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Msteffen

Calls, blinds, and decoys?

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Msteffen

I am going to try turkey hunting for the first time this year. I plan on hunting in Maine and hopefully New Hampshire as well. Given that you can't hunt on Sunday in Maine, I expect most of my hunting time to take place in the evenings right after work, with Saturday morning hunting as well.  

 

Anyways, I am starting to think more about gear I may need/want and picking them up at sales I see till the season start. So I am looking for advice for a newbie essentially.

--- I know there are several types of calls. In anyone's opinion, is there specific ones that are worth getting? Seems like they all kinda make the same noises. 

--- I am also thinking I may get a blind and decoys. Does anyone have any recommendations, or does anything think these are very necessary? 

--- Lastly, I will likely get a 12 gauge remington 870 for the season as well as for shooting slugs at deer hopefully(will also be a first time hunt for me). I am debating however between just the general express gun or the express turkey gun. The turkey gun in a bit shorter, camoed, and with a full choke, but also costs a bit more. Do you think the extra cost is worth it?

 

If you have any other recommendations or advice, I would also love to hear it. 

 

Thanks,

Mike 

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Bluegill68

Mike, 

 

Like a lot of pursuits you can dump a pile of money on gear if you so choose.  Since you never done it I'd say buy a slate call, if you can write with a pencil you can make turkey noises in no time.  Jump on YouTube and watch some vids, get an idea of cadence, don't worry about the fancy stuff learn to yelp, purr and maybe some cutting that it . I wouldn't mess with a blind, they are great in some instances but from my perspective you miss some of the best part of turkey hunting being cooped up in a blind. Decoys I can take them or leave them, while I can think of a couple of toms in the last decade I would not have killed without them they have cost me some toms on pressured public land. 

 

The rem 870 will do the trick, but what are you shooting now? I have a decked out turkey/predator gun and I like it but also realize I don't need it. I killed a pile of them with my Beretta 686 with just the factory bead for a sight.

 

Best advice I can give is patience is the best turkey skill to have. 

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Msteffen

I am just shooting a cheap 20 gauge sxs. Its the only gun I got, so I am pretty sure I will get the 870 since I also want a gun for slugs as well as a spare for myself/friends. I am just not 100% sure on which I should get. Leaning towards to turkey gun, since I don't really see a disadvantage.

 

Also, why a slate over other calls? Box calls seem really easy to. 

 

-Mike 

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Michael Stenstrom

You have asked a lot in one post. You will get a huge variety of answers.

 

Gun- Any shotgun will work, even you SxS. However a single barrel with screw in chokes would be a better choice. I use a Benelli with XXX full choke. I is a super tight pattern and allows a greater density of shot out at a longer range, key to a dead turkey is getting shot into the head and neck. Disadvantage is when they come in close you are shooting a tiny ball of shot. That has prompted me to put a set of tru-glo sites on the gun to make sure I am on the spot I need to be. I now love to hunt them with my bow, taking head shots so I try to bring them into under 15 yards. For that a higher investment in decoys was required.

 

Box calls, slates and push button calls are the easiest to learn, with the push button style being the easiest of all. They each have an advantage and I carry them all. Even though I make box calls I tend to use mouth calls the most once I strike a bird, or they are in sight. They require no movement to work and turkeys have incredible eyesight and can spot movement from a long ways off, but many find them hard to use. As bluegill stated, cadence is the key to successful calling.

 

Decent camo and sitting still at the base of a decent sized tree is all you need. Make sure you have a cushion to sit on as the ground gets hard amazingly fast and squirming around to adjust will get you busted every time.

 

You will see lots of discussions in the coming months. Glean what you can from them. Also do yourself a favor and read the turkey hunting tips topic pinned at the top. The knowledge in those posts are amazing.

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Msteffen
2 hours ago, Michael Stenstrom said:

You have asked a lot in one post. You will get a huge variety of answers.

 

Decent camo and sitting still at the base of a decent sized tree is all you need. Make sure you have a cushion to sit on as the ground gets hard amazingly fast and squirming around to adjust will get you busted every time.

 

You will see lots of discussions in the coming months. Glean what you can from them. Also do yourself a favor and read the turkey hunting tips topic pinned at the top. The knowledge in those posts are amazing.

 

While I have you here. What camo would you recommend being a fellow mainer? 

