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turkey struggles
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
NEIAbowhunter 14-Feb-20
JohnMC 14-Feb-20
Paul@thefort 15-Feb-20
bowhunter24 15-Feb-20
Hawkeye 15-Feb-20
elkmo 15-Feb-20
Predeter 15-Feb-20
JTreeman 15-Feb-20
midwest 15-Feb-20
midwest 15-Feb-20
JTreeman 15-Feb-20
fastflight 15-Feb-20
sitO 15-Feb-20
Pop-r 15-Feb-20
Lee 15-Feb-20
Jims 15-Feb-20
Buglmin 16-Feb-20
NEIAbowhunter 23-Feb-20
14-Feb-20
I'm still fairly new to the turkey hunting game and acknowledge I still have a lot to learn. I have a buddy that's been doing it for probably 15 years and almost always shoots his bird in the first 30 minutes of open season. He calls and they come strutting right in perfectly. I've shot 1 Jake in the last three years. I usually hunt 2nd and 4th season here in Iowa. If the birds aren't roosted in my part of the woods it seems I can pack it up and go home. My slice of heaven is sort of a peninsula of woods that sticks out into a CRP field. It used to be a crop field but 2 years ago they planted it to the government program. I have yet to be able to call a turkey across the field. I thought maybe I was just a terrible caller so I had my buddy come call for me. Nothing. They respond, but they refuse to come across that field. No one else turkey hunts up near my woods that I know of so they aren't really pressured birds. There are quite a few coyotes in the area. Is it possible they are scared of crossing that open field due to the coyotes? I've gotten them to the edge of the woods across the field and they hang up there refusing to cross. Do any decoy experts think swapping a jake decoy for my tom/hen combo would make any difference? As frustrating as it has been, it is just making me that much more determined to get one of these stubborn birds. Just looking for some advice.

From: JohnMC
14-Feb-20
When you say CRP I am envisioning thick talk grass that is good pheasant habitat, but you say open field. Other than to possible nest in I don’t see turkeys crossing a traditional CRP field that they can’t see 2 feet in front of them. Decoys won’t matter if they can’t see them.

Happen to have a picture of area you are referring to?

From: Paul@thefort
15-Feb-20

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I have had success with a strutter tom.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
I have had success with a strutter tom.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
but have switch to a jake and a bedded hen, for better success
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
but have switch to a jake and a bedded hen, for better success
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: bowhunter24
15-Feb-20
Big fields and henned up birds are tough. Sometimes if they don't want to go some place world champion turkey caller won't get them either. It's always best to be were they want to go or as close as you can get. Late season after the hens are mostly breed you may get a Tom to come a long way.

From: Hawkeye
15-Feb-20
"Sometimes if they don't want to go some place world champion turkey caller won't get them either. It's always best to be were they want to go or as close as you can get."

The absolute best turkey advice you'll ever get. Tall CRP fields are a tough sell for reasons stated above. Id set up trail cams 2 weeks before the season exactly where you sit and see if they show up. If not it's not a place they want to be and will always be a tough hunt IMO.

From: elkmo
15-Feb-20
Agree about the tall CRP, turkeys don't like it. If they have roosted their in the past they are getting to it and using it at some point. You say if they're not roosted in your woods it's a no go, can you roost them in the evenings to verify so you can try a different location that morning? Just got to find the right Tom in the right mood that day.

From: Predeter
15-Feb-20
Have you tried later in the morning?

For the classic early morning Turkey hunt it's all about being where they want to be. I used to have permission on a neighbors large ridge top where birds always roosted. I'd set up on the field edge, give a couple yelps before fly down and usually kill a bird by 6:30am. I now need to hunt on our property which involves getting the birds to come across about 400 yds of field, I've never had any luck getting toms to cross that they just stay out in the field and strut.

Last few years all my birds have been killed around 9-10am. I don't even mess with them when they're out with hens in the fields. Wait until mid morning, get back into the woods, throw out a hen decoy and do a few quiet yelps every 10 mins. They'll typically come in silent or not gobble untill they're nearly on top of you.

The late morning slow play has been deadly for me.

