Anyone else having a poor turkey season so far?

Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,573 Captain
edited March 30 in General Hunting #1
This hasn't been my season. I'm confined to hunting just one property (my homestead) because of my new baby. Although I'm just a short distance from the Osceola National Forest, I can't really afford to dive in out there were there's no cell service in case there's an emergency at home with the wife and the baby (working on some alternate means of communication maybe in time for some summer camping trips or the coming Fall). 

Last year, which is the first year I spring gobbler hunted on my new homestead, I was covered up in turkeys. My property was loaded with nesting hens and there were always unbred hens hanging around and roosting in a wet area of the property and gobblers were always coming and going. I could film strutters right off my back porch. 

This year, nothing. A couple of nesting hens are using the property. I had a gobbler roosted on property a week or so before the season started and that's been it. Cameras show no additional gobbler activity.

I would guess that the turkey population has significantly shrunk, as I'm not hearing many gobblers around on surrounding properties and seeing few nesting hens on the road. I have a neighbor that likes to snare turkeys with fish hooks, and other neighbors that shoot hens on site because of the damage they do to food plots, but my understanding is that all of that has been doing that for years and it it probably hasn't had a major effect on the local population. Its been extremely wet up here last summer and fall. Not sure how the rain effects the health of adult turkeys if at all. 

I do have a bobcat on property I haven't been able to trap or kill yet. As big as my hound. Not sure if it would keep the turkeys away either. It isn't keeping the nesting hens away.  

I have plenty of food and water available and a good place to roost. So I'm not sure why they're gone. 

Anyhow, anyone else having a below average season? 
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Replies

  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 635 Officer
    Same boat Putnam county , have hunted 6 days and have heard 1 gooble which was off property and had some hens come into my setup on WMA, haven’t seen a strutting tom in the woods or driving in weeks. 
  • Cracker23Cracker23 MelrosePosts: 310 Deckhand
    I have been seeing a lot of strutters while traveling around N.C. Fla, but not hearing many gobbles in the woods. I had a guest permit for one of the better quota hunts in our area and did not hear near as much gobbling on it as I have in previous years. I want to blame a lot of it to the all day hunting that they started last year. I believe the birds need the afternoons to settle back down after being bothered in the mornings.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 382 Deckhand
    Cracker23 said:
    I have been seeing a lot of strutters while traveling around N.C. Fla, but not hearing many gobbles in the woods. I had a guest permit for one of the better quota hunts in our area and did not hear near as much gobbling on it as I have in previous years. I want to blame a lot of it to the all day hunting that they started last year. I believe the birds need the afternoons to settle back down after being bothered in the mornings.
    Still getting used to these laws so some quota hunts started allowing hunting turkey all day and then next year it's going to be a statewide law?  I got this 4 day pipeline quota permit and every morning walking down path there's fresh tracks from when I left the day before but have not even seen a bird yet. Couple gobbles on roost but I'm done for day anyways  I can't hunt frustrated. 
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    It’s been a tough year.  Hunting in Ocala, Lake Delancy this weekend.  No joy.  Got stuck with my truck yesterday and lost most my morning to that.  Did see some nice gobblers but didn’t pursue because I was waiting to get towed.  Today not a peep in the woods.  Turkeys are hot then cold.  I quit calling and am trying to use decoys for a visual that seems to get the best response so far.  Keep at it, eventually it all lines up.
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 1,606 Captain
    This hasn't been my season. I'm confined to hunting just one property (my homestead) because of my new baby. Although I'm just a short distance from the Osceola National Forest, I can't really afford to dive in out there were there's no cell service in case there's an emergency at home with the wife and the baby (working on some alternate means of communication maybe in time for some summer camping trips or the coming Fall). 

    Last year, which is the first year I spring gobbler hunted on my new homestead, I was covered up in turkeys. My property was loaded with nesting hens and there were always unbred hens hanging around and roosting in a wet area of the property and gobblers were always coming and going. I could film strutters right off my back porch. 

    This year, nothing. A couple of nesting hens are using the property. I had a gobbler roosted on property a week or so before the season started and that's been it. Cameras show no additional gobbler activity.

