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Spring Turkey Reports !

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by CanyonMan, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Well guys, it's that time of year again! Spring turkey season is upon us, at least here in Texas/Okla.

    As we all kinda get to know each other over time here on GT, and especially, here on the HFC forum, most of you who have read my post know that we have guided hunts for many years, and are really about 'turkey only,' anymore.

    Well, although i have still not got to hunt for "myself" as yet this season, ( what's new, of course we are only three days into the season ). But I can say the ground in West Texas is trebling with the sound of turkey gobbles! This is a good thing!

    We are going to experience a really good turkey year here this year.
    These boys are really making some noise, and as usual, in this part of the country at least, they are doing it 'very early in the season,' which started on the 6th of April. They usually begin, 'here at least,' to start getting more difficult after about 10/12 days of the season, and you have to hunt a little more strategically.

    Anyway, i though i would start this, "LET'S HERE YOUR TURKEY HUNTING STORY/S" THREAD.

    So, as most all of us, i assume, have about a 30 day season in spring, how about "sharing your experiences", good, bad, etc.

    Pics would be great if you can. And i'm sure we all got some hints to share, or some questions to ask, or frustrations to vent! :)

    So, Fire away, and jump in as you can!

    Good hunting to all of you.
    And we wish you all the very best of fun, and success!

    Be safe!
  2. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Feb 13, 2001
    North-Central USA
    Like you said, I think it's going to be a good year. I was out prowling around one of my favorite critter areas, and I could hear two flocks gobbling back and forth; thanks to the wind, I finally caught-up to one group and managed to snap a picture as they hustled away.

    Some of those bird were BIG! They looked like feathered exercise balls! I think one of the nearby ranchers that feeds pheasants in the winter has been feeding these guys, too...

  3. d0truji


    Feb 20, 2004
    We are heading out next weekend. While elk hunting last year we came across about 100 turkeys. I think we have a pretty good chance at finding them again.
    Can't wait! Here turkey turkey turkey!
  4. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

    Feb 13, 2001
    North-Central USA
    That's not how you call turkeys; that'll just get you a bunch of anti-gunners and anti-hunters...

    ...they're all turkeys, ya know.
  5. I've been out 4 times this season.yesterday I had my 1st real good shot and totally screwed up.

    You heard of buck fever, how about gobbler fever or just hunters stupidty. I was resting at a makeshift empty campsite taking a break after walking and sitting and calling for the last 4 hours, I was sitting down when out of the blue 2, no 3 , wait 4 toms start crossing between the public & private hunt grounds near a fence line. Now here I'm sitting with my gear off water bottle in one hand and shotgun 16ft away laying on a table.

    I did the slowest turtle walk back to the table and slowly retrieve shotgun and trust me this wasn't a easy task with 4 toms and 8 sets of eyeballs looking every which way. As I bring the shotgun up to fire on the 2nd bird who head-neck was in between a tree and cover, one of the toms see me, putt alert call and all 4 gobblers took off like they where running the 50yrd dash. As quick as they came, they left just as quick. 2 of the gobblers where in range on the public hunting side of the fence and the other 2 where on the private ranch side. The last gobbler was very HUGE I guess he was smart to stay on the private fence side of things.

    So the moral of this story, always have you're gun available, you never know when these Osceola might appear. ;)

    I have but now 2 more weekends for hunting in the our central zone and tomorrow is the last day for the southern. I will be back out next weekend.
  6. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Guys, thanks to all so far for sharing, i am sure there will be alot more as the season continues.

    Noway, i could not help but laugh when i read your post. "Not at you," but because "I been there"...."Many, Many times!" :)

    Isn't that always the way it is, you call your guts out, don't accomplish a thing, then soon as you lay your gear down and go to the bathroom, or take a break, or something, "BOOM" There they are!

    Man that is a bummer to the max! It is no easy chore to do the 'turtle crawl,' with all those eyeballs on ya.

    As far as you "screwin up a shot". I once had two gobblers on the ranch in Oklahoma, one with a beard dragging the ground, (they don't stay that way long, they start breaking off), they were lined up for one of those "two with one shot," senerio's. I was laying on my belly at the time, with a 12ga. side by side. Soon as the two lined up, I let go..... Boom. They both ran away unharmed. Almost wrapped that gun around a tree. Still to this day have "no clue," how i missed. But i did. Besides, my blame shoulder felt like i broke it with the strange angle i was laying in while i pulled the shot off. Wish i could say that was my "only screw up!".. I have had a cajillion of them since. :)

    Well, look forward to hearing you got one in the freezer next weekend.
    BTW... I would like to invite myself to come hunt with ya one of these times... I need a "Grandslam," And need the Oceola, and the 'eastern' to get it. The 'eastern', will be 'in the bag', i believe, this fall for me as our family has large ammounts of prime land in Tennessee, and so i feel good about that for me this fall when i take the trip down there. But, Then i will need the 'Oceola', to complete te "Grandslam" of all the species.

