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Brad Eden

Women run the show..or hind sight is 20/20

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Brad Eden

Hunted all yesterday morning with a couple buddies, trying to get one of them his first bird. Someone suggested that since Maine has few wild turkey hunters the birds are less wary and apparently easy to kill. That makes me chuckle. We couldn’t raise a feather.

 

Headed out to check my PO Box in my old town at around 2pm. Basically in the same area where I shot a gobbler earlier in the week, and I spotted a full fan strutting Tom in the middle of a narrow field. He was following a hen. I watched him to determine his travel route. Good. He was heading to the far end of the field. I knew how to get to that spot. I parked off the road geared up, and took a deer trail I knew about through a marshy area that ran along the edge of that field. I could see him through the thick alders and brush and could keep track of him. He was huge. At least a 3 year old, with a big old head and a brushy beard. He would gobble off and on and had a distinct low, almost inaudible croaky gobble. By the time I reached a cedar swampy shady section of woods, he was in the far end or had entered the woods. I hadn’t seen the hen or hens while watching him. I made it close to the wood line near the end of the field and glassed hard to make sure he was gone and his head wasn’t up watching me from the woods. All clear. I set out a hen decoy just off to my right along the edge, so he could see it if I could coax him out, and he would have to pass left to right in front of me. Perfect scenario. I was already hanging him in the garage in my mind. I set down about 10 yards into the woods, low and well hidden and had shooting lanes in front of me. Time to get to work. 
 

Light yelps. Nothing. Raspier yelps. Nothing. Waited. Then I saw a hen walk into the field to my far left. I glassed her and saw the Tom follow her into the field. He was in and out of strut. They were around 70 yards away. Looking good. She slowly started making her way along the wood line towards me and the decoy. He hung back like a lazy suitor, displaying and gobbling as I conversed with this hen. As she approached he slowly moved but stayed a good 30 yards behind her. She got right in front of me at 10 yards and 10 yards from the decoy. She stopped, looked around, clucked a little, spun around slowly, looked at me...the blob..in the woods...looked at the decoy. She was nervous and that stupid gobbler was still taking his damn time. She headed back the way she came. He was stuck at 40 or so yards and their wasn’t a shooting lane even if I wanted to throw a Hail Mary. Crap.

 

The hen entered the woods 20 yards to my left with another hen I hadn’t seen. There were blow downs and a load of crap where they were and they would jump up on logs and limbs a look back at me and the decoy. But they weren’t putting and running. Still a chance. The Tom didn’t know what to do. I purred. He would stretch his neck out and look towards the decoy, strut, but wasn’t moving closer. The hens disappeared into the woods. Then he drifted further away and his last gobble put him in the woods. I tried to gobble back at him to piss him off. He maybe gobbled a couple more times then dead silence. I waited, repositioned, snuck into woods trying to strike him but the hunt was over.

 

Hind sight is always 20/20. You question yourself, and run scenarios through your mind: I should have set the decoy further to my right to draw that hen across in front of me with the Tom in tow (But I hadn’t seen the hens with him when he was at end of the field and his head was red, not white and blue so figured he was now alone) ...I shouldn’t have put out a decoy at all, and let them look for me...I should have carried in the half strut Jake decoy and set him out with the unstaked hen decoy on the ground like he was breeding her....that would have likely brought that dominant Tom in running...

 

In the end if the wimmins are around, they run the show. I love the strategy of wild turkey hunting, even if you don’t have a bird to process after an exciting hunt.

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tut

Still sounds like a real good morning.  Your right about the ladies controlling everything.  I've had hens come out of the woods and attack my hen decoy and make one helluva racket and sure enough in that scenario the gobbler will come in good and tight to see what's going on.  I've had other hens come in and see a hen decoy and turn around and go the other way dragging the gobbler with her.  I guess its just turkey's being turkeys.  That said, you got another chance to play the game and that's always fun. 

