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First Time Hunter Advice

Posted By: crenshawco

First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 04:47 AM

Unfortunately I can't take credit for this post, but it has a lot of the facts and truths of turkey hunting in a fairly short post. This is from a MS forum I frequent.

"Below is a response I typed to a new hunter. Enjoy, critque, or lambast it:

Starting out on public land may make for some degree of frustration beyond that found on a piece of property with less pressure. But then again, I have run into more people on private land than public, mostly trespassers. The biggest advantage to public land is probably the vastness of land you have to hunt in most cases.

Nevertheless, you may do well to find someone with some experience to guide you along as you get started. It isn't very complicated, but there are many nuances that cannot be readily explained without experience: How close to get to one on the roost? How do you tell how far one is from you? When should you move locations? What does "don't move!!!" really mean? When should I call? When should I shut up? What is the proper volume of speech in the woods? Is he in range? Should I cross that open field in broad daylight? (That answer is almost always "NO"). Why did he stop gobbling?

Over time, you will assess much of this on the go without much thought. And there will be, if you stick with it, years where you kill turkeys almost effortlessly. You may have great success for many years, and then you may (will) fall into a time where you can't seem to find one anywhere, not even Winn Dixie. But, if you stick with it, the time will come again when you have phenomenal seasons of great success.

And after awhile, perhaps a great many years, you will begin to give lip service to the notion that "It doesn't matter whether I kill one or not; I just love to go." For the most part, in the beginning, you will simply be lying to yourself. But even giving this idea lip service shows some level of maturity, even if it is disingenuous. This may go on for many years, and those lean years will eat at you like some sort of disease. But then one day, you will, seemingly suddenly, awaken to the true splendor that is the spring woods and the wild turkey. And you will understand, profoundly, that the killing obsession is a stopping point along the journey to becoming a turkey hunter.

Thus, it is a worthy endeavor to pursue, but it isn't always smiles and high-fives. People who shoot turkeys over corn or other illegal methods often never "get it". People who are driven by the "Look at me; I am great" attitude often don't ever "get it."

Now, having said all that, it is a wonderful feeling to call a turkey up and kill him no matter how long you have done it or how philosophical you may become about it. It is a great sport; just respect the bird you are hunting enough to go about it in a way that is legal and ethical. Good luck. "

http://bullnettlenews.com/forum/yaf_postsm298018_A-response-to-a-new-hunter.aspx#post298018
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 07:09 AM

That is truly a great post. Lots of insight into what actually requires alot of us to climb out of bed day after day just for the slightest opportunity to hear a gobble
and play the game one more time each year.

I'm ready for March.
Posted By: North40R

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 11:52 AM

Very good post!
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 01:05 PM

Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?


Myself, I like putting my boot on as many bloody necks as possible every year.
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:14 PM

Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?

Still working for #1!
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:17 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?


Myself, I like putting my boot on as many bloody necks as possible every year.


I concur.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?

Still working for #1!


Well we are going to have to change that crap. Can't have you hanging around here and not killing no birds. Only 3toe is allowed to do that.
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:27 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?

Still working for #1!


Well we are going to have to change that crap. Can't have you hanging around here and not killing no birds. Only 3toe is allowed to do that.

Man I hope so! I had some chances last year and learned a lot (the hard way) so I hope to change that status quick like and in a hurry this season!
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:34 PM

Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: n2deer
Very good.

So where you at?

You want to kill one or it doesn't really matter?

Still working for #1!


Well we are going to have to change that crap. Can't have you hanging around here and not killing no birds. Only 3toe is allowed to do that.

Man I hope so! I had some chances last year and learned a lot (the hard way) so I hope to change that status quick like and in a hurry this season!


I am in Athens, we can try to get together and go some this year. I can show you what not to do and have fun while doing it
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:45 PM

I hope to get #1 (and maybe more) this year too Thompson...
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:46 PM

Very good read crenshaw thanks for helping out us newbies!
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:46 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
I am in Athens, we can try to get together and go some this year. I can show you what not to do and have fun while doing it

Sounds great to me! But I've been reading on here long enough to know that you know what you're doing! LOL

I went with JUGHEAD a time or two last year so I learned all the wrong things to do from him...It'd be nice to learn from someone that knows what they are doing! LOL
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I hope to get #1 (and maybe more) this year too Thompson...

I think I'll have to call a bluff on this one....
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:09 PM

Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I hope to get #1 (and maybe more) this year too Thompson...

I think I'll have to call a bluff on this one....


I do hope to kill #1 this year and if that's all I get fine. If I dont get #1 at all that's fine too. I just know that I will be trying very hard to get it. It's going to be a year of mistakes, but ya gotta learn to walk before you run.
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I do hope to kill #1 this year and if that's all I get fine. If I dont get #1 at all that's fine too. I just know that I will be trying very hard to get it. It's going to be a year of mistakes, but ya gotta learn to walk before you run.

Ah ok...I just thought I had seen you post some pcitures on here before of turkeys you have gotten...I guess I've got you confused with someone else! GOOD LUCK!!! I hope you get your first limit, not only your first bird!
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:21 PM

Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I do hope to kill #1 this year and if that's all I get fine. If I dont get #1 at all that's fine too. I just know that I will be trying very hard to get it. It's going to be a year of mistakes, but ya gotta learn to walk before you run.

Ah ok...I just thought I had seen you post some pcitures on here before of turkeys you have gotten...I guess I've got you confused with someone else! GOOD LUCK!!! I hope you get your first limit, not only your first bird!


Negative sir, I have not... I hope the same luck for you too! Just dont let JUG kill more than you! laugh
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
Negative sir, I have not... I hope the same luck for you too! Just dont let JUG kill more than you! laugh

Ah, he's been talking about how he is going to limit out before April...So, I doubt he even hears a gobble this year! LOL
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I hope to get #1 (and maybe more) this year too Thompson...

I think I'll have to call a bluff on this one....


I do hope to kill #1 this year and if that's all I get fine. If I dont get #1 at all that's fine too. I just know that I will be trying very hard to get it. It's going to be a year of mistakes, but ya gotta learn to walk before you run.


You are going to kill one this year man. You got to see how it is supposed to happen a couple times last year, you will get it done this year. You know you are going to be a turkey killer when people are already trying to tell you that you have killed one before you ever even pull the trigger on one. laugh
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 03:55 PM

Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
Negative sir, I have not... I hope the same luck for you too! Just dont let JUG kill more than you! laugh

Ah, he's been talking about how he is going to limit out before April...So, I doubt he even hears a gobble this year! LOL


JUG has one of two things going for him, one is what I like to call imabeginnerandcantdoanythingwrong YET or number 2 where he just has so many birds where he hunts that all he has to do is run over them with his moped while they eat out of the cattle troughs.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 04:12 PM

I see you have tried the moped trick before.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 04:34 PM

This is what I have experienced recently.

Quote:
Over time, you will assess much of this on the go without much thought. And there will be, if you stick with it, years where you kill turkeys almost effortlessly. You may have great success for many years, and then you may (will) fall into a time where you can't seem to find one anywhere, not even Winn Dixie. But, if you stick with it, the time will come again when you have phenomenal seasons of great success.


I started turkey hunting many years ago on public land. To someone who had never turkey hunted or had a family member who turkey hunted it was tough going trying to teach myself. If I had been smart I would have quit during those dark years. I finally got tired of hunting public land with no success and joined my first club. Lessons learned on public land started to pay off, I suddenly started to slay turkeys. A few of them came so easy I could have banged pots and pans together and still killed them. I killed birds at 5 yds, I killed birds at 50 yds. Then, for reasons only known to the turkey gods, things got a little harder. My techniques didn't change nor did the effort I put into hunting them. Things started to even out. Year before last I had 4 killed, literally, but the gods decided to have more fun with me. Uncontrollable reasons ranged from dogs running the bird off as he was coming in to birds flying off the roost and try to land in your lap (sucks to have a red dot when they do this). Last year I hunted mostly public land and remembered why I joined a club. Also, I shot and missed a good 'un last year.