 

Thanks,

Mike 

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Michael Stenstrom

Camo is designed to catch hunters more than to catch game. I have used a pair of Realtree (I think) coveralls to hunt turkeys for twenty years. They are great to slip on over my teaching clothes on pre-school hunts. I have first lite, predator and mossy oak gear also. If it does a decent job of matching the colors around you and breaks up your shape it will be fine. Once again the key is not moving! Where are you located? If you are close enough to get to the midcoast I can help you out and help coach some of the nuances of set ups and calling etc.

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Brad Eden

What my friend Mike said.

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MAArcher
On 1/23/2019 at 1:29 PM, Msteffen said:

I am going to try turkey hunting for the first time this year. I plan on hunting in Maine and hopefully New Hampshire as well. Given that you can't hunt on Sunday in Maine, I expect most of my hunting time to take place in the evenings right after work, with Saturday morning hunting as well.  

 

Anyways, I am starting to think more about gear I may need/want and picking them up at sales I see till the season start. So I am looking for advice for a newbie essentially.

--- I know there are several types of calls. In anyone's opinion, is there specific ones that are worth getting? Seems like they all kinda make the same noises. 

--- I am also thinking I may get a blind and decoys. Does anyone have any recommendations, or does anything think these are very necessary? 

--- Lastly, I will likely get a 12 gauge remington 870 for the season as well as for shooting slugs at deer hopefully(will also be a first time hunt for me). I am debating however between just the general express gun or the express turkey gun. The turkey gun in a bit shorter, camoed, and with a full choke, but also costs a bit more. Do you think the extra cost is worth it?

 

If you have any other recommendations or advice, I would also love to hear it. 

 

Thanks,

Mike 

FYI - I don't think you can hunt after 12:00 in NH. 

If there is one call, I'd go with a Primos limb hanger diaphragm call.  Diaphragm's take more practice, but if you can learn to yelp and purr on one, hands free calling is the way to go.  If you want a full arsenal of calls, I like box calls with the box made from a single piece of wood rather than ones cobbled together.  I find they have a lower and more natural tone.  When shopping for a box call, be aware you can't judge them by the display models at Cabela's and Bass Pro, they display models are always worn and not tuned and sound nothing like their new counterpart.  Its easier if you buy a bunch, try them all, then return what you don't want.  You'll get a funny look returning 10 different box calls all at once but so what.  Better than ten trips to the store to find the right one.  Slate calls are great too.  Its easier to purr on a slate call than it is a box call.  Quiet feeding purrs is what brings them in real close, like in your lap close.

 

Blinds are not necessary unless you want to stay dry in the rain or have a hard time sitting still or you don't think you'll do any "run and gun".  Rather than buy a blind, I'd rather have a good self supporting seat like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Northeast-Products-ThermaSeat-Supreme-Invision/dp/B00IZZ3XPG?th=1  With a seat like that you can be comfortable and mobile.  If you strike out off the roost the rest of the day is spent driving around trying to spot birds, and then running through the woods and plopping down in position.  Its nice to only have to carry a reed call, cushion and gun.

 

A decoy can be useful, the hard part about turkey hunting around here is that at the beginning of the day its freezing cold and at the end of the day you're sweating.  A decoy is just another thing to lug around.  But sometimes they work and draw them in.  Other times it seems to spook them.  I'd get a cheap foam one to start.  Expensive realism is more for the hunter I think.  Or maybe highly pressured birds that have seen a bunch of decoys.  

 

For a combo gun, you have some options and the best set up depends on if you want optics for both deer and turkey.  For the slug barrel to be as accurate as it can be, it needs to be fully rifled with a cantilever scope mount, which means you can't have an optic for the turkey barrel unless you can find a smooth bore cantilever with screw in chokes.  Good luck finding one of those.   So the compromise is to get get an 870 that is drilled and tapped with as short smooth bore barrel and get yourself a turkey choke and a rifled choke.  Mount a red dot on the receiver, sighted in for the slugs, the turkey pattern should be right on too.  A Remington 870 compact with a 21' barrel is about $350 (not sure if its drilled and tapped, if not, its about $100 to have it done).  A turkey choke is about $60.  A rifled choke tube is $50.  Inexpensive red dots about $100.  All in you're up to $550-$650.  I'd also look into having the barrel pinned, I heard it can keep things consistent and improve accuracy.  

 

High density #5 ammo is expensive but its a game changer, especially if you are using optics to take advantage of the additional range.  You'll have a 55-60 yard max range instead of 40.  And once you're sighted in, you'll only use one or two shells a year so the ammo cost is really the least of your worries.

 

Finding the right slug and sighting in can be expensive.  Once you find a slug that groups well, buy a bunch because you may not be able to get your hands on them again and you have to start all over.

