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Two Pipe Shoot
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:35 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Wisconsin

I'm late this year! On the road today and got a message to remind me about all things 16. I've got turkey stories already but don't have enough finger to tell them until I get to a desktop. Who has a story in the interim? This is also a great place to ask turkey questions so let's have them too.

Reno

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cowdoc87
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:37 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Kelso, Tennessee

The season opened here April 1 and I haven't gotten out yet mainly because our population has dwindled to near nonexistent but I was encouraged at seeing two long beards tonight on the back clover patch. I'm heading to hunt in the morning with a buddy in Alabama who still has a good number of birds. High winds and a cold front tonight, so who knows where the birds will be in the morning. Hoping pictures to follow

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i reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.
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eng-pointer
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:50 pm  Reply with quote
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Cowdoc what has happened to Your turkey population?

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cowdoc87
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:51 pm  Reply with quote
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eng-pointer wrote:
Cowdoc what has happened to Your turkey population?

I don't know that the biologists know at this point, but our area (southern middle Tennessee) has suffered a severe decline in the last few years. Nothing has really changed (habitat, hunting pressure, farming practices) but the population is way down in a lot of areas.

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i reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:54 am  Reply with quote
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Louisiana has suffered a decline as well. I read an account that DNR in La. believes the season starts before nesting and may require being delayed in the future. Based on radio telemetry collars on 135 hens, hens didn't start nesting annually until around April 7th. The season normally begins almost 2 weeks earlier. 80% of the spring kill occurs in the 1st week. There's some thought that this issue has a correlation to the population's reproduction. Reno, good to see you back. Your absence was noted. Gil
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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:07 am  Reply with quote
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What's a turkey? Smile

I'm too busy getting a pup ready for a test and trying to get a few walleyes. One of these years...

Good to see you posting, Reno.

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fourtrax
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:31 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 616
Location: N. Shore, mn

State of Pennsylvania has figured out that West Nile Virus is affecting their Ruffed Grouse population negatively. Does anyone know if West Nile V. affects Turkeys? Just a wild guess / shot in the dark random thought.......

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Two Pipe Shoot
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:44 am  Reply with quote
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Our population in LA (lower Alabama) is hit or miss. We had seven Toms on opening day and three have died since then in addition to a Jake for our youngest hunter. These birds have PhDs are are quite unpredictable. I played a role in three kills and that was gratifying. Had the boss inside 100 yards twice only to surrender to hens on one occasion and my watch on another. Nice to be back in the land of stupid birds who love to hear Sally (me) make promises she won't keep and watch the boys write checks they can't cash. I won't make it back South this spring but I'm looking forward to calling for others.

I just know that Brother Gil has a story by now...

Reno

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Gil S
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:26 pm  Reply with quote
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Reno, I'd be lying if I said I was having a good season. Just tales of woe. I've been only 5-6 times. Had 2 mornings with birds in trees, but no cigars. Work is eating me alive. Saturday had one come back after walking off. He was about 50 out and never saw him. He strolled off and gobbled about 300 yards away. Went back Sunday and didn't hear a peep. Heard one across the swamp, but after slogging through downed trees by Matthew and mud, he shut up, but I believe he was out of the swamp on the hill. Chased another bird on a burn but he kept moving away. Like I said, work is killing me. I have one more spring after this before I retire for the second time. Counting down. 1 year, 4 months, 22 days. Gil
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Cheyenne08
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:51 pm  Reply with quote
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Gil S wrote:
Reno, I'd be lying if I said I was having a good season. Just tales of woe. I've been only 5-6 times. Had 2 mornings with birds in trees, but no cigars. Work is eating me alive. Saturday had one come back after walking off. He was about 50 out and never saw him. He strolled off and gobbled about 300 yards away. Went back Sunday and didn't hear a peep. Heard one across the swamp, but after slogging through downed trees by Matthew and mud, he shut up, but I believe he was out of the swamp on the hill. Chased another bird on a burn but he kept moving away. Like I said, work is killing me. I have one more spring after this before I retire for the second time. Counting down. 1 year, 4 months, 22 days. Gil


Watch what you ask for Gil, you may get it. Then you won't have any excuses! Wink