    Hang in ther Hoss!
    You'll get one before it's over!
    Thanks for the story!

  7. TScottW99

    TScottW99 NRA Life Member

    Jul 15, 2002
    Roanoke, VA
    Our season opened today ;f Had five gobblers gobbling their heads off at 6:10. By 6:30 they flew out, hit the ground and shut up. Henned up bad. Still had a great day and can't wait to get back out.
  8. bustedknee

    bustedknee Curmudgeon

    Aug 1, 2001
    Wythe County, VA
    I live in Alaska but I'm working in Washington DC for 30 days.

    I own a piece of property in Franklin County, VA., so I took Friday off, drove down and scouted it. Friday night I heard some great Bluegrass music at the Floyd Country Store.

    Saturday morning, the first day of season, I was in place before daylight. I've taken several turkeys over the years but usually in the fall and I've never tried calling. This year, I'd been practicing my calling.
    There was ample evidence that turkeys had been working all over the woods. From my scouting, I decided to set up on a heavily wooded ridge overlooking a wide hollow that had 3 springs in it.

    Just as I gained shooting light, I heard two separate “gobbles” on the ridge just east of me. Just as if I had planned it!
    Then a third Tom gobbled further up on the ridge that I was on. I waited a few minutes then gave a very wobbly call.
    Immediately, I got three replies! Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

    A hen, a couple hundred yards up my ridge, between me and Tom number three, started talking her head off. She proved to be a real chatterbox.

    At first, I figured she was another hunter and he was really overdoing the calling. But she worked her way around the head of the hollow then back to my ridge. Since I considered her the expert, I let her chat away. On the rare occasion she shut up for a few minutes, I made a call, and each time, was answered with at least one gobble. I guess all that calling practice was paying off.

    After about forty-five minutes, the hen moved down into the hollow behind me then shut up. The Toms fell silent as well. I figured something was up. I could only surmise that someone was sneaking up on my back.

    I shifted so I could look up the ridge and gave my sexiest call. A gobbler answered from about fifty-yards away. I strained to see through the brush.

    A Tom appeared! Then another! I figured it was the two old boys from across the hollow.
    The second one looked to be the larger of the two. He spread his tail fan and strutted down the ridge toward me. When his head appeared in a hole through the brush, I settled the sights on his eye.

    He stopped, then just stood there and stared at me through that hole in the brush. I sent a load of 20 gauge, number 4’s out to meet him.

    At 0720 I was making pictures. One day of scouting and 1 hour of hunting had me grinning from ear to ear. That Tom weighed 20 pounds, 5 ounces and was sporting an eight-inch beard.
    As I hiked out to the car with my happy load, I could hear a faraway gobble, on a ridge to the north…

    As I type this, I’m back in DC. I fly home to Alaska on Tuesday. The Turkey Hunt of ’04 has to rate as one of the greatest weekends I’ve spent in several years. Maybe it was the contrast, of working in DC, with the crime, and politicians, and crowds, then spending a wonderful two-days in the woods.

    My only regret is, the hunt had to end.
  9. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Man, Great story. Great bird! Congrats! My stetson is off to ya Hoss! That really was a wonderful trip for ya, and a lot of great fun as well. Something you will remember the rest of your life.

    I also like the part about the " 20ga. " bumping off the 'big goobler'.

    So many people feel they need a canon. we make 20ga. a minimum for guided trips, but i have taken turkey with a .410. I do not suggest this, nor practise it.

    I use a 12ga, with #6 turkey loads, and in 30 odd years of this, with 20, and 12ga, with such loads, it has been a bout a 99% success rate. The rest was pure error on my part.

    Thanks for sharing the story, and good luck to ya!

  10. tree house

    tree house

    Jan 17, 2004
    seeing tons of turkey out in upstate NY (Catskills). 18 days and counting til the opener. seeing lots of birds which is a huge relief given the wicked winter we had. saw a multiple flocks of 10-20 birds out in the meadows over the last few weeks including one monster group of 100+ birds I kid you not. I just about crapped my pants. turkeys are some tough mofo's to make it through weather like we had this year here in the northeast.

    this year I've got the bug worst than ever. i'm shaking like a dog sh##'ng peach pits, I've never been so excited for a spring opener (probably because I got skunked last year).

    good luck all. be safe.
  11. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Well boys, so far i'm hearing from you, "Man more turkeys than ever, we got a bunch, seeing them everywhere, I've got the itch to go, got the bug i'm ready!" :)

    "I AGREE".... I actually do not, Hear me, "DO NOT," have to guide anyone on the 15th, 16th, 17th, So, i will report to ya after the weekend.