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NCgrouse

I was playing caller for a friend this morning. We had a ton who gobbled about 50 times between 545 and 615. I thought he'd be dead before he knew what was happening. He flew down and did the typical "3 minutes of silence" as most strut for a while after the fly down. Gobbled once more, And then it started raining hens. I mean we were surrounded. I counted 7 that pitched off roost, and here may have been more than that. By 630, he and all those ladies vanished like a fart in the wind. 

 

I know hens make more turkeys, but damn if I don't hate em for the whole hunting season...

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WPG Gizmo

Sounds to me like a good day much better than mine.

 

Come into work at 530 there is a hen walking around we see her all the time so no big deal.  Sitting drinking my coffee before work look out the window the hen walks by about 10 feet away she passes out of sight but I keep looking out the window wishing I was in the woods when a huge Tom walks by following her path.  All you can do is nod say good morning and go about your business.

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WI Outdoor Nut

Don't try to reason with a turkey.  Just doesn't work.  Pea size brain and there isn't always a reason they do things.  Close call, and that is all it was...…….

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Brad Eden
51 minutes ago, WI Outdoor Nut said:

Don't try to reason with a turkey.  Just doesn't work.  Pea size brain and there isn't always a reason they do things.  Close call, and that is all it was...…….

You're no fun...no fun at all...it was in fact much more than that. I learn something new every time I am outwitted by a pea sized bird...mostly that I’m not the Turkey hunter I like to think I am.

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Brad Eden

6B6B25BF-FE4D-4706-9A48-A826CC5A4228.jpeg

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idcut

Similar situation as others have posted. I, along with a brother and sister were at my parents place cleaning up my late fathers shop. Wednesday evening, I heard a tom gobble on top of a hill that borders the east end of our property. An early morning drive put me in a good position to be in the vicinity of the previous nights gobble. I waited for a short period to see if I could pinpoint the bird. Sure enough, it gobbled about 1/4 mile from where I was listening. I worked my in to a good position and was probably 80-90 yards from the roost tree, made some gentle hen noises with the tom gobbling back.

 

Thinking this may be a slam dunk, I then heard some hen clucks and noises and thought it may not be a slam dunk after all. I was right, it wasn't, they flew down towards a nice meadow a couple of hundred yards from where I was set up. I tried to entice the tom in but no dice. There's no way he was going to leave the 3-4 hens with him to check out what I had to offer and they disappeared!

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RDG
13 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

and his head was red, not white and blue so figured he was now alone) ..

 

I never knew a turkeys head could change colors depending on his mood. 

 

Awesome... thanks for the tip Brad....

 

how will you guy use a Toms head color to your advantage? 

 

 

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WI Outdoor Nut
11 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

6B6B25BF-FE4D-4706-9A48-A826CC5A4228.jpeg

This reminds me...……..

I was mentoring a 12 year old kid.   A jake came out and went to town on a corn stalk, which created all sorts of conversation between the kid and his dad.  I just sat back and did a little giggle, but enjoyed the moment of the son and the dad.  I called the jake in and the kid harvested the bird.  The dad was shaking on the camera so much it was tough to tell what was going on.  Was a hoot!

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Brad Eden
9 hours ago, RDG said:

 

I never knew a turkeys head could change colors depending on his mood. 

 

Awesome... thanks for the tip Brad....

 

how will you guy use a Toms head color to your advantage? 

 

 


IMG_1066.JPG
 

This is a pretty good example of a fired up Tom just prior to being dusted. Generally a Tom turkeys head transitions from a burgundy red to a very patriotic red, white and blue when he is hot or excited and strutting and horny for lack of a better term. When you hear a Tom gobble you can judge his mood..or gauge his temperature... by how he gobbles and when and how often, but also If you see him, by the color of his head. Often times you have multiple birds come in, sometimes 2-3 mature Toms, even Toms with Jakes. Typically there is one dominant “strutter” and the others are subordinate. The strutter usually has the bright white and blue head with crimson accents and the other Toms aren’t as fired up and their heads are not as bright or distinct. The Tom I described in the OP was initially hot and serenading hens when I first saw him in that field. But by the time he reached the end of the field, he had let down and his head was back to the burgundy color, so I figured the hens had drifted off and he was just meandering, and off on his own, and more susceptible to being called in close to a hen decoy. I was wrong. The hens were still close by and they ran the show.