    I would guess that the turkey population has significantly shrunk, as I'm not hearing many gobblers around on surrounding properties and seeing few nesting hens on the road. I have a neighbor that likes to snare turkeys with fish hooks, and other neighbors that shoot hens on site because of the damage they do to food plots, but my understanding is that all of that has been doing that for years and it it probably hasn't had a major effect on the local population. Its been extremely wet up here last summer and fall. Not sure how the rain effects the health of adult turkeys if at all. 

    I do have a bobcat on property I haven't been able to trap or kill yet. As big as my hound. Not sure if it would keep the turkeys away either. It isn't keeping the nesting hens away.  

    I have plenty of food and water available and a good place to roost. So I'm not sure why they're gone. 

    Anyhow, anyone else having a below average season? 
    I have had bobcats absolutely decimate turkey populations on large private tracts I’ve had access to in the past. 

    The spot went from dozens of birds and birds gobbling well to no hens and gobblers that wouldn’t gobble but would work in silently. I actually killed one the last spring I hunted the place when it flushed from under a small pine tree like a grouse as I walked the side ridge calling and scratching like a hen. This was in Pennsylvania and the cat population was growing and sparse. So getting permits at that time was almost impossible and I didn’t want to kill the cat illegally, although I had it in bow range a half dozen times deer hunting. 
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,573 Captain
    I have a permit to take the cat whenever day or night. I just need the time and the patience to sit on it travel route all night. Its been here at least since November. One of the biggest I’ve seen and also on of the most consistent in sticking around a definable area. 

    I’ve also been thinking about buying a high dollar live trap that would work both on the bobcat, coyotes, and otters. Seems like a good one is going to run me about $120. 
  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,276 Captain
    edited March 31 #8
    Pre-season showed an average number of turkeys on sections of the property we hunt.  We did great on the first hunt (3/17).  Second hunt was a bust with only hens spotted and few gobbles.  We used the old "henned up" excuse.  Plan to hunt next Tuesday/Wednesday.  I was out this morning on a scout only quick trip and have SD cards from five cameras to review.  I'll edit this post after looking at what I hope is a turkey show.  I did hear hens lightly yelping this morning but no gobbles.  I didn't arrive until after what was probably fly down.

    Edit 3/31 -  cameras in our core area showed an occasional lone hen and zero gobblers.  A puzzle although the hoped for trail camera turkey show was instead a cattle and feral hog extravaganza.  We'll be out Tues/Weds.  If there isn't at least a little gobbling it will be a tough hunt.  My notes from 2018 show heavy roost gobbling starting on 4/12 through the season's end, for me, on 4/21.  I was out about every other day during this period and I repeatedly wrote - heavy roost, then zero. Luckily a late morning pasture strutter kept things interesting and I was sitting in the right place when he drew in a competitor on 4/21.    
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 7,540 Admiral
    Be patient.........

    Hens are sitting on nests, at least a lot of them are here just to the west of Palatka. Stumbled on two of them the last few days while working, both with eggs......one with 12!!
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 635 Officer
    I’m hunting just west of Palatka , are we equating lone hens on the nest to lonely toms. It’s been awful quiet. 
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 7,540 Admiral
    Tony Roma said:
    I’m hunting just west of Palatka , are we equating lone hens on the nest to lonely toms. It’s been awful quiet. 
    Yes. Just walked out on the way to the next road over to check a burn we did yesterday and heard one going off. It should get like "closin' time" at the bar soon..................
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,438 Captain
    edited March 31 #12
    Couple of us within the inner circle are  limited out already. Even have a couple young noobs we brought into the sport this season limit out. All on public land.

    Had a epic morning with my 9 year old today on some private land that produced just about everything a guy could want from a turkey hunt... Except a shot. Had a monster hang up on us at 70 yards for a couple hrs, but his harem ultimately dragged him away after they came by to nibble on our boot laces. Then had a couple Jake's coming shortly thereafter, but literally got chock blocked at 50 yards, and off they went... I had my 7-08. My son had his 20 ga. Buddy with us had his 12 ga but the goal was to get my boy his bird. My buddy will likely go back and kill the big one tomorrow, so all is not lost. You win some and lose some.  

    My sons and my FL season is over. Was hoping to get him his first Osceola but it didn't happen and I didn't want to hand him a rifle to shoot Mr Big at 70 yards or so. Two weeks from now we will be in SC, God willing. Hopefully he can bust a good Eastern or two. 