    Laugh if ya want to, but this year for the first time, i am using my G31, .357 sig, (with my Rem: 12ga. backup of course). Why not? i have used just about everything else.

    Just so you don't think i am going to blow him up, i am using light .357sig FMJ. With a close "craw shot," should be clean meat.
    If i miss.... i quickly grab the 12ga. :)

    Later, and good luck to all you guys.
    Lets hear from ya now as the season moves on.
    Please be safe, and respect the land and game, and other hunters, if you have to be around them.!

    I have a pretty funny story or two to share already, from guiding a guy. I will share it later.... Gotta go.


  12. Michigun

    Michigun Miss Michigan?

    Mar 1, 2001
    Michigan, USA
    My season starts this Monday, but I’ve been scouting hard every night sense Thursday of last week.

    There are at least 5 gobblers sounding off in the roost, near me, each night… looks good, but it’s still fairly cool up here & the weather seems to decide when they start responding to calls.

    I have to say though that I scared the ever-living crap out of a VERY nice tom last night… bad enough that he flew out of his roosting spot while it was pitch black out. I never heard him fly up where he was & walked right under him… the bad part is that I stopped to shoot (I had my AK with me…) a soda-pop can while I was no more then 20 feet away from his tree… I hope he forgets about it in the next 4 days…
  13. allhowl


    Dec 16, 2001
    NE Okla.
    Got mine on 4-6-04 about 620AM. I set up in front of a large pecan tree with 2 hen decoys & 1 jake in front of me about 20 yds. I had set up after hearing the turkeys in the roost as we were walking thru. Anyway we called and had gobblers responding from 3 areas. A jake flew down in between my decoys and I gave him a load of #6 to the head. Was about 17 lbs. and saw several more but didn't get another shot. (limit in my county in OK. is 2 gobblers)

    Funny thing happened last week when I went after another gobbler. I walked through the woods with a headlamp on my cap and the light spooked several birds off the roost, so turned off the night blaster & continued. After setting up the decoys and seeing 8 or 9 fly down into the open field in front of me, I called in 2 big Toms. They were next to each other and about 50 yds. away and wouldn't come any closer. They would stare at me but I never moved and I knew with my camo they couldn't tell I was a threat. After several minutes of stareing me down they left. I had been afraid that ths shot would have wounded or perhaps killed both Toms, they were so close & I won't take uncertain shots. Anyway when I returned to the SUV I saw that my Nightblaster was still on my head & the shiny aluminum in the flashlight must have warned them of the danger. Can't believe I forgot to remove it after setting up!!! LOL
  14. VinniefromNY

    VinniefromNY MyOhMy

    Jul 18, 2003
    Latah County, Idaho
    Headed out Turkey hunting a week from today...first time hunting, ever!

    The season is about 6 weeks long in the Panhandle region of fiance works with a guy who owns 60 acres approx. 40 miles N of Moscow, and he invited me to go with him. I picked up my combination license and some camo and I'll be using his 20 gauge...

    I don't have a shotgun...yet. Just my G22 for now.

    What made me even more interested with hunting is that he said he saw 6 Elk cows and a bull 75 yards from his house yesterday morning...;P ;P ;P

    Now I have to find out when Elk season is....and buy the tags! ;) ;)

    BTW: if my terminology of Elks is wrong, I apologize. I am a total newbie....:) :) :)
  15. Glockerel

    Glockerel Got Mojo?

    I had so many gobblers around me it was unreal. This morning after the flydown, all the hens were running everywhere and it was tough to compete with them. I saw a huge tom strutting a couple hundred yards away. I stalked him real slow, cutting and softly yelping as I walked. I followed a treeline till I got close. I saw his bright blue head go behing a tree. I thought he had seen me, but he never knew what hit him. When he strepped around the tree all puffed up, I let fly my load of Winchester Super Mags of 4 shot.
    23lbs 13oz, 10 1/2 " beard and 25 mm spurs. What a great experience.

    Here today, smoked tomorrow!
  16. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Well, Howdy all! I told you boys in the post of mine above, that i finally had A few days ('for myself'), to actually hunt, and not guide.

    Well here goes a "two part" story.. might be kinda long, but what the heck.

    Here on the ranch in W. Texas, we like to think we have 'monster turkeys,' heck this is Texas man everything is big right?