None of the above has shankened my love of the sport, even having to listen to Yekrut and N2 rib me about it. wink All I have to say is those gobbla's better look out this year, I am pumped and ready to go at them sum bucks again this year.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 04:51 PM

I hope I skip that part. smile
Posted By: JUGHEAD

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 06:07 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
JUG has one of two things going for him, one is what I like to call imabeginnerandcantdoanythingwrong YET or number 2 where he just has so many birds where he hunts that all he has to do is run over them with his moped while they eat out of the cattle troughs.
I was blessed with LOTS of encounters last year. A sure enough turkey slayer could have prolly limited in both Tennessee AND Alabama had they been on the same hunts I had on the same properties. I suck, spook birds, etc. and will do more of the same this year I'm certain of it. I'm gonna be having a FREAKIN BLAST while doing it though you can count on that!
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 08:41 PM

Originally Posted By: JUGHEAD
Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
JUG has one of two things going for him, one is what I like to call imabeginnerandcantdoanythingwrong YET or number 2 where he just has so many birds where he hunts that all he has to do is run over them with his moped while they eat out of the cattle troughs.
I was blessed with LOTS of encounters last year. A sure enough turkey slayer could have prolly limited in both Tennessee AND Alabama had they been on the same hunts I had on the same properties. I suck, spook birds, etc. and will do more of the same this year I'm certain of it. I'm gonna be having a FREAKIN BLAST while doing it though you can count on that!


There is one thing about it, if you have a bunch of birds you can do what you want and still kill them for the most part. smile

I had a ton of birds when I was learning and IMO having a bunch of birds to fool with allows you to learn much faster than someone who can only play the game every now and then on public land or private ground that is not as heavily populated. IF you learn from your mistakes, you will be a turkey slayer in no time IMO when you have good places to learn on. About 5 or 6 years into my turkey hunting career I remember years where I would call into shotgun range 30+ different longbeards and only shoot my limit (2 for a while and then up to 3 at the time in TN) by only shooting birds that looked to have full thick 10+ inch beards or better. I screwed up alot then and still do, but when I did screw up then I could strike one up around every bend it seemed and calling up 3 -5 longbeards at the time was the norm. I had a ton of birds on all of my places so anytime I went I had a better than %50 chance of coming home with a bird each trip the best I remember. I am MUCH more careful now and do not have a 1/10th of the birds I used to so I sort of have to or I would be playing the game very much. You keep killing birds, because I AM going to keep ragging you no matter what. smile
Posted By: North40R

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 08:58 PM

Quote:
About 5 or 6 years into my turkey hunting career I remember years where I would call into shotgun range 30+ different longbeards and only shoot my limit (2 for a while and then up to 3 at the time in TN) by only shooting birds that looked to have full thick 10+ inch beards or better.


A true turkey hunting God is revealed!!! Lol!
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 09:22 PM

Originally Posted By: North40R
Quote:
About 5 or 6 years into my turkey hunting career I remember years where I would call into shotgun range 30+ different longbeards and only shoot my limit (2 for a while and then up to 3 at the time in TN) by only shooting birds that looked to have full thick 10+ inch beards or better.


A true turkey hunting God is revealed!!! Lol!


I made it look easy back then. laugh I have to work for them these days.
Posted By: JUGHEAD

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 09:37 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
because I AM going to keep ragging you no matter what. smile
My feelings would be hurt if you didn't. grin
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 09:40 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
Originally Posted By: L.Thompson
Originally Posted By: REDMAN1
I hope to get #1 (and maybe more) this year too Thompson...

I think I'll have to call a bluff on this one....


I do hope to kill #1 this year and if that's all I get fine. If I dont get #1 at all that's fine too. I just know that I will be trying very hard to get it. It's going to be a year of mistakes, but ya gotta learn to walk before you run.


You are going to kill one this year man. You got to see how it is supposed to happen a couple times last year, you will get it done this year. You know you are going to be a turkey killer when people are already trying to tell you that you have killed one before you ever even pull the trigger on one. laugh


I sure hope can kill some. Lets hopes that comes true.
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: JUGHEAD
I'm gonna be having a FREAKIN BLAST while doing it though you can count on that!


Man yea no matter what, it is going to be awesome thumbup
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/22/11 10:27 PM

Ya'll add to this, what do you think is the most important factors related to being a good turkey hunter? Mine are as follows in no particualr order.

- Having good places to go with lots of birds
- Being patient and knowing when NOT to move
- DON'T spook any turkey, hen or gobbler if you can help it at all.
- Know the property you are hunting. Know where the fields, creeks, ditches, fences, any major topographic features are on it and how to work a bird across/around them.
- Know where the birds want to be and when they are there. Do your homework and know where they roost, where they feed, where they strut, where they go when it rains, where they go when the wind blows hard.
- Knowing when to call and when not to call are both important, but not what I would call a deal breaker in most situations. What you say to them when you are calling and the rhythm of your calls is more important that what it actually sounds like too IMO. Most hens I have ever heard could not even place in a calling competition, the rhythm is all that matters.
- Hunt where there are lots of birds. smile
- Always be ready, never walk or make a move with your gun on your shoulder.
- Never call when not VERY close to a place set up. Sometimes it happens so quick that all you can do is sit down.
- Listen to the old timers who have been doing it for several years. They don't share info much, but when they do it is turkey gold.
- When you can hunt with someone who has killed several birds and learn what you can from them. Learning on your own SUCKS!
- Know how to "sit down" on a turkey. Right hand shooters typically should try to always point their left knee to the bird at all times to offer the widest range of motion to swing and shoot. Left handers Should point their right knee towards a incoming bird at all times. Trust me, track them as close as you can when you can because it will happen when you lose track and he pops up 10 feet to your 90 degree right and there isn't squat you can do but stop breathing and watch him sail to the next county.
-DON'T MOVE A MUSCLE!
- Plant chufa, shoot a rhino with nitro's, or really cheat and use some TSS. laugh

Ya'll add to this when you can, it could be lots of help to some new hunters and a refresher to us that have been at it for a while.
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 12:04 AM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
he pops up 10 feet to your 90 degree right and there isn't squat you can do but stop breathing and watch him sail to the next county.

Had that happen last year...Then missed his buddy running away at about 50 yards
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 02:27 AM

Yekrut nailed most of what I have learned as well over the years.

NEVER underestimate where a committed gobbler may show up. I made this rookie mistake last year and it cost me a good gobbler (no comment hellfighter). He may gobble at 9 oclock one minute and then pop up at 5 oclock 5 minutes later. He makes his living doing this. If he is close, have your gun up and ready. I had mine shouldered and on my knee and still couldn't get it presented correctly when he popped up 10 yds at 1 oclock on me when he had just gobbled at my 7 oclock not a few minutes earlier.

In the offseason, learn to shoot from your opposite shoulder. It helps with the above.

Learn to use calls that other hunters do not use or know how to use. Wingbones, tubes, etc.

On pressured birds, less is more. Tone it down a bit, maybe to just a single cluck or purr. Listen around you. If the real hens are not sounding off, you sounding off just lets them know you are not a local hen.

A turkey "call" can be anything; a scratch in the leaves, a slight rub of a turkey wing on a nearby bush, the beating of a turkey wing against the air.