    Good luck everyone... Hopefully y'all fill your "tags"!
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    I'm calling BS Big Mak, unless your winning serious quota permits or dropping $$$ on special opp hunts you haven't killed 12 birds (guessing that your inner circle plus the newbs would be six people).  From my experience this year and the guides I know that work public land, your cheatin if your puttin those numbers up!
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,311 Captain
    Im reading it as "a couple" tagged out huntinthewild.  As in like 2 people, 4 birds and throw in another or two. Not 12.
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    I could see that being realistic if you hunted every day.  Including the south region early season.
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,311 Captain
    edited March 31 #16
    Hey wait, am I in this "inner circle"?  Kinda am kinda not?.....Got 1 notch on my belt this season, quota hunt. Another called in for a notch on romp n stomp. Been quiet the past couple of weeks.  Alabama bound Thursday for Turkeys hogs and Crows
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    Enjoy, Alabama is a tough one as well!  Well maybe not the hogs...
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,311 Captain
    edited March 31 #18

    Weather forecast needs to change too.  60% rain for first hunt day

    Big Mak will pull your leg if you know him. And not on a forum.

  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,573 Captain
    edited March 31 #19
    Well I didn’t ask, and don’t particularly care, who's having a good season  :D
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,438 Captain
    edited March 31 #20
    Lol, wow! Pretty obvious when people lack reading comprehension. Don't think I said anywhere in my post that I had 6 in the inner circle, or that everyone has limited out... Matter of fact, I don't think I could have been any clearer unless I gave specific names and numbers... Something I would not do... 

    Kinda funny, guiding on public lands...  thought that practice was actually illegal in FL, but it is no concern of mine, regardless because I simply don't care...

    So, as Bo knows, so does Pinman... And, BTW, wait till next season when my son and I finally have enough preference points built back up to hunt where we really want to hunt. There may not be enough turkeys left running around by the end of March for anyone else to score....

    Couple of us got a couple birds on a redraw permits. I may have killed one on a romp n stomp too, but I'll certainly never talk about that lest I have to contend with more fools on a daily basis when I want to hunt. Certainly got invited on a permitted hunt or three... Maybe I went on them, one, two, or all? Probably just called for them and watched... Likely I didn't go at all because I simply don't have the free time right now, but you'll never know those details either. Did coach one of the youngsters enough on his first harvest earlier that he went and got another on his own... Luck? Maybe...  Got a little private piece close by... Only hunted it today. I'll tell you about that because you'll NEVER step foot on that soil. I'll reiterate, nothing killed today, but a very good chance one goes down tomorrow... (Re-read my first post in this thread). All I can tell you is, you should have seen it in color....

    It's true, I'll pull your leg in camp, in person, but never online... After all, Isn't everyone totally forthcoming on the internet? True story...
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    I love it when a bullspitter gets called out!  They never enjoy the conversation after.
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    You should probably think next time you try to show off turkey limits on a thread talking about having a tough season.  Do you go into biker bars making fun of Harleys?  On top of that you killed birds through private land and incestual relationships.  
  • HUNTINTHEWILDHUNTINTHEWILD Posts: 332 Deckhand
    One more, and I am done with my soap box.  Please respect people that can only hunt public land when you have this awesome private land.  I get it, anyone can use public land.  But when you blow up public land and then go enjoy your private land when the WMAs are over pressured that's a d!ck move...
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 2,438 Captain
    edited April 3 #24
    Lol... You sound a little buttsore and have no clue, as usual.... I wasn't too sure at first, but you really must be illiterate.... 

    BTW, if you've ever read anything I've ever posted with just a small amount of literacy, you'd know I'm definitely not a pro turkey hunter, and I'm stuck on public land about 99% if the time... I consider myself fortunate to get some occasional private land invites, even though there is generally better turkey hunting on nearby public land.... I also own a Harley, so I usually break bread with other bikers rather than chastise their rides... 

    We're just happening to be having a pretty good season with allot of action.... As are most of the guys I know....