    Let me refresh your memories from one of my post above... remember i said i was going to hunt this year with my G31, .357sig, and FMJ ammo.
    Well, here we go. got out there late thursday afternoon, about 2:30pm
    sat up on top of one the canyon ridges, and just listened for a while.

    Heard a gobbler about 400 yards behind me, so i took off in that direction... only trouble was i had to go up and down a cajillion canyons and climb my guts out to get to where i heard the gobble.
    The gobble kept getting further away, even though i really laid down on the diaphram call... I persued anyway.

    Finally i got to one of the old roads on the ranch that 'borders another ranch', a neighbor. Let me put it this way... "YOU DON'T WANT TO 'EVEN' HUNT THERE!" I looked over the fence and noticed he had just plowed up about 100 acres of ground, and there was a number of horses there as well. I let loose with some good yelps, and got a really good gobble, (the same guy i trailed for the last hour).

    I got down behind a mesquite tree, and really laid the sexy cuttin and yelpin on him... This went on for almost 30 minutes. Every time i did my hen thing, he would shake the ground, (so to speak). Finally.. there he was, in all his struttin glory! a true "godzilla!"

    This sucker needed a wheel barrow to pack his beard in! :)

    He got right up to the fence, on the 'neighbors side', and i was about '30 feet' from him. he folded up the tail fan and wings, and stood there broadside, about '12 inches' from the wire, I had my sights with the G31 right on his shoulder wing.. you might say at this point, wow, easy shot. You would be correct. i slowly drew the trigger back, it was just ready to break, and "BOOM." Then it dawned on me, hey, this is a FMJ, it will go right through him, and perhaps bounce off a boulder and maybe make it's way to a horse on the other side of him.. no good. Also, he 'was not on our property', and i 'will not' shoot anything on another mans land without his permission, (which i did not have). I let my gun down, he saw it and split at warp speed, Bummer!

    I went the next moring, same spot, called the same bird for almost (this is true now), 45 minutes, i called he answered, i called he answered, etc, etc. but the sucker would not cross the fence!

    Temptation gripped me like a vice to cross that fence! but i had to let him alone. Plus i had major cotton mouth from all the calling !

    Then i saw a jake, could have blew his brains out, but let him go, so he could grow up, i wanted "godzilla". Headed back to the ranch house, tripped over a piece of barbed wire my dumb brother left laying on the ground while fence building, fell right on my glock, and almost broke my fool neck.

    Worried that perhaps i screwed up the gun, i fired at a rock in the canyon , about the size of a softball, about 55 yards away, blew it to pieces.. everything was cool. Got dark, went to the house.

    For the sake of time and space here... the same thing happened the next day, with the same stinking bird...(he was the ony one i really wanted understand), I think at this point it was a vengence thing! :)


    So, i turned my attention to bobcats. i even screwed that one up!
    Moral of story! I got NOTHING! Except a sore throat and back!

    Now i got to tell ya this one.. i guided a guy on a hunt, he wanted to get "real close he said." So, i was feeling a little frisky, and thought i'd have some fun with this sucker. Man this guy was a monster, he was about the size of a Dallas Cowboy linebacker!

    Well, I took him out about 45 minutes before sunup, and sit him down on a log, right under a roost, ( he didn't know this), i said in a soft whisper, so you really want to get very close huh? He said, "you
    bet". about that time the "poop" started falling on us! I siad "is this close enough?!"... He was freaked out.. so i moved out of there, since that was just a "nasty joke", and placed us about 60 yards from the roost. well, light came, and here came the gobblers, landed right in a little meadow, like a landing strip. I called, one came, right at us. I told him, "to wait till i said shoot". He was really ate up with "turkey fever to the max." Finally there was his bird, i said "anytime Hoss." He fired the 12ga. hit the turkey in the feet and upper legs, (drumstick area), and 'just barely'. The bird was hurting but took off running like a missle. this big guy "threw his shotgun down", and, (ready for this?)... He took off on foot running after the gobbler as fast as he could! I yeld his name out several times..."stop, stop, stop," he kept running, with the turkey in a good lead, although the bird was doing some pretty major limping. I grabbed the guys gun, and took of runnin towards him yelling stop man. Finally, the bird "really slowed down" i was puffing like i had just run a 1000 mile marathon, this big boy hardly was even winded.

    I gave him the 12ga. and he finished off the half cripped bird.
    I did not ask why he did this, (he was to big), I just said, man, what i great hunt! :) DUH!

    Well, i have had it for now. I will get to go again (by myself), next weekend. I have nobody to take, and i hope to see "godzilla" again..
    "THIS TIME ON OUR SIDE!" :) He is the "only one out here i want."
    This is a "personal thing at this point!"

