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Turkey Gurus...Scenario Input?
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
smarba 19-Apr-21
elkmtngear 19-Apr-21
JohnMC 19-Apr-21
Orion 19-Apr-21
smarba 19-Apr-21
Brotsky 19-Apr-21
Orion 19-Apr-21
Realwarrior 19-Apr-21
smarba 19-Apr-21
[email protected] 19-Apr-21
t-roy 19-Apr-21
smarba 19-Apr-21
Brotsky 19-Apr-21
35-Acre 19-Apr-21
smarba 19-Apr-21
[email protected] 19-Apr-21
From: smarba
19-Apr-21
Daughter is hunting with bow for 2nd year. Last year we didn't even have any action. This year we have been off to a much better start, but last night I don't know what the turkeys were thinking (I know, it's a common theme). Any insight?

Central NM regarding timing. A week ago April 10 late afternoon ~4PM heard some gobbles nearby, called sparingly and eventually a Tom came silent to decoys (half-strut Jake and submissive hen). Daughter missed - had a sight issue we have since corrected. 3 other Toms meandered around us and we could glimpse them occasionally but they wouldn't come to decoys. I'd call sparingly and they'd gobble but not come close. I typically don't call once Toms have gobbled; wanting to make them come searching, but as it got later and later I figured nothing to lose so called more to try and entice them over before they headed to roost. They'd gobble every time and were within 30-80 yards but were obviously just scratching and feeding with no interest. Eventually they roosted 200 yards away.

A week later yesterday evening got a very late start after homework etc. Weather cooler than it had been but still in the 50s, partly sunny and no wind. Set up about 5pm and heard a gobble almost immediately before we even called. Just getting ready to call and I spotted turkeys moving 30 yards away through sides of brush blind. They should have been able to see decoy (half-strut Jake and submissive hen), but they appeared to be just passing by. I gave just a tiny cluck, they gobbled, but continued moving through the brush (area is relatively thick with only a small opening we were set up in). It was 3 Toms I'm fairly certain the same 3 as a week prior. They scratched and fed around us, I'm 100% certain they could see the decoys several times, but they didn't pay them much attention and wouldn't come to them. These had full beards and weren't Jakes of that I'm postitive. They meandered around us for over an hour. Sometimes 15-30 yards, sometimes out of sight. We could see them through brush occasionally, but they never came to decoys.

Every 10-15 min if we couldn't see them I'd give a little cluck or yelp and they'd gobble immediately just out of sight but obviously weren't interested.

Eventually they meandered down into a nearby drainage and roosted about 745PM. Then they gobbled like crazy for a long time. We did hear a couple of hen calls so hens must have come from somewhere to join them or roost nearby.

Why weren't the Toms interested? Besides "that's turkeys for you"? Anything I could have done to make them come in? We'll try the area again next weekend.

From: elkmtngear
19-Apr-21
Not that they weren't interested...more like, they wanted you to come to them. Maybe they've been "educated" by other hunters, maybe they've had their asses whupped by the local Boss gobbler?

The only thing that's ever worked for me in that scenario, was going straight to them when they are gobbling, after they walked off. Sometimes, when they hear your footsteps coming, they'll run right at you (I usually "walk and cluck"). Since it's a "no blind" situation at that point, you've got to try to get a shooter out front, and call/ scrape the ground from behind.

From: JohnMC
19-Apr-21
I find birds go to decoys not as well as in the evenings as the do in the morning or midday. If you are hunting them more mostly in the evening do you know where they are roosting? If so set up on the roost if it is on property you can hunt.

From: Orion
19-Apr-21
you need to go in the morning or mid day

From: smarba
19-Apr-21
I doubt "educated" by hunters. Only bowhunters around and few and far between in this particular area.

I agree less likely to come to decoys in evenings, but many times that's the only time we can hunt due to school, athletics, etc. And I have had success at times in the afternoon/evening. We will definitely try earlier when we can. I did hit the area one morning last week and heard FAINT gobbling before daylight, so they weren't quite roosted as close in the same area but at least the vicinity. Once I got them to respond I stayed quiet but they took off to locations unknown and didn't come my way before I had to pull out to leave at 930am. Sunrise is about 630am BTW.