I'll add as I think of more.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 02:35 AM

Good stuff 3toe!
Posted By: Dixiepatriot

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 02:46 AM

The best year I ever had was the year before last. Didn't kill one but heard and saw them almost every time.There seems to be no limit to ways to screw the deal up. Once I went out and was messing around in the evening because I was bored. Low and behold one gobbled so I sat down on the side of the road. Never saw him so I got up to leave and he took off from behind some bushes about 20 yards away. You learn from your mistakes. I should have a doctorate in turkey hunting.
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 03:37 AM

Very good reading from you guys...keep it coming!!!
Posted By: Southwood7

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 07:45 PM


I lucked up and killed my first two long beards ever last year on back to back weekends. I had two close encounters before I killed my first. I had gobblers within 15 yards over my right shoulder both times and my gun laying on my lap. I wont do that again. They can appear anytime, anywhere!

I also read everything I could on this turkey forum from the
SHO NUFF turkey killers! It helped.
Posted By: Dixiepatriot

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 08:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Southwood7

I also read everything I could on this turkey forum

I owe my last and best gobbler to advice I got here. He gobbled a long time then shut up. I knew from stuff I read here to sit tight and sure enough about 30 min later he showed up quietly looking for me.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 10:12 PM

Think LIKE a turkey and ask yourself WWTD (what would turkey do)? It helps when you know what they are going to do before they even know what they are going to do. Being a good woodsman has killed way more birds than calling ever will.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/23/11 10:31 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Think LIKE a turkey and ask yourself WWTD (what would turkey do)? It helps when you know what they are going to do before they even know what they are going to do. Being a good woodsman has killed way more birds than calling ever will.


I'll add a little to yekruts post regarding woodsmanship as I think this is one of, if not the most important thing for not only turkey hunting, but any hunting. But, as its related to turkey hunting, as was said "think like a turkey".

What does that mean? It's really fairly simple, although those danged ol birds can make it very hard. A turkey is like most any other animal, 99% of the time he is going to take the easiest path to you. He is not going to push through briers, wade creeks, open gates, etc. He would rather walk around an obstacle than fly, although he will fly it sometimes if the mood strikes him. For reasons only known to him most of the time he would rather walk up a hill than down it. He likes roads and wide open places, unlike a big old buck. When it rains he generally doesn't like to be in the woods where everything is wet and moving, he likes pastures and roads where he can see whats coming.

I mention all this to get to my point. It takes practice, but as you gain experience, the moment you hear that ol gobbler sound off you will immediately be able to take a mental snapshot of your surroundings and "think like turkey" when you are making your most important decisions such as setups, distance, etc. You will be able to process instantly what constitutes a possible obstacle to an incoming gobbler, which way he might be inclined to go if there are fields, roads, or rain present in the area. All of these things are what separates the experienced hunters from the beginners in my opinion. However, even if/when you are able to do these things it doesn't always guarantee success. I am walking breathing example of that.
Posted By: BhamFred

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 01:25 AM

an expert woodsman with limited calling ability will kill way more birds than a champion caller with no woodsmanship skills. Every time.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 01:59 AM

Originally Posted By: BhamFred
an expert woodsman with limited calling ability will kill way more birds than a champion caller with no woodsmanship skills. Every time.


x2
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 02:10 AM

Another thing that I ALWAYS try and do, especially when in the woods or in a roadway is set up where when that bird pops into view he is within range. There is no telling how many times when I started turkey hunting that I would be set up where the bird could see my location for 100 yards or more before he got to me. More times than not he would not see a hen and lose interest. I used decoys then on just about all field setups and often in the woods too and it helped some, I very rarely use them now and like it better. By setting up where a bird is within 40 yards when he can see you and you can see him it allows you to be ready (you better be ready) but he knows you are close and you know he is close (hopefully). Once he knows he should be able to see you he is going to stop, look, crane that neck, and present a shot more times than not. This is easy to do in the woods where you can set up 40 yards from the crest of a hill and also in a roadway set where you can set off to the side a few feet. There are some places where you have to set next to the road and that is ok, but If the trees are undergrowth are open enough I will often set 20 -30 yards off of the roadway where I am better hidden and in the shadows. You can get comfortable, relax, and spend lots of times in a good area this way and still have the cover to get your gun up if one slips in on you.
Posted By: deadeye

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 11:01 AM

REALLY good advice here - all I can add is do alot of scouting/listening weeks before the season comes in. Slip down roads look for tracks (which way are they headed, strut marks, etc.) Slip up on patches, openings, go find where they roost, locate the hen "tribes" and just learn what's going on. If you find the hens you will find the gobblers. Good part is by doing this early if you get busted it won't matter as much as it would in the days before the opener. Also, alot of mornings I might hear a gobbler and if I am not in the right place I may not even attempt a hunt till the next AM when I have a better terrain and time advantage on him. I am a testament to the "Woodmanship has killed more gobblers than calling" saying but it is true. I don't have a lot of fancy calls. Its ALOT easier to kill one if you get between him and where he wants to go.

Also if you don't hear one don't quit hunting - start hitting clearcuts, patches and burn some shoe leather - at least you might learn something and get some excercise.

I also hunt alot in the afternoon - it will tell you where you need to be or NOT be the next AM.

BTW I think it is easier to call one uphill is because they know a fast escape/take-off is much easier running back downhill.

Posted By: poorcountrypreacher

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 01:56 PM

Lots of great info in this thread!

All I can add is this - when calling, less is more.

Most beginning hunters run the turkey off by calling too much and too loud. Don't scare the turkey off and you will have a good chance to kill him.
Posted By: JUGHEAD

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 03:55 PM

This may be the best thread in the history of aldeer....all of our resident turkey experts throwing advice out there. Merry Christmas to us rookies. grin
Posted By: Dixiepatriot

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 09:29 PM

Originally Posted By: poorcountrypreacher
Lots of great info in this thread!

All I can add is this - when calling, less is more.

Most beginning hunters run the turkey off by calling too much and too loud. Don't scare the turkey off and you will have a good chance to kill him.

I was gonna post something like this. I heard someone say a long time ago about calling ducks was that it was like speaking a foreign language. The more you talk the more likely you are to get busted. I always figured that translated to turkeys. I don't have near the credibility as some of yall but I do know all that calling on TV shows is BS.
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/24/11 10:05 PM

Originally Posted By: JUGHEAD
This may be the best thread in the history of aldeer....all of our resident turkey experts throwing advice out there. Merry Christmas to us rookies. grin


That's right. Thank you experts!!!!!!
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/25/11 12:32 AM

Wow! I'm new on here. I've built my life around turkeys and turkey hunting. I've met a lot of hunters who THOUGHT they were experts on turkeys, but you guys are giving exactly the right advise. Clearly you all have done more than win a calling contest somewhere. This kind of knowledge can only come from years of getting your butts kicked by educated turkeys. Looking forward to sharing and learning on here. The learning never stops.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/25/11 04:28 AM

Originally Posted By: longspur69
This kind of knowledge can only come from years of getting your butts kicked by educated turkeys.



Its nice to learn but boy it sucked while going through it. What seems funny to me. I read all this stuff and its so true.

It seems it doesnt matter how much you read it, its still hard to learn unless you get whipped a few 100 times. grin
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/25/11 04:48 AM

I think us turkey hunters are just slow learners, thick skulled, and stubborn. smile You would think that after we get our butts handed to us by a pea brained bird once we would learn, but NOOOOOOO we go back again and again and do the same stupid things only to come out with the same results. Eventually after 100's of screw ups we learn just enough to win one every now and then and we think we are the shiznit, but really we are just puppet's that they toy with. I don't think anyone ever gets to be great at killing them, they become good at not making the stupid mistakes that cost you hunts.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/25/11 04:55 AM

That's put very well. You just get a little better at not making the same mistakes.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/25/11 03:19 PM

Well put.
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/26/11 03:41 AM

The owner of the lodge I started out guiding for used to tell us all as we were walking out the door in the mornings, "just remember boys, you're going up against an animal that has a brain no bigger than a nickel . . . good luck"!!!
Posted By: BrentM

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/26/11 04:14 AM

Man this is a good thread.

