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Any traditional (real) turkey hunters left?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 07:33
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I'll preface this by saying although I enjoy hunting turkeys, both fall and spring, I'm not a fanatic.  I have not really been able to hunt them last few years since enlisting.
 
However one of the things that really drew me to the sport was the purity of it.  I loved how the veterans seemed to hold the bird in such high regard, and how the seemed so means oriented.....the means being to call the turkey into shotgun range, avoid their awesome perception long enough to get a shot off.  I found a website 6 or 7 years ago that I read regularly, great bunch of guys that are true turkey hunters. 
 
But I've noticed a distinct shift away from the traditional turkey hunting ethic, even among the hardcore turkey guys that drew me to the sport.  Although rifle remains a dirty word,  most turkey hunters think nothing of throwing up a synthentic tent blind, putting out a strutting tom/jake decoy and blasting the first tom that runs in.  To me, this setup aborts the purity of the hunt.  What has happened?
 
Anybody else feel this way?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 09:08
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 I've seen the same thing occur in every hunting field with every type of game. We as a society have an entire generation that thinks nothing of the means used to attain any goal.
  They buy trophy heads, sell and purchase canned hunts, poach, whatever it takes...and then sell the video footage of it! Equipment is purchased to replace skill.
 Having said that, I think you are overblowing the turkey thing a little. It's still up to the individual how he wants to set his parameters. If a guy wants to limit his shot to 10 yards or less, he is free to do so. If he wants to expend the physical effort to carry in a decoy and a blind, fine. He still needs to set them up properly and call correctly,etc.
 Heck, it's illegal to hunt them with a rifle where I live, but if it were legal, I would have no problem doing so from a moral or ethical perspective, if the terrain was suitable from a safety standpoint, etc.
  My reason is that it would actually take more shooting skill to hit a turkeys head with a rifle than it would to blow it off with a shotgun blast.
 If you think about it, our forefathers hunted them with rifles for a couple centuries before we decided that it was not traditional to do so because Dad hunted them with a shotgun! 
  I'm hunting turkeys for the first time in May, so I'll have a chance to put together some more personal thoughts on the matter.
 I probably won't use a blind, because I don't have one, I will use a shotgun, (to be legal),
And I think we'll use a decoy, because my mentor thinks it's fun to watch a tom attack his deke!
 Not cracking on you though. I hear what you're saying and you have some valid concerns in general.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 10:51
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To some people traditional would mean with a bow and arrow. It is all a matter of opinion and personal taste.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 11:05
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We can't use rifles in MI, but if we could, I would give it a try.
As for the blinds, there is too much cut and run for me to bother with them. I'm sure they work over feed fields.
I have a decoy but rarely use it because of moving from one spot to another.
The way we traditionally have done it is to scout in the evening for roost trees. When we find one we get out before day break and give out some owl hoots to scatter them down from the roost. We are hopefully in position to use calls to bring them back together.
Now I'm just glad to be out in the woods. Of course, bonus morels in the spring always adds to the pleasure. So I guess that's my new tradition.
I know what you are talking about when it comes to losing some of the things that we once enjoyed while hunting. The same goes for all the heavy deer baiting that has gone on up here. But that's for another thread.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 11:51
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Good words I'm hearing do it like it was meant to be done if you get high tech then most of the fun is gone others will argue and that's OK you know the difference and that's all that counts. it takes skill and ability that's what hunting is. no hiding ,no calculators,no cover scent, no crap. If you need all these things well?   maybe it's time to start doing other things?  Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 12:08
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Where I grew up traditional is with a .22 Mag. The shotgun was for poor shooters. My dad considered it a blaspheme. Like squirrel hunting anyone should be able to blast up a tree and drop a squirrel with a scatter blaster. Picking off a jumping squirrel with a .22 is more of a skill.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 13:06
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 I used to get real upset with folks when I'd see them using equipment that I considered inappropriate, for lack of a better word.  For example, I loved trditional bowhunting,as in LONGBOW.  When I heard of guys using crossbows in Ohio, I got mad.  After a lot of reflection, I realized that was hypocritical of me because I also hunted with a centerfire rifle.  Now I try to save my indignation for the antihunting lunatics and the absolutely greedy developers that are destroying habitat irrevocably. And for POACHERS. They are the real threats to our hunting traditions.
One other thing to consider, as Taqua alluded to, is that the gear guy with tons of equipment is often handicapping himself against success, by being less mobile, etc.  So I don't get too excited against the gear freak anymore, either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 14:01
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I believe one of the reasons there's so much technology used in all kinds of hunting anymore is that fewer of us have time to hunt. Less practice = more dependence on technology instead instead of skill. Plus, a lot of people (other hunters, hunting writers, sporting goods salesmen) make it easy to believe that buying more stuff will bring success, however we want to define that word.