They don't roost in the same area (I don't know where else they go, it's hard to pattern them - I've tried A LOT), let alone the same tree, but when they are in the area I know the general batch of trees. Problem is it's WAY too thick to set up anywhere except where we are at. Just no shooting lanes.

As far as going after them, it's pretty thick for any shots and that scenario doesn't work for my daughter - I need to give her a close, controlled shot.

While I'm on the topic of getting input. I have hunted this area for many, many years. Sometimes action, other times not. I have hiked and explored the area very hard. I have never found ANY water source. I have no idea where they could be drinking within 1+ mile radius. Maybe they do travel a long way for water and that is why sometimes I can't locate them. But how far might they go for water any ideas?

Keep the ideas coming! Thx

From: Brotsky
19-Apr-21
You're doing the right things, you just need to catch one in the right mood. They may or may not be seeing the decoys, especially if its thick. I always thought birds were ignoring my decoys and then I actually got down on the turkey level and they are surprisingly hard to see when there is any kind of cover unless the birds come into the wide open. Personally I would try more aggressive calling, if you are sure they are seeing the decoys I would try a lone or pair of hen decoys and remove the jake (I hate trying that because I love the jake but they may be lovers and not fighters). Otherwise it is still fairly early on in the turkey breeding season, you may try it tomorrow and they come streaking in with their feathers on fire. Turkeys are crazy little critters!

From: Orion
19-Apr-21
Not sure how far the area is from your house/town but here is what i would do. Go in for an evening hunt if you strike out roost the birds they will be there in the morning. I would take my daughter back that morning if there is nothing pressing at school or work. Set up within a hundred yards of the roost and kill one of those toms.

From: Realwarrior
19-Apr-21
Yep, they've been whipped and the boss is still there and breeding the hen's. Get rid of the Jake decoy and just use the single hen. Then they may think that they can sneak in and steal the lonesome hen.

From: smarba
19-Apr-21
Good ideas everyone! I'll keep ypu posted! I did consider pulling down the Jake, but agree with Brotsky I've just had too much good luck with it. And despite the area being thick with brush, I am certain these birds could see the decoys.

19-Apr-21

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
as above and then cause some motion to the hen and or jake decoy with a string attached, See thread, decoy motion. Find a more open area to set up. Yep, try more aggressive hen yelping, to increase interest.

From: t-roy
19-Apr-21
Might possibly try and get extremely aggressive, as mentioned above, with hard cuts, cackles, even trying to gobble hard, right back to them each time they answer. Are there possibly some hens still with them, that you’re just not seeing, Carl?

From: smarba
19-Apr-21
Good ideas Paul. I know the area well and we were in the biggest opening, literally 10 yards by 20 yards. No place else even offers a shot opportunity. There are often turkey track in the opening so it's not like they are afraid to be there. I have read the thread about motion and will see what I can do on that front.

t-roy this particular batch of 3 were Toms no hens, we saw them on multiple occasions around us and no hens. There were apparently hens somewhere in the area because we heard them once the Toms were roosted.

Just looking for reasons Toms wouldn't be interested. I whispered to my daughter "I don't know, they must be gay" and we had to hold back our chuckling.

From: Brotsky
19-Apr-21
...Not that there's anything wrong with that! Ha!

From: 35-Acre
19-Apr-21
So, I had a very experienced turkey hunter tell me to grab a branch/stick and occasionally scratch/stir the leaves (to sound like turkey feeding). I've had them gobble to just that sound. So, if you're hunting in a brush blind it might be harder but if you can get something to make more turkey sounds like that you might have more success.

From: smarba
19-Apr-21
Good idea 35! I did scratch on some sticks and debris in the bottom of the blind but it may have been too quiet for them to hear. I tossed a pile of dried leaves into the corner so I'll be ready for that next time though.

19-Apr-21
AND THEN.............tomorrow or the next day, they could all or one, just run into range for no other reason than, a day or two just went past.

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