I think something that makes a turkey hunter really good is to start out for a couple years with alot of turkeys and alot of opportunities but after that a guy needs to go through a period when he isn't getting into near as many birds for whatever reason and he learns to really sit down on and be patient with the few that he does hear.
I was a bad turkey hunter that killed a pretty good many turkeys for the first few years simply because I had so many to work with.......If I was fooling with one and he shut up there would usually be another one gobbling within earshot so I'd just get up and go to another one. No telling how many turkeys I ran off or just walked off and left, but I really didn't have a teacher and I didn't know any better. Most of what I ended up killing at that time were two year old birds also. When our numbers fell off, I had to learn patience and how to sit with a turkey and before long I ended up getting pretty rough on them.

Tom Kelly references a quote from McIlhenny's book pretty early on in Tenth Legion and I think it's the best advice a beginning turkey hunter can ever get. I can't quote it but I can prettymuch paraphrase it....... "If you're working a turkey and he shuts up then the best thing for you to do is to shut up too and assume that you've won the game and he is on his way. Don't worry about how long it takes him because he doesn't have any sense of time to begin with. Just be ready and be listening for him to drum because more often than not that's what you'll hear if you just sit there and be still for a little while" That's pretty simple advice but it's about as time-tested and deadly as anything I've ever tried or heard of in the turkey woods.
Posted By: crenshawco

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/26/11 11:18 PM

This thread has really taken off since I last looked. There's a lot of really good advice in these words but I think the only way you really will learn is time in the woods. Memories and lessons are truly learned in the field with first hand experience more than anything you could ever read. These tips are all great to try to remember and keep in mind though.

Another thing that I think has made me a much better hunter is hunting public land. I hunted private leases and clubs for several years and did pretty well. I thought I knew a lot about turkey hunting, then I went to college and hunted public land for 5 years. I found out quick that I didn't know anything about dealing with these birds. Over those 5 years I learned a ton though and began killing birds. The last two years I killed my 3 bird MS limit on public and called a few in for friends. After that when I would get a chance to hunt private land it was much easier and I would laugh at the ways I used to hunt. Every bird is different though and I still get my tail kicked by birds more times than not. That's what makes it fun though. You learn something new every day in the turkey woods.
Posted By: Turkey Petter

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 07:28 AM

Woodsmanship, Patience, and a good shotgun. I will add one thing....so many times you kill the turkey before the gun goes off. Learn something about him every time you hunt him until you pull the trigger.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Turkey Petter
Woodsmanship, Patience, and a good shotgun. I will add one thing....so many times you kill the turkey before the gun goes off. Learn something about him every time you hunt him until you pull the trigger.


Very well put. thumbup
Posted By: RELLIK

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 02:47 PM

I didn't start hunting turkeys til I was in my late 30's and have been blessed with killing few nice ones. To me the best way to learn is to find a great turkey hunter and take him with you. Or in my case, have one talk you into going for the first time. I had the privilege of hunting with YEKRUT the first couple of years of my turkey hunting career, and we tore them up. I watched, learned and listened. To me nothing could be better than surrounding yourself with experienced people. Me and YEKRUT don't see eye to eye on many things but when it come to turkeys we share the same the same views, most of thoughs I had to learn. Really guys it's no different than anything else in life, surround yourself with people that are better than you and you will elevate your skills. I'm blessed with a good bit of land and alot of birds, but its the people and the tricks of the trade that make the difference.

Last year I was on my on, and made plenty of bone-head mistakes. But I killed birds, not because I'm a good hunter but because of what I learned from others.

So Redman, if your first couple of years are half as good as my first, hang on big boy, it might be more than you can handle. YEKRUT is as good as there is, so shut-up and listen and I can almost guarantee you will be "shooting one in the face" soon.
Posted By: Trey

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 03:54 PM

A ton of great advice here, but I don't recall this being mentioned... Learn to hear drumming. It is a skill that a turkey hunter cannot put a value on. As everyone knows, when birds don't gobble it doesn't mean they aren't there. Move slowly/quietly and listen for the "vrrrrrooooooooommm" - it is a dead giveaway that a longbeard is close, unless you are like me and think you hear it in Publix. It will help tremendously, especially when birds circle you and when a birds has gobbled 100 times in 30 minutes and then shuts up.

Apologize if previously mentioned.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 04:45 PM

The drumming is good advice, although some people can't hear it well.

I am one of those. Too many years of dove shoots and .22 squirrel hunts have damaged certain levels of my hearing. Drumming falls into one of those. I have heard drumming one time, and it was on youtube. I had to turn the volume up real high to hear it. My buddy was sitting there going, "You can't hear that!". Until I turned it way up I couldn't.
Posted By: BrentM

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 07:23 PM

Dang 3Toe I hate to hear that. That would make turkey hunting alot tougher than it needs to be and take alot of the pleasure out of it for me. It's odd I can't hear a turkey walking or scratching leaves to save my life but I can hear one drum for 80-100 yards if the woods are still.

If I have plenty of cover and terrain to work with and can walk quietly lots of times I won't even sit down to work a turkey until I can hear him drum.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 07:32 PM

It sucks, but you adapt with other levels. I can hear everything a turkey does except that. I have heard that a drum is on a certain decibel wavelength or whatever you want to call it. I also have been told you can feel it in your chest as much as hear it.

I was hunting with hellfighter last year and we were set up and he was motioning he could hear the gobbler drumming. I didn't hear a damn thing. Didn't "feel" it in my chest either.

An other example will serve. My son came up with something off youtube that kids were supposedly using as ringtones because alot of adults past certain age lose that level of hearing. I couldn't hear it. My wife in the other room was like "what the heck is that sound?". My son was like "Dad can't hear it".
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/28/11 09:55 PM

Scratch like a turkey (credit to Larry Norton). Turkeys have a cadence when they're feeding (2 then 1, or 1 then 2, etc). But I see the experts on tv sometimes just rustling the leaves real fast; they sound more like an armadillo/wounded squirrel than a turkey. Sometimes that works, but if you scratch like a turkey it'll work a LOT more.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 12:32 AM

Thanks for bringing drumming up. It is something I didn't think of either. There have been a few birds that I have killed over the years that I never heard gobble and might not have gobbled for a few hours on their own or I just couldn't hear them. On a few occasions I was just walking through the woods and heard drumming, sat down, and made a call and game over. If you can hear drumming it can really help when the bird gets close, BUT it is hard as heck to pinpoint in the woods sometimes. I have found that even when they are strutting that some birds drum when coming in, some don't, some seem much louder than others also. It seems like the older birds can really make it ring loud when they drum and younger birds are not as loud. Might just be me, but that is the way I have found it to be anyways. If and when I hear drumming I know it is time to flip the safety off and get the cheek on the stock because something is about to happen because he is 100 yards or closer.

Scratching is a great "call" too. Until about 5 years ago I never used it and then started using it sometimes and like someone said above it does work. Like longspur said, make it sound like the rhythm of a turkey not a dang dieing squirrel though. I usually pick up a stick and use it or my trigger finger hand.