I like to hunt and have for a long time so I tend to use less technology, though a lot depends on the hunt. As a well-known biologist once said about whitetail hunting: "I prefer to have as little between the deer and me as possible." To me that makes it more fun, whether I choose to hunt with a recurve or longbow instead of a compound, or an iron-sighted .30-30 instead of a scoped rifle, or an old 2-1/2x Lyman Alaskan on a pre-WWII .30-06 Model 70 Winchester instead of a synthetic-stocked  .300 Weatherby--though I will hunt with all of them.
 
I don't use a tent-blind when hunting turkeys because, like some who have already posted, it restricts mobility too much. I do generally carry a side-by-side shotgun (a 70-year-old German 12-gauge with fairly tight chokes) and use typical 2-3/4" shells loaded with 1-1/4 ounces of 5's or 6's, and don't shoot over 40 yards. I like the old double because it is light, opens easily for crossing fences, and has sling swivel studs. But it is also just fun to hunt with.

Here in Montana we have to use a shotgun or bow in spring, but can use a rifle in fall. Trying to kill a big gobbler with a rifle in fall is just as tough as with a shotgun in spring. I use a Ruger No. 1 .22 Hornet and get skunked more often than in spring, unless I just want to kill a younger turkey to eat (and we can take any turkey during the fall season).

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 15:07
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I, too, prefer recurve to compound bows, though bow hunting is not my favorite way to hunt, I prefer iron sights to scopes, if using a scope prefer mil-dot ranging to laser rangfinders.  I "use" hunting, erroneously, to hone skills that are meant for other than putting meat on the table. I have basterdized the philosophy my grandfather taught me when I was very young.  I am a poorer person for having allowed myself to "accept" some of the lesser means of hunting.  I don't like tree stands, I don't like any form of "canned" hunting (which includes baited hunting).  I do set up a couple of feeders, but not in places that I hunt.  I use them for my wife and children to see deer up close and to try to keep deer fed well during times of low "browse".  It also keeps deer coming to my property.  However, I do NOT hunt anywhere near a feeder.  Hunting is not a sport to me.  It is something I love... if I don't happen to kill anything, it is as good a day as any that I do kill something.  
I find states, such as Alabama, that don't allow turkey hunting with a rifle interesting in their philosophy.  Much more skill is required to take a turkey with a rifle with a shotgun.  Perhaps Alabama says they don't think Alabamians have much skill.  Certainly Alabama's attitude toward poaching leaves much to be desired.  And... food plots are great, but hunting over a feeder is outlawed.  Can someone, logically, explain the difference to me?  Corn on the ground versus growing oats/chicory/soy bean...hunt over oats/chicory/soy beans but not the corn.  I'm certain someone has a logical process that can be shown through the mathematics of logic.  I just can't "cipher" it with 4 years of logic and a degree in mathematics from the University of Texas.  Not saying I like the concept of either, just can't fathom the difference.  
Technology is my business, but I am not sure it adds to the "art" of hunting.  Makes it easier, in many cases more efficient, but detracts from what HUNTING is.  Sitting in tree over a food plot or a corn feeder, with a magnum rifle and an XXX power scope is NOT hunting.  It's just killing. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 16:00
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I was hoping this discussion would focus more the dying art of calling the turkey to the gun. 
 
I will say this about rifles.....if you're calling the bird in and shooting at close range, that is perfectly acceptable to me.  But that's not how it happens 99% of the time, they're sniped from long distance while feeding in the open, or blasted by a deer hunter when they wonder by the treestand.  Calling a turkey in and shooting with a rifle does present a safety issue as you are not shooting down and rifle bullets go a long ways.
 
But again the rifle thing isn't so much the issue, it's the fact that turkey hunters as class are moving towards tents and strutting decoys, which often obviate the need to break out a call.  How is this happening? What happened to the tenth legion?  I don't even think hen decoys are a problem as they don't evoke the charging response, just add a little eye appeal (if they don't work the other way and spooke em off). 
 
Let's get back to our roots.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 18:50
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Good points there pass-thru.  Calling the bird in IS the art and joy of turkey hunting.  I've never used a decoy or a "tent".  I've never used a rifle for turkey hunting, wanted to, but always considered it would be a head shot if I did.  Never looked at it from the point of view that you seem to be.  I certainly see your point.  If you are not calling them in, what's the point...  
Bringing them in, watching that strut and spin, that's the fun of the turkey hunt.  Mastering the call is what it is all about.  
I agree with you.  
Sorry I got off your point there.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 18:51
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Everyone I know who turkey hunts still tries to find their hang outs and call them in. I use a box for volume and the occasional gobble to roust some tight sitting birds. I don't always use them anymore. Ditto a slate call.
I am never without a few diaphragm calls in my pocket, though. I use a double reed over all others. I can get great volume with wonderful clucks and purrs all in one small call. Along with owl and crow calls I can carry everything in my pockets and travel light.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 20:13
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I use a hawk call (early morning to get them to gobble) and a Diaphragm call to call in. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 20:56
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 I use to like to put them to roost in the evening(gotta be out of the woods by 1pm in WV)and set up on the edge of the clear spot in the woods where I believe they may land coming off roost(they DON"T like landing in the thick stuff) in between the hens and gobblers before daylight. When you hear the hens coming off roost,imitate the wing flapping and give some yelps. When the gobblers get close of course quit the flapping and entice them in with yelps. If they seem to hang up,add some cackles. Some GREAT huntin! BUT be safe!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2009 at 21:44
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Originally posted by cyborg cyborg wrote:

To some people traditional would mean with a bow and arrow. It is all a matter of opinion and personal taste.
 