Dale

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cowdoc87
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:50 pm  Reply with quote
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Went for the first time this morning down across the line in Alabama on a buddy's place. Intermittent showers, 25 mile an hour winds out of the northwest and temps in the 40's- not ideal turkey day, but you never know. A nice bird with 11 inch beard and spurs over an inch had been killed a couple of days before, he'd had comrades , and we knew their routine somewhat, so the plan was to share a blind in the most likely spot, shoot the bull a little, call occasionally, and wait them out until about 10 when work duty took priority. 2 1/2 hours in and no birds, maybe heard a hen in the pines behind us, but with the howling wind and ears that hadn't had adequate protection from all things guys do for 57 years, who knows for sure. My buddy's phone kept blowing up with messages from work, no action, a stiff back, and coffee looking for somewhere to exit my body called for a change in plans - we'd start slipping back toward the truck and see what might happen in the last half hour we'd planned to hunt. I don't know how many times when "not sticking with the plan" is a bad idea, but it always bites when a big silent Tom is seen hauling frieght out of the county 75 yards away as soon as you step out of the blind 30 minutes before you'd planned to leave, but that's what happened. I have no idea if he was headed in our direction or not, but you always assume he'd be having his spurs and beard measured on the tailgate of the truck if YOU'D JUST HAD PATIENCE AND STUCK WITH THE PLAN!

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i reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.
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pudelpointer
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:56 am  Reply with quote
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West Nile has been proven not to affect Turkey's and Pheasants. I did here there was a new strain of bird flu. Turkeys also get Blackhead and other dieses. Pa Game commission is covering there ass for not managing the resource for the last 30 years. The study Linda Williams did was very limited and of no statistical value. I believe Grouse are affected by west Nile but healthy population with healthy and adequate habitat will weather the storm and bounce back. PA game commission hasn't hit a timber harvest goal in 30 years as well as never hitting Early successional habitat goals.
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Two Pipe Shoot
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:14 pm  Reply with quote
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I promised a story, and even though the Wisconsin season has not opened yet, 2017 has been as exciting as any. I hope you guys and gals enjoy this draft:

I did have one good hunt in Alabama while hunting by myself. There was a bird that we had patterned and given a little pressure that was separated from the main flock and was dominant in that neck of the woods. After giving him a few daysí rest, I slipped in as close as I dared and that was no small task. The tract had been recently burned to reduce fuel in its pine stands and the under story there was not yet greening up and the ground was crunchy with dead debris. You could see a long way through those trees.

I knew about where the bird would be roosted and I chose a massive long leaf pine to place between me and the roost as a way to disguise my waxed-moon stalk well before first light. Even as early as I went and as slow and careful I was, no-flashlight walking in the dark and hoping that the burned brush had not been repopulated with diamond backed water rattlers.

I picked out a broad tree, walked up behind it, crouched down on my hands and knees (not a pretty site) and painfully creeped around the base and slipped into a sitting position. I found my box and favorite slate and touched them up so I could softly speak if the need arose, and waited until the bird gobbled. Birds that are hunted and pressured are trained to go silent at the least unnatural sound, so shock gobbling was out of the question. I knew that when the bird gobbled that he might be close enough to see me from the limb if I tried to pick up a call to use. I had my gun on my knee and both hands on it just in case he flew down in front of me without having announced his presence. That is how spooky a bird this one is, and because I used the word is instead of was, you know where this story is going. He gets away, but itís worth a listen to learn that my strategy worked as planned.

He gobbled before first light and as I listened I could hear a lilt in his voice that makes one believe that he survived a pellet through his vocal chords or had gotten so old that he spoke with a higher pitch. Compare that to a deer hunter seeing the size of a big buck's rack and its easy to get yourself excited about taking home a trophy.

He gobbled in the tree for 17 minutes by phone time and I didn't flinch or make a sound until I was certain that I heard him gobble on the ground, and when he did he sounded 200 yards away. I have a hearing impediment that causes me duress in the turkey woods but somehow I was certain that I knew where he was.

The woods have few trees as the land is managed for bobwhites and the burn was hot so there wasn't much between the bird and I, and when I sent him some soft box yelps he gobbled right back. I counted to five and sent him three more and he cut me off. He knew where I was and he liked what he heard so I had a decision to make: do I ramp him up and draw him gobbling in or shut up until he decides he has to pay me a visit? He knows my location within five feet and I hate to wait out a bird not knowing if he's coming or not but he gobbled so furiously that the waiting was easy. So far I convinced myself that the bird thought all was normal in his neighborhood.

