'm currently watching two decoys. Birds are generally silent everywhere. I called to the one gobbler I heard nearest. He answered a few times and then shut up completely. 30 minutes later he showed silently and strutting. I didn't get a shot. If I had been up walking and searching I would have either spooked him or never seen him. That's normal bird behavior here much of the season.
I set up as close as possible to the morning gobbling before fly down . Tuesday morning I moved two times to get a better view and was busted both times, alot of activity goes on out of view that you could miss if you are up and about. I dont use a blind and usually tuck back in a overgrown fence line and place the Tom decoy where I want the bird to be for the shot. All circumstances are different but sitting it out when bow hunting has given me the best results especially if you know birds are around.
Ok. Here's the plan based on all of you comments...
I'm leaving Wisconsin about 5pm today. I should get to my spot in Kansas at about 3am. I'll go set up my blind in a likely spot and plan on sitting until about 2pm.
Then, I'll go check on another likely roost area. I want to see if it looks like it is still being used. I also want to plan for a Saturday morning stakeout. I want to cut shooting lanes. I also want to mark the decoy location so that I can find it in the dark.
Friday evening, I'll stakeout another area.
Saturday morning, I'll head to my prepared roost ambush spot. If I don't kill one at flydown, I'll move to another spot for an all-day sit on Saturday.
I'll figure something out for Sunday. Then, I'll drive home some time on Sunday.
Sorry guys. I'll bring my shotgun and my bow. I'll let the turkeys decide how they want to die...
Thanks for all the help...