Contributors to this thread:
Looking for some advice and "what would you do" on a couple of failed setups I had yesterday afternoon chasing some birds around. We ended up with a couple gun hunters running around in there, literally with fake fans chasing birds around and calling to them last weekend and yesterday. I was down there to drop some lumber off for the rancher and had the afternoon to hunt after I got done with that. I had my 8 year old with me so we were gonna be pretty low key. I spoke with the other guys as they were leaving and they told me they saw lots of birds and that was their method. Great. Knowing these birds just got pressured hard, here are the two situations we ran into. Let me know what we should have done differently. I'm going back in a couple weekends with the twins and we'll have more time to hunt so I want to learn from this and be ready to kill. This spot is 3 hours away so I can't just run down and back real quick. Next time we go we will be able to spend the night and hunt for a few days. Seems to be great bird numbers this year which is amazing after the long winter we've had.
#1 1:30 in the afternoon. Make a few hen calls off a ridge and nothing..... a hawk calls from above us and boom! Gobble! Little ways off, we head that direction. Locate the birds. Group of 10, 8 hens a Tom and a Jake. We watch them for a bit to see where they are headed. They seem to be fairly content, hanging around a group of trees and wandering back and forth. Don't seem to be heading anywhere. I thought we would loop around, get below them as close as we could set up the decoys and try to call one in. We did that, got to 90 yards and couldn't get any closer. Set up the decoys, called and called but never got a response. They were just above us but on top of a hill so I couldn't see what they were doing or if they were even still there. Called for a while, never got a single response. Finally we got out of setup thinking they had left, backed up and they were still there, had moved off away from us another 50 yards or so. Called some more but nothing. I mouth gobbled since they weren't responding to hen calls ( Should be noted, I am probably not the best caller in the world but working on it. Point being, I can't solely rely on my calling yet!) The tom gobbled back right away. I did it again and he responded. WTH? Won't respond to hen calls cause he has hens already? I got aggressive and tried to slip in spot and stalk, ended up busting them out. What would you have done? Why no response to hen calls? Only response was from the hawk and mouth gobble.
#2 4:00 in the afternoon. Head to different ridge. Make a few hen calls no response. Throw out a coyote howl as a locator and 2 different toms respond. We head towards the closer one and locate him. Two jakes. No hens. Perfect. We watch them for a bit and 5 hens come walking out below us in between the jakes and us. They are talking lightly and the jakes could care less. They walk away. I let the hens pass and we move in on the jakes. Get to 100 yards, set up decoys and start calling. No response. Never saw those two again. Went after the other gobble we heard but never got him to respond again.
In summary, I never did get a response to any hen calls. They only were firing on shock calls, the hawk and the coyote sounds. What do you guys think? Pressure got them nervous? Not ready to breed yet? Just turkeys being turkeys? Bad calling on my part? Looking to do better next time, we have birds to hunt. Need to figure out how to get them killed. Lets hear it. Thanks guys!
Pressure has nothing to do with it. They are henned up so your chance of getting one to leave the flock of hen to come to your calling is pretty close to “never going to happen “. Don’t give up one day they will break and come to you
Time . As the season goes on those gobblers get lonely . Early season can be tough . If all else fails call in the big guns !!
Yep! They are just like a bull elk in that they normally don't want to leave the ladies they already have. Just keep going when you can and eventually the hens will all be nesting and the gobblers will still be looking and a lot more prone to come to a hen call.
Sound like they are henned up to me.
Later in the season it will get better
"Need to figure out how to get them killed."
It's called "hunting" not "killing". Honestly, I don't know what to make of your inquiry. On one hand, I want to try and give good advice, like others, to help you out. On the other hand, these types of posts bother me.
First, I don't know your level of hunting experience, but if you had much, I don't think you would be asking. So I assume you want to learn. Great! But hunting CAN'T be learned quickly from a few mouse clicks. Get out there, observe, try different tactics, enjoy the process. It shouldn't be about trying to kill quickly because you have other things you'd rather be, or have to be, doing. You're frustrated because two encounters didn't have them running into your set-up?! What are we supposed to make of that?
One tactic you can try is to figure out where they are roosting and set up there in the late afternoon and wait for them to come back. This is when a tom may leave the hens and go looking on his own in the early to late afternoon. Returning to the roost tree,May be around 6 am or just before sunset. Another tactic if you like to CHASE them---When they are henned- up, a bow mounted decoy may work to challenge the dominate tom.
Pressure has everything to do with it!! Once birds get pressured, they don't respond to hen calls because they hear them all the time now and have probably busted other callers moving. They are showing lack of interest because they've been pressured too much. a different pitched call might get you better responses. Gobblers that are henned up need to be worked differently, you call the hens to you!! Get the boss hen upset and she'll come in, bringing the flock with her. And if the gobblers are henned up, the hens would be responding to your calls also. We hunt a lot of high pressured birds, and I do love the challenge of hunting birds everyone else is calling to. Find the gobblers strut zones and get in there and wait for the gobblers to show up. In late afternoon, locate their roost trees and wait for the birds to start coming to their roosts. You gotta find out where the birds wanna be and get there before they do.
If you have birds in your area and they aren't too pressured you can kill them. I kill them every year when they are henned up. Just don't think you are going to shoot them off the roost or very early in the morning.
Sleep in and get out there at 9 if you can slip in without being seen. Hunt til 1 or 2 pm if legal.
Great. Thanks guys. Good information. We will keep at it, have some fun weekends coming up!! See you all at the meat pole soon.
Bow freak- my boys will like your advice best:)
Just be patient. This week the mature toms have been ignoring my calls and dekes while jakes come right in. I was getting frustrated too.
Then this morning I purred a big tom away from his flock of hens and he strutted right in to my dekes at 8 yards.
Hang in there - it will happen!
"Then this morning I purred a big tom away from his flock of hens and he strutted right in to my dekes at 8 yards."
Lou, didn't happen unless we see a picture!!! :)
I only have two turkey hero shots. Otherwise all turkeys look the same to me. They're freakin' birds, for goodness sakes! Now if they had antlers or were different colored or something..
"They're freakin' birds, for goodness sakes!"
Come on Lou! They're the closest things to dinosaurs we hunt with a bow! ;-)
Oh c'mon Lou, you're not fun! Don't you know we don't take pictures to see the animals- we do it for all the glory!!! It's the same reason I constantly post selfies on instasnap and facechat! Hahaha
Ok, next one I shoot I'll take a hero shot sitting way behind it and looking really tough and badass! Maybe get some locals to sit with me like Team Mossback.
I swear sometimes hunting foothills Merriams on NF in NoCO is like hunting Bigfoot riding a dinosaur. Just hearing a gobble makes the entire hunt. That's why I drive to Turkey World in NE!