 

 

 

 

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Brad Eden

It continues. I’m being sorta picky since I am planning to hunt with the UJ Travel Call when it gets here. Coulda Maybe shoulda shot a Jake, and passed on a couple subordinate Toms because I was waiting for my buddy Scott to get a poke at the dominant strutter. 
 

Again while on my road travels, running errands and such, I spotted a strutting Tom way back in a field. What the hell, I had my gear with me. Long story short is it was a good half mile slog to get in a position that might get a response from the Tom, and a possible shot. Once set up inside the wood line maybe 200 yards from where I saw the Tom around a bend in the field, I called and not a sound. Cuts, yelps, runs blah, blah, blah. Nothing. I sat against a big pine relaxing since it took some effort to get there. After 20 minutes of silence I got up and started into the field for the walk back to truck. Son of a gun there was a turkey walking my way along the wood line about 80 yards away. I crouched and glassed it. A hen. Maybe a Tom was following. I couldn't see anything behind her. I slid back to the tree and sat in the most comfortable crotch of the roots. Big mistake. I could keep track of her as she slowly pecked along. Still nothing behind her. She eventually stopped at around 20 yards, Periscope head, looking for the hen she heard. They always know exactly where a call came from. I sat perfectly still, enjoying the show. She let down and kept walking right in front of me at 10-15 yards. I had been watching behind her and still no Tom. So I had decided she was alone, and slumped down with my gun on my lap with the barrel pointing to the left. I’m right handed. Then out of nowhere I detected movement and there was the Tom, beard swinging,  less than 20 yards away walking in the footsteps of that hen. I was in completely the wrong position, what a moron. I should have slipped to the other side of that big pine as soon as I saw that hen in the distance and my barrel and bead would have been on that Toms wattle. My instincts told me he would be following but I didn’t pay attention and got lazy. He stopped at around 15 yards and looked at me through the minor brush typical of the edge of a field. Should I yelp with mouth call, distract him, and swing my barrel around and try and kill him? He would looked at the hen, then at me. She was in front of me now and in the most wide open shooting lane. She was getting nervous, still purring but stutter stopping. Then she started walking in the right direction. Good. The Tom let down, took a few steps. I stayed still waiting for him to hopefully pass in front of me. He stopped again stood up straight at 10 yards. Looked at me, then spun and sprinted away across the field. The shotgun never left my lap.

 

This time the hen did everything right and I screwed up. Royally.  

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Remo

You're having a grand season. A little difficulty makes better memories & stories.

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Dogwood

Envious of your season thus far.  Mine has been the polar opposite, one of the most frustrating I can recall.  There one day gone the next.  So very little gobbling in general and absolutely zero call response.  I'm about done with the predawn approach.  Go back to afternoon walk and talk.  Ambush if I must!  Couple of weeks to go hoping the pending warmer weather gets them moving about a little more.

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Brad Eden
11 minutes ago, Dogwood said:

Envious of your season thus far.  Mine has been the polar opposite, one of the most frustrating I can recall.  There one day gone the next.  So very little gobbling in general and absolutely zero call response.  I'm about done with the predawn approach.  Go back to afternoon walk and talk.  Ambush if I must!  Couple of weeks to go hoping the pending warmer weather gets them moving about a little more.

Things have cooled down considerably, and that gobbler I messed up on with my last post never gobbled a single time. I hunted all morning from 5am til 10 with a friend and we heard one distant gobble at first light and then hunted all over  creation and never heard another bird. Turned into a drive, spot and stalk exercise. We did see a Jake and a nice Tom but they weren’t in huntable areas. I hope the gobbling commences again soon. Nothing more frustrating than closed mouth Toms.

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