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Scouting Turkeys

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2014 at 22:15
tejas View Drop Down
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Turkey season opens the end of this month so I decided to do a little scouting this morning. Ok, truth is, I went coyote hunting and it sucked so I went looking for turkeys. These are from two separate (flocks, herds, gaggles?)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/09/2014 at 05:39
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Tejas, nice pics. I just read an article on the .300 Tejas, very interesting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/09/2014 at 15:39
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Thanks A lot!!!!! I already had the itch. Now its full blown "gotta hit the woods!!" Our season starts mid April runs thru mid May. Now that the weather "Appears" to have finally broke I plan to build two brush blinds this week so those critters won't pay em any attention come openin week. My goal this yr is to take one with the bow. But the ole Beretta 12ga will be layin handy. Some of those in your pics are totin sure nough paint brushes!! I got a couple roostin in the fire zone sportin 10in beards but if a good lookin 8 hits the decoy he's toast. Good Luck!! Be sure an post pics when you tag one....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 04:54
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Yep...the itch has awoken...  Cool
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 09:14
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Scratch it!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 09:57
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Scratchin!!

April 12 is approachin fast. Got the two brush blinds done and the cameras up. Both spots had decent sign of birds near by. Now gotta decide wither to try the guillotine or stick with the rage. Not willing to sacrifice a guillotine to see how they fly, too expensive. Watchin some u-tube looks like they fly pretty good. First shot would be poke and hope. Or is it hope and poke???

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 10:06
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Originally posted by Sgt. D Sgt. D wrote:


Scratchin!!

April 12 is approachin fast. Got the two brush blinds done and the cameras up. Both spots had decent sign of birds near by. Now gotta decide wither to try the guillotine or stick with the rage. Not willing to sacrifice a guillotine to see how they fly, too expensive. Watchin some u-tube looks like they fly pretty good. First shot would be poke and hope. Or is it hope and poke???



For some reason hope and poke makes me excited. Our season opens
May 1st.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 10:26
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It really saddens me that Texas Parks & Wildlife shut down the spring turkey seasons in the counties where I hunt. Their stated reason was that the turkey population wasn't strong enough, but we always saw plenty of turkeys on our place. We never had a fall season.

I miss turkey season a lot!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 11:03
Sgt. D View Drop Down
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That is sad, before they "introduced" turkey around here I had no interest in a turkey. Now I'm hooked! If for some reason they came up and closed the season that would cause some serious withdrawals!! Wonder if you are having a decline and what the cause is. Predation or failing habitat? The birds around here are thriving beyond expectation even with the "unwanted" introduction of yotes to "help" keep the population in check. We plan to petition local commissioners to open a fall hen season in 2015. But we will go prepared with pics and video to prove the need. We see hen pods that are 7 & 8 to 1 over toms. 30 and 35 in a single pod. Sometimes all hens.

How far do you have to go to find a open season these days?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 12:12
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Turkeys have struggled in most of east TX for decades now, and I'm not certain of all the reasons why, Mark. Many years ago, eastern turkeys were everywhere in east TX, but they died off due to a combination of lost habitat and poaching. When I was a kid, turkeys were virtually non-existant in most of east TX. There have always been large populations of Rio Grande turkeys in central, south, and west TX, but the eastern turkey population never could gain a foothold in east TX. About 25 years ago, TP&W dept began an extensive (and expensive) Eastern turkey stocking program in east TX to try to restore them. Texas purchased the birds from other southern states. One of the properties I hunt is near one of the stocking locations. We always had a decent, huntable population of turkeys there, but we only had a spring season, not a fall season like they have in much of the rest of the state for Rio Grandes. To gauge the health of the turkey population, you were supposed to bring any turkeys harvested to a TP&W designated check station so they could be weighed, aged, and evaluated. Evidently, they didn't see the expected numbers at the check stations, so 3 years ago, they canceled the season.

When TP&W began the stocking program in the 1980's they estimated there would be at least 100,000 birds in east TX by now. Today, they estimate there's only about 10K birds. The main reason cited is incompatible habitat. Turkeys need lots of mast-producing hardwoods, and so much of east TX has been converted over to pine production by the timber industry, destroying their traditional habitat. The reason why we have a decent turkey population on my hunting lease is because it's in the Sabine River bottom and it's mostly hardwoods, so they thrive there.

There's some good turkey hunting within a 2-hr drive of my house. The problem is Texas is not like many states in that at least 80% of the state is privately owned, with very little good public hunting land available. Therefore, it's a "pay to play" state, and unless you either own some good hunting land or have a good friend that allows you to hunt on their land, you have to lease land for hunting rights. That's both good and bad. The good: you and maybe a group of your friends can get exclusive hunting rights to some good property, and you can use it year-round with the only hunting pressure/competition being a limited group of people you know who are fellow members of your lease. The bad: hunting in TX is big business and lease prices for the best hunting areas are usually very expensive. It's also very hard to find a good lease because the demand is greater than the supply.

The ironic aspect of this is I see more deer from the road within a 300 yd radius of my house in 1 week's time than I do all season at my hunting lease 4.5 hr drive / 250 miles from my house!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2014 at 14:33
Sgt. D View Drop Down
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Seen that some around here last 20yrs. Places that were sparsely populated even 10yrs ago are now building up with wealthy folk from up north. Farmland and huntin leases in the Northeastern counties have been fetchin 20 to 30.00 an acre for atleast 20yrs. Here lately even fair to poor locations are bringing 8 to 10.00 a acre. I have been blessed to have many friends who want me to hunt their properties. I do pay some out of appreciation and for others I help manage habitat and the hunters that use the property.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2014 at 08:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2014 at 11:48
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show me your sheep!!