Good stuff guys, keep it coming. Would ya'll like to see this thread get pinned to the top so new guys can read it and take something away from it? I think it would be a good idea as long as ya'll want to look at it for a while.
Posted By: BrentM

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 01:56 AM

If you're hunting mountain birds, it's amazing how much those limestone rocks can reverberate the drumming sound and make it sound like it's coming from all around you. I have never been able to pinpoint a bird drumming in a rocky place. I hate it I never can figure out which way I need to be looking.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 02:20 AM

Originally Posted By: BrentM
If you're hunting mountain birds, it's amazing how much those limestone rocks can reverberate the drumming sound and make it sound like it's coming from all around you. I have never been able to pinpoint a bird drumming in a rocky place. I hate it I never can figure out which way I need to be looking.



I have noticed the same thing in bankhead.

Really important to get on the same level as those mountain birds.
Posted By: LUMPY

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 07:11 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Would ya'll like to see this thread get pinned to the top so new guys can read it and take something away from it? I think it would be a good idea as long as ya'll want to look at it for a while.

I'd like that...It's funny the number of "don't" written in here that I did last season! It was just so hard to be quiet when he was gobbling everytime I made a sound on the call!! LOL...
Posted By: Dixiepatriot

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 07:41 PM

I don't really like stickys but one won't hurt.
Posted By: crenshawco

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 07:47 PM

I've got another one. I would agree that woodsmanship will kill more birds than championship calling, but calling definitely helps too. If you hunt an area that gets a decent amount of pressure, try running some different calls that they don't hear everyday. Use a tube call, wingbone, or scratchbox. Just something that has a little different sound. Every bird is different and sometimes one call will make a bird hammer every time and other just won't.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/29/11 08:53 PM

Originally Posted By: crenshawco
I've got another one. I would agree that woodsmanship will kill more birds than championship calling, but calling definitely helps too. If you hunt an area that gets a decent amount of pressure, try running some different calls that they don't hear everyday. Use a tube call, wingbone, or scratchbox. Just something that has a little different sound. Every bird is different and sometimes one call will make a bird hammer every time and other just won't.


Yep, swapping calls has worked a time or two for me too when I had about given up on killing the bird or he was losing interest.
Posted By: BhamFred

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 12:36 AM

I use a wingbone and a snuff can for those call shy birds....calls they almost NEVER hear.

I can id a mouth call near every time, a box call can fool me, clucking on a wingbone will fool me. I'm pretty sure a turkey can out do me....
Posted By: poorcountrypreacher

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 12:38 AM

I've got an uncle that has a lot of hearing loss and he has never heard a turkey drum. 3toe, have you ever had a hearing test? I would suspect that your low-pitched hearing is severely damaged. I can't hear high-pitched sounds, but fortunately still hear the rest of the spectrum ok. I can't tell that my "turkey hearing" has gotten any worse thru the years, and I've heard turkeys drumming further than what the experts say is possible.

I was marking timber this afternoon on the side of a ridge and heard a jake yelping in the hollow below me, maybe 150 yds away. I didn't have any kind of call with me, and then I remembered my phone has a turkey call app. Its not very loud, but I gave him a couple of kee-kee series, and a few gobbles and went back to painting. He didn't answer, but about 30 seconds later he came up the hill on a dead run. At least he had enough sense to fly when he saw my orange cap. And some people find it "sporting" to call them up and murder them in the fall. Some even shoot the hens. wink

>>>Me and YEKRUT don't see eye to eye on many things<<<

I can't imagine that anyone could disagree with Yekrut on anything.

Well, maybe them Amish women he likes aren't that appealing to most folks. wink

I just realized I better delete that app from my phone before turkey season, or I would be guilty of hunting while in possession of an electronic call.

I have been rambling a lot with this post and added nothing to the original question, so I will tell everyone to just remember Rule No. 1 - don't scare the turkey. If you don't scare him off, you have a good chance to kill him. If you scare him off, its all over.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: BhamFred
I use a wingbone and a snuff can for those call shy birds....calls they almost NEVER hear.

I can id a mouth call near every time, a box call can fool me, clucking on a wingbone will fool me. I'm pretty sure a turkey can out do me....


Don't you just love trying to figure out if you are hearing a hen or a hunter? I still get fooled thinking I am about to get run over by a hunter sometimes when out steps a hen. Some of them just sound so bad it almost has to be a hunter. smile I have heard some hunters that I thought were birds too though, but they are far and few between.
Posted By: REDMAN1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 01:31 AM

Originally Posted By: RELLIK

So Redman, if your first couple of years are half as good as my first, hang on big boy, it might be more than you can handle. YEKRUT is as good as there is, so shut-up and listen and I can almost guarantee you will be "shooting one in the face" soon.


I hope its more than I can handle, cause that will make it 1000x's more fun!!! I will do as you say then... thumbup
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 02:21 AM

WHERE you hunt can effect HOW you hunt. I usually don't owl hoot or crow call right out of the truck. I like to give them a chance to do it on their own, especially on public land. I roosted some turkeys one afternoon, got in on them the next morning before daylight. I heard a jeep pull up to a popular listening location and my heart sank. I thought I was going to have to share this turkey hunt. The guy owl hooted and crow called for about 5 minutes and drove off. Another hunter was doing the same thing from another direction. I heard him crank his truck and drive off. No sooner than they'd gone out of hearing the turkey started gobbling like he was behind schedule. I never killed him but had fun playing the game. However, on private property where I have a better idea of what turkeys have been exposed to, I don't hesitate to owl or crow call early.

On public land, I want a turkey to gobble as little as possible to keep from attracting other hunters. On private property, I'll call just to hear him gobble, , , for a little while at least.

On public land or in a club, I might hunt a bird more aggressively (considering I might never get another chance at him). On private land, I won't use a lot of different calls at one sitting. If he ends up getting spooked, I'll come back next time with a call he hasn't heard yet.
Posted By: 3toe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 04:42 AM

I know my low range hearing is damaged. Too many year of shotguns without hearing protection. Don't misunderstand', I am not deaf and have pointed out gobbling turkeys to friends wo didn't hear them. I just cant hear drumming like most folks.
Posted By: JUGHEAD

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 08:52 PM

Originally Posted By: BrentM
but I can hear one drum for 80-100 yards if the woods are still.
Wish I could. I finally started hearing it well last year, but not at nearly the range you can hear it. Seemed like about 50-60 yards is about my max range for hearing it if it's really quiet out.
Posted By: BhamFred

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 09:06 PM

Originally Posted By: YEKRUT
Originally Posted By: BhamFred
I use a wingbone and a snuff can for those call shy birds....calls they almost NEVER hear.

I can id a mouth call near every time, a box call can fool me, clucking on a wingbone will fool me. I'm pretty sure a turkey can out do me....


Don't you just love trying to figure out if you are hearing a hen or a hunter? I still get fooled thinking I am about to get run over by a hunter sometimes when out steps a hen. Some of them just sound so bad it almost has to be a hunter. smile I have heard some hunters that I thought were birds too though, but they are far and few between.


I carried my then seven year old daughter turkey hunting in Sumpter Co. We were easing along prolly 100 yards from the property line and heard a "hen" start yelping across the line. I stopped and listened for a minute, not saying anything. My daughter finally said "that guy is a terrrible caller"...and she was correct. Pretty bad when a seven year old calls it on you....

troy
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/30/11 11:28 PM

Yeah Troy, that is pretty bad! smile
Posted By: BhamFred

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/31/11 12:00 AM

I somewhat disagree on the calling too much is a bad thing....

If ya know you are fooling with an old bad bird then way less is better, sometimes a single cluck. I killed an old gobbler near Leeds several years ago. He would gobble off the roost and if you yelped to him he shut up and move away. I caught him one morning just right, he was gobbling every minute er so. I waited till a plane came over and clucked once. He shut up. Started gobbling again in ten minutes. I shut the hell up. An hour later he walked up to 25 yards and I killed him with a very old Stevens 12 ga double.