My decision to go silent was based upon the variable that I have not shared to this point in the story; I had to leave my hide in one hour in order to be back at the farm to supervise a young cousin so his father could go to work. Chances are that if I have to leave before I kill the bird he will see me when I stand up, and additional calls might be associated with me the hunter, a bad thing. If I stand up before I kill him, I want as much time as possible to pass before he sees me and when he last heard me so I can use that call again if I hunt him another day.

I shut up and he continued to gobble. Then the bird began what I like to call a strutting path where he worked back and forth left and right in front of me, covering about seventy yards of elevated ground in an otherwise flat bottomland. In front of me was a small section of ground that the fire did not penetrate, and I liked the cover it provided me and there were many shooting lanes between my hide and his location, about a hundred and fifty yards away. He was loud, boisterous, demanding, and quite full of himself and indeed his voice was lilted enough to fire my imagination.

I was in minute 23 of my hour when the bird made an exit opposite of my location to try his luck farther into the burn. He was still gobbling good so I told myself that he hadnít called in any hens and that for 37 more minutes I was still in the game and my strategy still had a chance to work. I could still hear him gobbling at three hundred yards at minute 34 when movement caught my peripheral vision to the left. My set-up was near the edge of a small pasture that the bird liked to use and as I watched, a pair of hens were feeding in a direction of the gobbler and I quickly realized that they were headed to his location.

Easy choice was to try a Hail Mary and see if I could gently spook the hens in a manner that would keep them from alerting the gobbler. I raised my left hand to catch the hensí attention, and they stopped and periscoped at the movement. Then I took my hat off and they started to decide what to do when I took off my face mask and showed my ugly mug. They took off with a trot due west of my location towards the woods on the other side of the pasture, a ninety degree change of direction that would not intercept the gobbler.

Now I am at minute 36 of 60 and the gobbler has not stopped gobbling so I know I am still in the game but I am also losing my resolve to not call again because I so want this hunt to be successful under so daunting of circumstances. This hunt has the chance to prove the value of woodsmanship over all other turkey hunting tools and I get a new charge when the bird gobbles a mere one hundred yards in front of me. I know the bird cannot see me through the patch of brush that didnít burn and I canít see him either, but I start to make out the sound of drumming so I know he is approaching killing range. I still have not said a thing to him in forty minutes.

Looking down the barrel but not quite cheek to comb I catch movement and see the bird through the brush just out of range. I know that he knows that a hen can hear him drum at this range and his ego wonít let him think that she canít resist his whiles, so logic applied might make him think she has left. All he has to do is step around the edge of the brush between us and he will be thirty yards and I will not have to adjust my aim to kill him. I remind myself to get cheek to comb so I donít shoot high just as I see the top of his fan at forty yards through the brush. No way am I going to shoot through the brush because I know how brush can obliterate patterns and Iíve got just over ten minutes to pull the trigger.

The old bird folds and raises his head, looking for that saucy hen he heard a while ago and I want for leaves to scratch so I can convince him that I am still here, come and get it.

Ever so slowly, I touch the button on my phone to see the time and notice that Iím down to six minutes. I rack my brain of all the tricks I have learned to see if there is one that might do the trick, and fail to remember that I can and have called birds with my natural voice in volume low enough for the situation, but that signal is not received. At this range I hear him spit as he goes back into strut and moves sideways but still in range. I see a hole in the brush that should line up nicely if he continues on his path, and as he struts that way I follow him with the barrel, daring him to do so.

As he got closer to the hole in the brush my time ran out. I had taken my responsibility seriously and forgotten that I had set an alarm that I thought would vibrate rather than marimba at high volume. The look on that birdís face when he heard that was insulting. He folded, turned around, and walked straight away from me looking over his shoulder as he went, then taxied for takeoff when I stood up to meet my obligation.

When I made it out of the woods and back to the big house John Henry, daddy to the young man now in my charge, had to hear the story. ďI work for myself, I could have been an hour late and it would not have mattered.Ē I chewed on that one awhile until I could see straight, then realized that I had been successful. I had called the bird within range and most likely would have killed him if my alarm hadnít gone off. If I ever get the chance to hunt him again Iíll make sure not to use my marimba call as Iím convinced that he associates that sound with me Wink

Reno

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cowdoc87
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:03 pm  Reply with quote
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Great story Reno. I guess he wasn't a Rio Grande, or he might have like your ring tone....Might set it to play Dixie next time

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i reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.
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PRONGHORNSOUTH
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:05 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Central Florida

The coyote increase has really put a hurting on the polts down here.
Scurge of the woods.
Crying or Very sad
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