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Around here farm land goes for 2K to 5k an acre and residential goes foe 30K to 90K an acre...Loco
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2014 at 17:21
tejas View Drop Down
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Now that turkey season has started, I haven't been seeing those big Toms. Saw lots of hens yesterday though, and a few Jakes. Got rained out this morning. Hoping for some better weather during this coming week. I'm not going to complain too much about the rain, we need it bad. lake Belton is twelve feet low and the lakes south of here are pitiful. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2014 at 21:12
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Cameras show some shooters at three spots I'm watchin. Not as good as I had expected though. All the sign I've been seein turns out to be mostly jakes and hens. The jakes are good for future but kinda wonderin where most of the mature toms are..... All three spots have toms sportin 9 to 11in beards but they aren't commin thru everyday like the others. Every group has six or more jakes and as many or more hens. I'm use to seein shooter toms in packs of 3 and 5. So far not so this yr. One spot had two shooters struttin and that is probably where I'll be openin morning. This Saturday is the big day. Time to dust off the decoys and dig out the #4 turkey loads.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2014 at 23:48
tejas View Drop Down
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What calls are you gonna try? I m using my Foxpro and three different tracks, excited hen, lost hen and plain old Wild Turkey hen. Its worked well for me the past couple of years. I'm just using my coyote stuff to shoot with, Heavy Shot T, pattern master extra full and Franchi Affinity with adjustable sights. Not ideal for turkey's, but that load will reach out there a ways. Besides, coyotes are known to come to turkey calls once in a while too.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2014 at 08:57
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I've tried some slates and some mouth calls but have had the best results from a simple inexpensive little push button box call. I have found that very little callin is necessary most of the time. If I've done my homework and set up near their roost they will come to the decoy with little coaxin. And once I have a response to my call I won't call again unless I'm not sure they are commin in. This is my fourth yr huntin turkey and the first three I was content to use Estate #5's but last yr I tried some #4 turkey loads. Mostly cause I had some left from old store stock. They kick like a mule but my ole Beretta likes em pretty good with a tight pattern and they kill way out there. Don't know if I'll buy more when these run out, will just have to wit and see. My hope this yr is to fill both tags with the bow so if successful the #4's will be around awhile. Ofcourse as we all tend to learn, plans don't always become reality!! The Beretta will be in reach at all times. Our yote population is explodin round here and wouldn't be surprised to see some come in myself. They won't fair well if they do. Can't stand them critters. Shoot em all!!!!

Good luck on them birds. Post some pics when you tags em.....


FoxPro, Darn nice rigs. I use a buddies now and again for crow. Not ready to pay that big "YET" but someday may decide its time!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2014 at 21:48
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Had a pretty good hunt this afternoon. Got there at around 4:30, had a turkey on the ground at 5:15. Really, first day with decent weather since turkey season opened. I set up at the intersection of two trails and put my decoys there, two hens. I threw a couple of handfuls of corn on the ground all around them and hung my Foxpro in a cedar tree in the same area. I had my back to the sun and got under another cedar tree that I cut the low branches off of. THAT is a trick I learned coyote hunting. Always force your target to look into the sun if you can, the exception being, don't let the wind be at your back. With turkeys, I ignore the wind, hiding from there phenomenal eyesight is hard enough.

I kicked on the Foxpro after everything had kind of settled back down from the noise I made setting up. I used "excited hen." It has a lot of silence built into that track so I let it run for about a minute before pausing. Nothing. Waited five minutes and sounded it off again. Still nothing. Third times charm, heard a gobble from a hundred or so yards away. Clicked off the safety right then as it makes a distinct "click"and didn't want to make a sound when he got closer. Using the same track but just for seconds at a time, I was able to slowly coax him in. The last gobble was vey close but I still couldn't see him. The only clear spot was about a thirty foot circle in the trail intersection. When he entered the clearing I already had my shotgun shouldered. After ensuring he had a beard I put the sights on the lower neck and squeezed one off. Heavy Shot "T" Dead Coyote shells kick hard. and it took me a fraction of a second to see that he was down and not getting up. I also saw and heard a second turkey run, then fly. I hadn't realized that two had come in when I fired. Have no idea which was the dominant Tom.

He's a decent turkey, sporting a 5.5" beard, but not the trophy I would've liked. He has nubs that are just beginning to become spurs. Luckily, I can take four in my county so the game isn't over yet.

As soon as I tagged, shot some pics, and breasted him, it clouded up and now it's raining again. Someone was on my side today and I'll take all the rain I can get.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2014 at 21:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2014 at 22:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2014 at 22:44
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Nice
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2014 at 04:03
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You may have shot the tastier one judging by his sie. Congrats nice bird.

Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2014 at 14:55
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Congratulations tejas on a fine bird ! Excellent  Here in MI we can boost that they are in every county now but also can't use eletronic calls or baiting to hunt them. It sure would be nice to put the foxpro to use....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2014 at 19:38
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Coyote95: where exactly do you hunt turkey in Michigan, I would love to try it but my family owns property to hunt in emmet county and they do not have a turkey season up there for the last 3 years. seems like it is impossible to hunt turkey north of saginaw.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2014 at 09:14
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Good hunt, Tejas! Thanks for posting the story! I miss turkey hunting!
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