    Hope you enjoyed the post, I know it was long. And i hope to give you all the report of the death of "godzilla" next weekend!

    I have really enjoyed the heck out of "ALL" your post here. I cannot not answer them all, so don't feel left out.

    Michigun ,

    your post, with the AK, cracked me up man. Hope your wife cooked up the tin can real good for ya! :)

    VinniefromNY ,

    Your 'termiology' of the elk is correct, if you meant the names of male and female.. i.e. "cows and bulls," you got it Hoss.


    Very nice bird man. Congrats!


    Your "head lamp" story cracked me up! Learn that lesson well. I'm sure you have "seen the light!" :) Hang in there, you'll get one.

    To all the rest.. good luck, very good post, keep 'em coming, i am really enjoying this boys!

    Be careful!
    Be safe!

    What happened to ya Hoss?

    Good hunting guys!

    Adios for a few days boys!

    CanyonMan.......... ( IN SEARCH OF GODZILLA )
  17. {What happened to ya Hoss?}

    What happen to me? This weekend I spent 2 days here on public hunt ground ( you only have half a day to hunt ) , clucking and yelping trying to get turkeys to either call or make it over from the private cattle rancher side to the public hunt ground fence side.

    The only bird that I saw those 2 days where sand hill cranes, which are about the shape and size of a small turkey hen. At 0730 when the sunlight is low and the fog is burning off the ground, the sand hill crane walking a trail with it's bright red crown looks very similiar to a turkey and kinda gets your heart a racing and beating when you are trying to validate it, but nope not one turkey was seen for thoose 2 half-days, only sand hill cranes. I heard a few gobbles but mainly the turkeys wheren't interested to any of the hens yelps and most likely had other hens deeper into the cattle rancher property that they hooked up with.

    The only cool thing was I scoped out 4 deer on sunday 2 of which where a doe with her fawn that cross about 8 ft in front of me. The moma stopped and looked at my jake "5 panel 2 man blind" and me and kept raising her head and stomping her feet trying to figure out what this clump of camo person was what face mask on was.

    The fawn ran back about 10yrds and just watched moma, the pair actually stared at me from 8ft away ( no lie ) and then walked directly across my shooting lane and even walked into the decoys. The fawn sniff one of them and by this time they where at the fence line. The momma alert ( probably got wind of me ) and the fawn watching her mom and it's tail, & dart back into the cover and actually ran across my day pack lying on the ground a few feet away.

    The whole activitiy was kinda interesting and specially since the deer never put 2 + 2 together and figured out that it was me the whole time sitting their. This would have been a easy kill but if it did took place in deer hunting season for our anterless days, I would never kill a Doe if she was training & caring for a fawn.

    That was the pretty much the hi-lite to my sunday morning turkey day that just made my weekend. I walkout about 12:30 tired, thristy, sore and ant & mosquito bitten, but I did have fun ;f

    Hey d0truji, the wind kinda picked up closer to midday in my area, but I kinda enjoyed it. It masks alot of the leaves crunching when moving and keeps the flies from flying. Also the wind kept the temp down. We have partly cloudly with hi in the low 80s and it was a great day. :cool:
  18. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Noway said... ( quote )..
    "That was the pretty much the hi-lite to my sunday morning turkey day that just made my weekend. I walkout about 12:30 tired, thristy, sore and ant & mosquito bitten, but I did have fun. (end quote).

    Ain't it something that we can walk away from an outing, with all the above mentioned things wrong with us, "AND STILL HAVE FUN!" :)

    Wish you would have got your turkey my friend, but sounds to me like you still had a really good and fun time anyway. I bet you'll get one later! Those birds of yours, must have been sending mail to the "godzilla bird" of mine, saying.."Don't cross any fences."!

    Now if those sandhill cranes would only grow a beard!!!

    Good post Noway.


  19. I saw more Sand Crane hills that sunday in that one county then I ever seen in my whole life. I'm talking easily about 30+ birds from the trip out and the 5K acre section I hunted. I thought they where having a crane convention or just maybe the turkeys where using them to confuse the hunters or as forward observers ;g

    For thoose of ya that never seen a sand crane hill, I posted a picture below. A common bird in the cow pastures of central florida. They don't spook like turkeys but have the same profile as a small hen w/ a doofy walk and more closely related to the crane and heron family.




    Every tiem I saw a turkey profile beyound the tree and fence line my hopes where rising until I realized that they wheren't turkeys when they started to walk or got out of the shade so you could really see them. Next time I will not froget to bring the binoculars. ;f