    Bullfrog asked, I gave him what I'm seeing, so stop trying to hijack the man's thread with your crap.... (That was said without my usual dry humor).
  • shempshemp Posts: 571 Officer
    Just 4 the record turkeys are streaky amd infuriating...and some private land is better than others, some private land is worse than average public

    I got stiffed on redraws

    Hunted nonquota public opening. 1 gobble on Sunday lots of fun with hens

    Hunted midweek wma 2 days midweek 1st week...was awesome. 1 down, if not 4 a creek would have doubled

    Next day was dead on the roost got 1 goimg later but pretty sure we spooked em

    Wemt for 2 of a 3 day quota recently had good gobblijg till almost 9. Had very limited rrost gobbling starting up after 7

    Saw a lot of deer and quail

    Not sure i will make it out any more
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,311 Captain
    Well I didn’t ask, and don’t particularly care, who's having a good season  :D


    Every Turkey season you hear Gobbles and am able to get out on a cool clear Spring morning, is a good season.

  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,634 Captain
    Hope all is well with mom and baby.  Hope you can get out or your birds start moving around after the hens stop paying them all that attention.

    Our group is not in the same boat. It has been one of our best years. In the first 10 days we had 27 successful hunts and 3 misses at close range.  Only 2 jakes and those were taken with a bow.  Several people limited out.  After several days more we have now made it to 30. The bulk of our group is now chasing gobblers in other states so I have hopes of topping out at 33 or so.  Gobbling activity has been intense and then none at all.  Bird I have been on has only gobbled once or twice on the limb the last few days.  Had him going at 11 yesterday but was content where he was at.  Not pushing him. Our group has been hunting several WMA's and some private land in Central FL. 
    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,311 Captain
    Oh crap Bgeorge….you done stepped in the fire ant bed...
  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 1,777 Captain
    edited April 1 #29
    You guys hunting WMA’s on here name wmas and spread intel like it’s nothing. As an often public land duck hunter, I’ve never understood it.
    Nothing wrong with hunting turkeys on public the first week, we all have the same chance. Why kill my birds if I can kill freebie birds. 
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,573 Captain
    I’ve never understood it.  
    The “why” of it is such: there comes a point where a hunter has seen it all and done it all and no longer feels possessive of game or spots on public land. Then further realizes that too much worry about it makes a person unhappy if they’re constantly worrying a about what other hunters are doing or someone taking “their” spots or birds or whatever. 

    My WMAs are huge romp and stomps and no one is going to pin point my exact position based on anything I say online. Nor do I worry about what some joker is going to do who’s driving from 2 hours away. Someome coming from that far can’t learn the WMA intimately enough to find me, and a local who hunts it hard already knows the same spots I do thru his own scouting. 

    I could see where squeezing onto public waterways would be more problematic where space is more limited and a person’s spot more obvious out on the open water. 
  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,276 Captain
    edited April 1 #31
    When I retired I first moved to western Kentucky and regularly hunted the 170,000 acre Land Between the Lakes area in KY/TN.  I was within 2 miles (crow flies) of this vast public land and accessed it by both boat and 4 wheel drive truck.  A typical turkey season would find me hunting at least every other day or until I filled the tag.  After a year or two I thought, as now a local boy, I had things figured out and could easily get away from the other hunters. I remember one trip boating across the Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake) at 4am, beaching the boat, and walking into a "secret" spot to await the dawn.  Setting up on a ridge next a big oak I smugly thought I really fooled them this time.  The sky brightened, a bird gobbled, the secret spot hunt was on.  I still have this spot in my GPS.  I  have it coded as "MD KY".  Not because a doctor was there but because when I looked down in the full daylight there was a partially consumed can of Mountain Dew and a spent shotgun shell next to "my" secret oak.  I don't drink Mountain Dew and hadn't fired a shot yet that season.  My secret spot is probably also in some other hunter's GPS.  There are no "Secret Spots" on public land.  Probably never were but now in 2019 trying to hope there are will get you nothing but frustration.   Get there early, try to be first in, avoid weekends if possible, and move on if you get squeezed by another hunter.  On other forums, when someone inquires about running down to Florida to get that Osceola, I tell them that Florida public land is by far the toughest they'll ever find.  Good luck in the future.
    BTW - before it is brought up, we do have limited access to some private land but I feel no guilt applying for quotas and hunting a romp and stomp on occasion.  The romp and stomp trips will be mid week, late in the season, were I'm surprised to even see another hunter.  

    I'm sure I have an LBL picture itching to get added to this.  I'll work on it. LOL. 
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