I consider my greatest hunting achievement taking a spring gobbler with a bow (compound).  I managed to do it twice in several years of hunting.  It is so incredibly difficult to get a gobbler in range, then get drawn back without being seen, and THEN making the shot on a big ball of feathers with a tiny kill zone.  In my experience, taking a mature whitetail buck with a bow is much, much easier. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2009 at 07:40
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   Thunbs Up !!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2009 at 12:02
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To me the joy of the spring gobbler season derives from the beauty of being in the woods this time of year, and the never ceasing excitement of an answering gobbler.

I've only taken a couple with my bow, (compound and guillotine heads) and it is by far the most difficult approach. Getting them in is of course always a challenge, but managing the draw and then actually hitting them can be exasperating. The guillotines are designed for the neck shot, meaning you will either hit or miss, and I have missed far more than I have hit.

Add to all that the unpredictability of those old toms, and you will spend a lot of befuddled days in the woods. Over and over I have had them come in silently, and blown the deal with ill-timed movement on my part, not knowing the birds had arrived. On two occasions I have had toms fly in to within five or six feet when I was strolling down the trail carrying a bird over my shoulder and moving fast...just hiking out. They evidently were drawn by the fast motion and the flopping wings of their deceased brethren on my back.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2009 at 20:58
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If a gobbler is strutting, you can wait til he's facing away from you.  His fanned tail feathers block his sight to the rear, and that's your aim point; right up the butt into the heart-lung area.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 10:00
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pass-thru, it is truly a wonderful sport.  After being stuck indoors, a chance to get out, spring has started to make it arrival (at least in SD).  Grass is turning green, birds chirping and the roar of a gobbler.  I use a box call and a slate, still haven't mastered the diaphram call, but in time.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 10:55
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Originally posted by SD Dog SD Dog wrote:

pass-thru, it is truly a wonderful sport.  After being stuck indoors, a chance to get out, spring has started to make it arrival (at least in SD).  Grass is turning green, birds chirping and the roar of a gobbler.  I use a box call and a slate, still haven't mastered the diaphram call, but in time.
 
Ditto. You know, I have never been able to master the diaphrams either. I think part of my problem is that I can't really "hear" what they sound like eminating from inside my own head. I have listened to other hunters who produce phenomenal results, but unless I record my own diaphram calling, I really have no idea what it actually sounds like.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 11:09
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I tend not to call them I lay along the edge of a field and wait for them to get into ambush range. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 12:10
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Anybody else ever use the old traditional wing-bone call? A friend gave a couple to me a few years ago and they WORK, if you can master them. I also use diaphragms, boxes, slates, etc. but it fun to get one goingw ith a wing-bone.
 
Very often in the turkey country I hunt it is often necessary to call the hens in, with the gobbler following them, because there are so darn many hens that the big gobblers usually have some located already and don't need to go chasing around after another call. This is sometimes possible when they come down from the roost, when you try to convince the hens that there's something really good to eat over this way....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 12:27
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Hello John, what exactly is a wing-bone call?
Also, I have a hierarchy of calls, using a box (greatest distance and volume, then my slate for closer in, then discarding both for gentle clucking from the diaphram when they are in really close, in order to keep both hands free for the shotgun or bow.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 12:31
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 Here ya go Terry:
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 12:55
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Originally posted by John Barsness John Barsness wrote:

Anybody else ever use the old traditional wing-bone call? A friend gave a couple to me a few years ago and they WORK, if you can master them. I also use diaphragms, boxes, slates, etc. but it fun to get one goingw ith a wing-bone.
 
Very often in the turkey country I hunt it is often necessary to call the hens in, with the gobbler following them, because there are so darn many hens that the big gobblers usually have some located already and don't need to go chasing around after another call. This is sometimes possible when they come down from the roost, when you try to convince the hens that there's something really good to eat over this way....
 
I made a wingbone yelper form the bones of a gobbler I killed.  I fulled with it until I got a decent yelp....it's basically a kissing or sucking that makes the sound.  Thing is, gobbler bones are larger and produce a gobbler yelp, whereas hen bones make a hen yelp.  I've heard the gobbler yelper can be deadly on toms in the fall after breaking some bachelors, but I've never tried it.
 
My call of choice is the diaphram.  But the last turkey I killed was in 2006 and I called it in with the box call my late father used years ago....I had just found it the day before in some of his things.  That hunt was special.
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