Now for the disagree part...IF you are good with a call and IF the bird is a two year old then one ALMOST cannot screw it up by calling too much. And I like to call and two year olds like a lot of calling....

troy
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/31/11 12:08 AM

I'm with ya Troy, I like to call when the bird likes it. I will blow one up and if he is eating it up I will let him eat it all the way to the gun. Two year olds are fun and I sure do like to hear them gobble as much as they will.
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/31/11 01:00 AM

I think knowing how to "read" a turkey is probably the single most important thing in calling one up. It's kind of synonymous with woodsmanship. And, unfortunately, very little of it can be taught on the internet. It just comes with experience. Their are exceptions to almost every "rule" or piece of advice that I've ever given, and most of them revolve around reading the turkey.
Posted By: BhamFred

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/31/11 01:30 AM

one thing I think a lot of hunters miss is making too much noise in approaching a bird in a tree. The bird hears ya but is unsure of what you are, answers yer calls...but nowayinhell he's going to fly down to you.....

troy
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 12/31/11 02:01 AM

Originally Posted By: BhamFred
one thing I think a lot of hunters miss is making too much noise in approaching a bird in a tree. The bird hears ya but is unsure of what you are, answers yer calls...but nowayinhell he's going to fly down to you.....

troy


Very true, getting excited and in a hurry can make for some noise.
Posted By: poorcountrypreacher

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/03/12 12:32 PM

Originally Posted By: BhamFred
I somewhat disagree on the calling too much is a bad thing....

If ya know you are fooling with an old bad bird then way less is better, sometimes a single cluck. I killed an old gobbler near Leeds several years ago. He would gobble off the roost and if you yelped to him he shut up and move away. I caught him one morning just right, he was gobbling every minute er so. I waited till a plane came over and clucked once. He shut up. Started gobbling again in ten minutes. I shut the hell up. An hour later he walked up to 25 yards and I killed him with a very old Stevens 12 ga double.

Now for the disagree part...IF you are good with a call and IF the bird is a two year old then one ALMOST cannot screw it up by calling too much. And I like to call and two year olds like a lot of calling....

troy


When I talk about rookies calling too much, I'm talking about people who can't call very well who still call a whole lot. I believe that anyone just starting out should be taught to call sparingly. And as Longspur said, when you get a little experience and can learn to take the temp of the gobbler, you can increase your calling.

I've found the only time I can get away with a lot of loud and aggressive calling is the first week of the season. After that, all the stupid ones are dead. I love to call aggressively, but it usually doesn't work very deep into the season where I hunt. One reason I enjoy trips to the midwest is that those turkeys seem to like aggressive calling.

But wherever and whenever I hunt, I try to never forget Rule No. 1 - Don't scare the turkey. Don't scare him by calling too much, getting too close to his tree, making too much noise, bumping him walking out, or any other way. Avoid scaring him and you can probably kill him.
Posted By: longspur69

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/03/12 02:26 PM

My old mentor, who was hunting turkeys way before I was born (1969) said, "you can't talk a turkey in to coming to you, but you can talk him in to leaving". Not suggesting that we don't call them to us, but that the bird either wants to come to you or he doesn't right off the bat. If he does, it will be on his terms and in his time. If he doesn't, good luck to you if you think you can change his mind.
Posted By: n2deer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/03/12 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: longspur69
My old mentor, who was hunting turkeys way before I was born (1969) said, "you can't talk a turkey in to coming to you, but you can talk him in to leaving". Not suggesting that we don't call them to us, but that the bird either wants to come to you or he doesn't right off the bat. If he does, it will be on his terms and in his time. If he doesn't, good luck to you if you think you can change his mind.


I feel this is true, probably, maybe, most of the time as with about anything else in turkey hunting.

When all else fails its time to fall back, circle around and get in front of them.
Posted By: Dixiepatriot

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/03/12 05:24 PM

Originally Posted By: n2deer
When all else fails its time to fall back, circle around and get in front of them.

A friend of my son's kills a lot of turkeys and when hunting with them I studied everything he did. After a few times we realized his strategy was to locate birds, figure out where they were going, and get there first.

I think it was Cuz Stricklin said "The turkeys will teach you how to hunt em."
Posted By: North40R

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/05/12 10:26 PM

If I keep reading all this good info I might be able to kill one this year! Lol!

Very good info! PCP has it nailed on RULE #1! Don't scare him today because you get frustrated and tomorrow the tables might just turn!

If you're working a bird and know he's got the ladys around him try sleeping late and going to his strut zones mid-morning or mid-day! This has also worked well for me on public lands where pressure is high at daylight then the road hunters pull out.
Posted By: Outfitter1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/07/12 06:08 PM

Some good info in here....Great thread....Thanks guys!

Never hunted turkey, I'm gonna try my luck this spring though. I've seen more turkeys on this new club than deer...a LOT more.
If nothing else, I'll scare the hell outta them...lol

Wife got me a new Benelli Vinci. What choke ya'll had the best luck out of?
Posted By: Parker243

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/09/12 07:18 PM

Ive been reading this forum for about 3 years now and have just now joined. Ilike to deer hunt but once I got bit by the turkey bug it stuck to me and I absoolutely love it. Im 17 and have been turkey hunting for awhile with my grnadfather and uncle and they have killed many. I shot my first jake 3 years ago and killed a double bearded one with 1 1/8 spurs two yeard ago. I love reading yalls posts, especially Yekrut and N2deer. Ive been hunting with a buddy of mine that goes to auburn and he is by far one of the most smartest turkey hunters ive ever been with and I credit him with most of my knowledge. I cant wait until this season, but I definetely believe hunting with someone is one of the best ways to learn. I honestly feel like Im hunting with some of yall when I read yalls stories. I hope to talk with yall during the season and just appreciate all yalls stories and stuff.
Posted By: YEKRUT

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/10/12 01:07 AM

Welcome to the roost Parker. There are some good birds both young and old on here and then there is JUGHEAD the troubled one eyed jake who will dry hump your decoy while you are napping. Hang on to the limb when it gets windy and try not to get spurred by one of the old gobblers running around here.
Posted By: hawglips

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/10/12 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: 3toe
I know my low range hearing is damaged. Too many year of shotguns without hearing protection. Don't misunderstand', I am not deaf and have pointed out gobbling turkeys to friends wo didn't hear them. I just cant hear drumming like most folks.


I can't hear drumming that well either. And if a cricket is right beside me, I can't hear him with my left ear, at all. Zero. High range is totally gone in that ear.
Posted By: cahaba

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/24/12 06:17 AM

I have tinnitus in my ears and it gets bad sometimes. I can hear sound but cant figure out the direction its comming from. I thought about a Walkers Game ear.
Posted By: ridgestalker

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/28/12 12:56 PM

You have heard it before but calling is a small part of turkey huntin.I have always carried two calls a mouth call and a tube for loud cutting.You have to be able to feel the turkey out knowing the lay of the land is huge.If not spooked the bird will do about the same thing each day if roosted in the same spot.Know your gun and distances and be able to make the shot.Don't underestimate his ego.Yes breeding is first but a good fight works on those old birds.Field birds a real turkey fan by itself is murder on turkeys.Turkeys seek shade in the heat of the day.Shoot for base of neck not the head.Good Luck
Posted By: Bustinbeards

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 11/09/12 06:24 PM

Have a few good locator calls, a crow and an owl hoot. My Harrison hooting stick has helped me to kill as many turkeys as any call I have. But be careful to not over use them and don't try to locate turkeys from any type of vehicle!

Pattern your gun! With several different loads and chokes to find the best combination for your set up. This will make sure your gun shoots the best pattern possible and POA and POI are the same. This also will give you the knowledge to know How make the needed adjustments if they are not the same. Know how distance affects your patterns and your lethal range and how small or large your pattern is at closest and longest of that range.