From: JTreeman
15-Feb-20
I personally think Predator hit the nail on the head. Mid morning sounds like the ticket to me. I have killed more and bigger birds between 10-12 than early. Like he said early morning is a fly down game, if you don’t have them roosted and be right where They want to fly down it can be really tough. Hell, sometimes I have them roosted and they still decide to fly down the other way. Try late mornings 9-noon.

—Jim

From: midwest
15-Feb-20
You'll likely have better luck calling in wandering toms after the hens have left them to go lay their egg. I've killed way more turks between 9 and 1 than any other time. Most will come in silent then blow up when they see the dekes. I use a jake and a single hen. They come for the jake every time. I set the hen where she can be spotted from a longer distance and the jake where I want to shoot. I yelp out of all sides of the blind every 15 min. This is how I hunt smaller properties where running and gunning just isn't possible.

It takes a lot of patience and confidence in your spot. A lot like treestand hunting....be ready for a huge adrenaline rush when one shows up after hours silence and seeing nothing!

From: midwest
15-Feb-20
Jim and I typing at the same time...lol.

From: JTreeman
15-Feb-20
Yep, but Nick probably explained better. I do very much the same as him. Lots of patience. But it’s easy in a blind, can move a lot, read a book, cruise Bowsite, work a little, etc.

—Jim

From: fastflight
15-Feb-20
Without knowing exactly how this land sets up my first thought is to go towards where they are hanging up so you dont need to call them across the CRP field. A blind set up a few weeks before season in a CRP field probably wont spook them. You dont need to set up in your woodlot.

From: sitO
15-Feb-20
If you can get a Tom fired up, answering your call every time...even cutting you off...he will find a way to get there!

From: Pop-r
15-Feb-20
I wish every turkey I ever had fired up found a way to get to me! Lol. That's simply not the case though.

From: Lee
15-Feb-20
Personally if they aren’t heading where I want them to be I go where they want to be! I’d be in the woods with them.

Lee

From: Jims
15-Feb-20
It sounds like your group of turkeys has a daily routine. Where do they go when they leave the roost? It's impossible to give any advice without knowing where they are heading? This may be a particular feeding or strutting area? If your area doesn't offer anything they want or they feel uncomfortable they will head elsewhere. You may want to try food plots, mow the area, or somehow to make it more appealing?

I've had serious problems with turkeys not coming in to decoys with blinds. I would scrap the blind and try to blend in with the surroundings.

Obviously if you find out where they are heading possibly get permission to hunt that area?

As mentioned above, you may have to wait until late in the season after hens start leaving toms to nest for the day. Possibly set something up in the other field so they head your way. I always try to think outside the box and change things up.+

My biggest word of advice is to be watch the turkeys every reaction....if something doesn't work be willing to change things up!

From: Buglmin
16-Feb-20
Birds that are hunted become tough to call in. Usually, if your not in the area the gobblers wanna go, they're not coming to you. Gobblers gobble off the roost for a reason, and a hen call from somewhere suddenly where it wasn't not the night before doesn't make sense to him. That's why a lot of guys kill toms late morning. Toms not henned up head to strut zones first thing in the mornings, and that sounds like what your birds are doing. They are waiting for the hens to come to them. Spend time finding these zones, get there before they do, and you'll kill a bird.

23-Feb-20

NEIAbowhunter's Link
Sorry, I recently moved into the house I have been building since June and didn't have internet set up here yet so I haven't been back to my thread. I would agree I need to try staying later, usually I'm out of there by 9 or after it's been quiet for an hour or so. I should also put out a couple trail cams to see if I can pattern them at all. Some times they are right in my woods, sometimes across the CRP field to the south, sometimes to the east on the edge of the ridge and fly down to the river. It honestly seems to be a crap shoot where they will be. I can't set up in the CRP, the land owner and I don't get a long very well. Basically he wants me to quit hunting up there so his high priced leasers from Cedar Rapids and Dubuque can have it all during deer season. I do have a pretty good relationship with the owner just east of mine and should call him for permission. The problem is he logged it a couple years ago and all the tops and downed trees they didn't take make it very tough to find many shooting lanes. I've attached a google maps link that hopefully will work. The odd shaped field is CRP as mentioned not the ag field google still shows and I'm the peninsula on the east side of it. It drops off steep to the east down to the river, and across the CRP field to the south it drops off fast at the treeline. Thanks for the advice as well, I got some things to try.

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