 

As far as camo is concerned, my favorite is a leafy bug suit, that way you don't need different camo for different temperatures, you just put it on whatever clothes you want.  I wear shorts under mine for late turkey and September archery for deer.  Don't get the leafy suits that aren't bug proof, you want bug proof to protect against black flies in May, misquotes in September and ticks all the time.  

 

Speaking of bugs, the most important piece of turkey hunting equipment is a thermacell.  

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Michael Stenstrom

Oh yea, sight in your gun!! It is key to determine effective range. Also a head net. I like the 3/4 bandito, as I can slip it down and up easily to cover my shiny face.

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Brad Eden

Dedicated Turkey Hunting Tips sub-forum. These Tip Topics were created by a deceased UJ Member, Doug Camp aka OLDBIRDDOGMAN. He hunted and guided wild turkeys for many years and ran a successful turkey call company: Camp Calls. He was southern based but a lot of his advice applies to northeast wild turkey hunting etc.

Turkey Hunting Tips Forum

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WMassGriff

Other than having decent sights and patterning with a selection of ammo I have nothing more to add to previous comments. FWIW I use a dedicated 12Ga and 20Ga for turkey hunting. Lately the 20 has seen the most time in the woods and with today's ammo is a deadly turkey killing machine.

 

IMHO I would get two calls to begin. A Lynch Box(very dependable quality) and a pot style (probably glass). Learn to yelp on the box call and cluck and purr on the pot call. (NOW is the time to dial into Youtube and practice). You need to be sure that at least one of your calls can be run in damp conditions so pay attention to that! Also, don't call in the woods to impress yourself, for the actual hunt less calling is more.

 

IMHO woodsmanship plays a bigger role in successful hunting than the calling. That will come in time, but just remember Turkeys have fantastic hearing and vision so pay attention to those details.

 

Safety. Turkey hunting is the most dangerous hunting sport and you will do well to avoid encounters with other hunters. Always have two or three alternatives for hunting if others are around. Never use your call or waving to get another hunters attention. Always strive to pick your setup so your backside is protected from someone coming in from behind you.

 

Lastly, enjoy your time in the Spring woods. My goal on my first hunt 35 seasons ago was to hear a Turkey gobble. I got to witness a pair of Toms fight that morning and I was hooked for life! 

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Msteffen
2 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

Dedicated Turkey Hunting Tips sub-forum. These Tip Topics were created by a deceased UJ Member, Doug Camp aka OLDBIRDDOGMAN. He hunted and guided wild turkeys for many years and ran a successful turkey call company: Camp Calls. He was southern based but a lot of his advice applies to northeast wild turkey hunting etc.

Turkey Hunting Tips Forum

 

Thanks! I don't think I ever noticed this. 

 

-Mike 

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garyRI
On 1/23/2019 at 9:36 PM, Bluegill68 said:

I'd say buy a slate call,

Agree. A box call is useless if it gets wet. And a owl call to try to find a roosting area the night before.

 

Forget the blind. Get a hen decoy. Anything that folds for easy carrying.

 

I use a 12 870 and #4 shot.

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martin9428

Turkey hunted for the first time this year and took my first bird in 23 minutes. Diaphram call is best as it leaves hands free but, I find it difficult to use also a pot call, whether slate, glass or copper and experiment with different strikers.

 

Camo- I wear street cloths and use Mossy Oak real leaf pattern real simple to slip over cloths. I spent a lot of time in the rain so a set of rain gear might be in order also, the use of a face cover will help. 

 

You don't really need a blind, locate birds coming off roost with an owl or crow call and set up against a tree, possibly behind some shrub or small bush.

 

Decoys, very helpful and I use a couple hens and a Jake. Locate birds, set up about 25-30 yards from where you will set up and call. Do not call often, every 10-15 minutes unless you hear birds coming in and then only a couple puts or purrs.

 

Any gun will do but, you need a tight choke, you will be aiming at the head or neck. All it takes is one BB.

 

Birds were very tough this year and very quite, I never heard my bird come in. Biggest thing is to be still, they can detect the slightest movement and unlike other game animals, you don't need to worry about scent

 

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MAArcher
On 1/25/2019 at 7:29 AM, Michael Stenstrom said:

Oh yea, sight in your gun!! It is key to determine effective range. Also a head net. I like the 3/4 bandito, as I can slip it down and up easily to cover my shiny face.

Some of us have to grow a beard because head nets aren't conducive to chewing tobacco. 

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