If you use decoys, once you get set up, go ahead and get your barrel up and pointed at those decoys. If you do get a bird to commit, he is eventually coming to those decoys, if you don't booger him up, If you try to make a move to get the gun on him, most likely he will bust you. be patient and he will come into your line of fire.

Get a comfortable seat coushion, be prepared to sit and be patient, a comfortable hunter is a still hunter!

Listen more than you call, often times less is more!
Posted By: jchan

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/10/13 12:47 AM

I can't wait to get deer season done with. Only problem I have is there are a series of ridges and my 80 acres is on the last one that they run. Last year I never heard a gobble. I know we have coyotes, but most places do nowadays. I think I am going to put some wheat out on an old logging road on my ridge Feb. 1st and try to bring them in to stay. Any ideas?
Posted By: wde05

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/09/13 07:48 PM

Great information! Thanks!
Posted By: jmj120

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/01/13 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: longspur69
My old mentor, who was hunting turkeys way before I was born (1969) said, "you can't talk a turkey in to coming to you, but you can talk him in to leaving". Not suggesting that we don't call them to us, but that the bird either wants to come to you or he doesn't right off the bat. If he does, it will be on his terms and in his time. If he doesn't, good luck to you if you think you can change his mind.


That's great advice. If he's coming, shut the heck up.
I think some folks just like to hear themselves call. I've fooled with them before, had them gobbling only to have some goober come in behind me and start calling and cutting, ect.. The gobbler shut up, finally the idiot left. I just stayed, and after 45 minutes or so, called lightly. The old gobbler sounded off and flew down to my right. I moved up to his roost area and hit it again. He almost ran back up there.
Posted By: Sims

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/18/13 04:36 AM

Is there anyone that would let me tag alone so I can learn the sport?
Posted By: richone

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/18/13 06:49 AM

you would have to be a paying quest in our club .
Posted By: BamaGrad85

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/11/13 10:02 PM

It all evens out in the long run. I learned on private land and got taken to school by ole Tom on many occasion, but then the lessons I learned paid off and the toms started falling. Now I hunt in a club and the competition is fierce. I haven't connected this year yet but there's 3 more weekends left. Hang in there and keep plugging at it. It will eventually work out. Roll Tide Roll
Posted By: cahaba

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/17/13 06:00 AM

This is the first year I ever thought about quitting. I only kill a bird every two years or so. Every thing I have learned has been on my own and it's been a long hard ride. Next year I am going to ask; beg if I have to to get someone to show me some things. I don't even care if I get to shoot.
Posted By: bowtarist

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/17/13 06:52 AM

That's the way I was cahaba. Then I met some guys on here and other places that have taken me and I have learned a lot this year. Don't give up on em yet.
Posted By: Blackhawk

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 06/30/13 05:52 PM

my first calling lesson the turkey gave me was the gobbler was with two hens so he would not leave them only way i got him was to make the hens fighting mad he followed them to my gun. that was on westvaco land near hwy 13 in TN. once he was on the ground he would not gobble, but the hen would yelp. so i kackled to them they called back, call like they do makes them mad here they come him too.
Posted By: themax1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 08/04/13 09:00 AM

I have hunted turkeys since the late 60's and I could not have said it any better.
Posted By: BrentM

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 11/01/13 09:48 PM

I just sat down and read every bit of this thread again. So much good information in here. I feel sorry for a rookie trying to read it though so much information to try to process at one time.
Posted By: letsgohunting

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 01/08/14 11:49 AM

Always be on the look out for that silent hen out front of the gobbler. I had this happen to couple years ago she busted me b4 the tom crested of the hill.
Posted By: Brent

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/19/14 06:20 AM

Originally Posted By: BrentM
I just sat down and read every bit of this thread again. So much good information in here. I feel sorry for a rookie trying to read it though so much information to try to process at one time.


No schit.
Posted By: Brent

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/22/14 10:30 AM

Originally Posted By: 3toe
I know my low range hearing is damaged. Too many year of shotguns without hearing protection. Don't misunderstand', I am not deaf and have pointed out gobbling turkeys to friends wo didn't hear them. I just cant hear drumming like most folks.


I can't hear it either. I've been watching videos trying to learn a little. I turn it all the way up and still can't hear it.
Posted By: LoCo

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/07/14 09:16 PM

Scenario: A gobbler is alone in a large field. Hopefully you are around 10 yds from the edge of that field. Watch his BODYLANGUAGE. This is when you don't want to call too much. He wants you to come to him and he can see where you the hen should be. If he struts and takes a few steps your way you might give him a few more soft yelps. Don't get him too fired up, this is when he hangs up. I like to get him a little hot, hear him gobble a couple times, and then just shut it down usually. Scratch with your off hand behind you a little. The ole timer's tip: If he ever starts pecking, he's coming. Just let him come. The feeding is a sign of comfort, and the body language signal that he's committed, knows where you are and is coming to take a closer look.



Posted By: LoCo

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/07/14 09:28 PM

I've had several guys just starting out tell me about birds that gobbled good for them on the roost, gobbled on the ground and then just shut up. A couple things, he was comfortable on the roost, he flew down where he was comfortable, and he let you know where he was. There's a good chance he may be coming to you and that's why he shut up; he's coming in silent. I usually wait 10 mins or so after he goes quiet, give a nice loud yelp and then shut up again. Basically letting him come in (listen for the drumming) or letting him leave.

For me, I have birds shut up on the ground because in this same scenario, they had to cross thru a pine thicket or just a thick spot in a swamp. I have a LOT of coyotes and they don't want to be heard until they get to where they can see clearer.
Posted By: toothdoc

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/15/14 04:40 PM

The only time I don't like killing one is if I'm calling one in for somebody else to kill. I love the bang flop regardless of who pulls the trigger.
Posted By: tioptoe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/28/14 01:46 PM

I have never killed a turkey. this is my first year to hunt turkey. I have been one time on public land, but didn't even hear a bird. I have a friend that killed one on opening day at a WMA he said he would help me, but I am stumbling around in the dark.
Posted By: bamaeyedoc

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/28/14 02:14 PM

Originally Posted By: tioptoe
I have never killed a turkey. this is my first year to hunt turkey. I have been one time on public land, but didn't even hear a bird. I have a friend that killed one on opening day at a WMA he said he would help me, but I am stumbling around in the dark.


As noted previously you have two options.

1.)Hook up with an experienced hunter for a couple of hunts and watch what he does and listen to what he says even if it doesn't make sense to you.

2.) Wear out some boot leather and scout, scout, and scout some more. I know some folks that spend more time scouting before the season than they do hunting during the season. That's because their preseason scouting pays off with successful hunts and their season is over pretty quick.

Hang in there. It takes work to kill one but once you do, you will be hopeless!

Dr. B
Posted By: tioptoe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/28/14 02:17 PM

I can imagine the addiction. I am always thinking about it. If I get a bird I will be sprung!
Posted By: AU_trout_bum

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/28/14 02:28 PM

As bamaeyedoc said, go with someone that does know what they're doing. It shortens the learning curve tremendously. It sounds like your friend is willing to be your teacher.
Posted By: tioptoe

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/28/14 02:43 PM

He is. He is taking me next weekend. I have to work this weekend. Looks rolleyes like vacation next year for me.
Posted By: BamaGrad85

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/25/15 09:03 PM

I was fortunate when I started hunting Mr. Tom. My 1st hunt lasted all of 10 minutes. I called in a jake and rolled him. I thought there was nothing to it. The following Saturday I got schooled. I ended up shooting a big one early in the afternoon, but not after I had made several mistakes that like yekrut said I learned from and corrected. I've matched wits with old toms as well as some I thought were dumb as dirt. The thought of getting up early in the morning before 1st light and setting up in the woods in hopes of matching wits with one of these birds is worth every minute of my time. Throwing a soft yelp out there in the unknown and to be answered by a thunderous gobbles excites me to no end. It's one on one. I don't win them all, but I have won my fair share. Good luck in your pursuit and be safe.
Posted By: Michael256

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/18/15 07:40 PM

I posted a thread asking for advice because somehow I missed this sticky. Great thread, very informative. I appreciate it! I'm learning on my own, so every little bit helps. I might have to try to find someone I can hook up with who can show me ropes better. I currently only know a few calls, and when I hear people say find the roost, I don't even know how to do that. So I will definitely keep researching. Thanks again
Posted By: SeanB

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/22/15 06:20 PM

Same for me, I started out on the Cahaba WMA teaching myself and would get some distant gobbles but never anything close. After two years with no luck on the WMA the third year I had the opportunity to hunt on private property and got one. I have had good success and lots of fun on private land ever since but still don't think I have learned enough to hunt public land. I still have not had a Tom come up in full strut or to a decoy either. The second is probably my fault as I don't give them enough time to get a look around...
Posted By: CeeHawk37

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/24/15 12:32 AM

Well, I thought I had posted in this thread a long time ago when I signed up and stopped lurking, but apparently I did not. That said, I just wanted to say thanks for the advice guys!

I had never really been turkey hunting, even though they are pretty thick on some of my family land. I went a few times here and there, and even with guys who are very knowledgeable but never got one to the gun, though occasionally we would see one. I had the calls and a decoy when the were legalized, but never could get lucky.

Fast forward to 2012. After reading this thread and itching for an excuse to get out in the woods I set myself to trying to finally kill a gobbler. Opening day that year I laid the smack down on a big gobbler on Choccolocco WMA. Didn't really call to him, but I clicked a few times when his harem got within sight. They came to investigate and he was right behind them. When I shot he was at 20 steps and the hens were within 5 steps, which got wild when they were trying to bug out.

I called up a second one later that year on Choccolocco. He wasn't as big as the first but I knew that I got him interested and curiosity got him a face full of shot.

The advice about not calling so often and using woodsmanship rather than trying to do like they do on TV helped me kill those birds. I moved that summer and haven't been able to chase them like I want to since then. I won't be chasing them this year either as i just had to get a few screws put in my ankle due to a sports injury. But I already have the itch to get after them next year.

Theres a ton of good hunters and people on here, as well as good info. Just wanted to thank you guys for sharing some of it with us newbies. Good luck this season to all!
Posted By: Gotcha1

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/13/15 06:55 AM

Give a turkey some room on your side of the creek when you are trying to get him to cross.-If it's open woods, get 100 yards away or so, depending on the terrain and cover. Just get away from the creek.

No particular reason for posting this. wink
Posted By: NWALJM

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/19/15 03:25 PM

My question fits in this topic. Beginner turkey hunter here and new to the forum. I've been in the woods looking for turkey a total of 2 times this far with no luck or sign of turkeys. I spend most of my time on Freedom Hills WMA in Colbert County and some on private land in a deer club where I'm not even sure turkeys are around.

Can some of you vets give some tips on what type of geography I need to look for to find turkey sign, and any other beginner scouting tips and locating/calling tips? I only have 1 more week but would like to make the most of it learning.
Posted By: Honolua

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/21/16 01:10 PM

I was gonna post this on the first time hunter thread but it might fit better here. The guy was asking about Dekes.

Although I usually tote a Jake, I think it's a crap shoot. The minute you call they will have you zero'd. They know exactly where you are, period.

Sometimes if they reply, I will immediately close as much distance as I can quietly cover and try and catch his ass sneaking in to where he thinks i am.

There are other times that I will hide behind the deke and use it for a blind.

I've sat in front of a great Deke and had birds run like hell at first site of it. Usually they have gotten a beating recently.

I think that there are A LOT of situations where the bird will hang up waiting for a hen to close the last 40 yards, so you will have to move anyway.

There are definitely times that birds get spooked when the close and don't see a deke and can't hear a bird moving around...(sometimes raking leaves can help).


Every dang day turkey hunting is different anybody here that says x, y, or z works every time and never spent any time hunting.

It sure as hell aint like the Editors on tv make it look.

The most successful guys are the guys that can adapt to a fluid and constantly changing situation. If you can't adapt you will not have any success beyond blind luck.

If you are gonna sit in a ground blind over turkey dekes and throw yelps off a box call like the guy on tv did and expect to kill turkeys, i would say save your money and time and stay home.
Posted By: AUwrestler

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/28/16 11:33 PM

Just read through the whole thread again and it is Gold. Its been said before, but most the time the best thing to do is softly yelp, flop your hat, yelp a little louder and then sit tight. It may take him a while, but if he answered you. He's coming. Thanks to all the guys for sharing your wisdom. Lost 300 acres of land this year, so Public land it is. Still new to the game. If only I could find an old-timer who could show me the ropes:) Thanks again, can't wait for March 21 and 22, 2016.
Posted By: bama1157

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/07/16 03:14 PM

I just read through this thread again and want to say Thanks guy's this will be my first year... now if I can just remember all this next week I will be doing good..
Posted By: ChaosHuntress

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/27/16 08:26 PM

Oh wow! Love this thread! Brings a lot of info for a first time turkey huntress! Thanks guys for all the wonderful insight!
Posted By: Oscarflytyer

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 04/13/16 10:11 PM

I had played at turkey hunting a few times. And a little discouraged. Then, last Saturday, a buddy who I introduced to fly fishing/tying (something I have been doing for 40 yrs) went turkey hunting with me, and was my caller. He truly showed me how to hunt a turkey! We never saw the Tom (worked him for nearly 2 hrs, and he circled us 360 deg) but I learned a ton! Best hunt I have ever been on. Felt like I should be paying for a guided hunt! And now I really know how/what it takes to turkey hunt. Will def enjoy it a lot more! Thanx Doug!
Posted By: Frankie

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/10/17 09:27 PM

Originally Posted By: BhamFred
an expert woodsman with limited calling ability will kill way more birds than a champion caller with no woodsmanship skills. Every time.


lol ,,,,, yep!!!!
Posted By: kenny1955

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 03/12/17 05:07 AM

last year 7.30 am opening day i heard a cluck sound them 7 to 8 gobblers talking/ i try every thing with my lynchs fool proof box call the hen was clucking gobble gobble gobble then i started clucking like her happy hour the hen came first then 7 toms talking strutting what a sight i had one hen and 4 toms 3 jakes standing 30 ft in front of me plus 2 Avian-X LCD Lookout Hen Turkey Decoy i raise my lever side by side 16 ga made in 1927 i took a real big long aim and yes tom fever came over me boom i killed 2 Osceola turkey & 2 70 dollars decoys what joy
Posted By: AUwrestler

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 09/25/17 10:00 AM

Something i learned this year. When you have a Tom coming in and a hen starts to call from behind you. Let her call and draw him in. But if she is headed toward him to take him away. Wave your arms so the hen can see but not the Tom and run her off. That way you are the only :"hen" he will be looking for. If not she will walk past you and take the Tom away.
Posted By: oldandwise

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 09/25/17 11:14 AM

Call too little is better than calling too much
Posted By: paulfish4570

Re: First Time Hunter Advice - 02/13/19 05:01 PM

i just read the whole thread. i read tom kelly's book decades ago. i'll be a 67-year-old tyro this season, but i do have three turkey hunters who will help. thanks for the thread, fellas.
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