If It Wasn't For Bad Luck...

james 14james 14 Posts: 3,001 Moderator
Went out Wed morning to try my luck in a fresh clearcut where I had seen some fresh tracks. I spent Sat and Sun in my usual honey hole and surprisingly had little action so I knew I needed to change. With it being the middle of the week I figured I'd be left alone out there and would hopefully coax one in with my decoy spread. As dawn broke I managed to get one to sound off about 300 yards away in response to an owl hoot. He never made another sound but I knew where he was and which direction he would be heading if he didn't come my way. As it turns out he never did make it over to me so I made a move in his direction. About 10am I get setup close to where he was roosted and hit some clucks on the box call every 15 min or so.
So let me pause here to let you know what's going on in my head. I'm sitting in the wide open and I KNOW he can hear me. I also had recently done the math and realized that in 15 years of hunting these creatures I've only blind called in birds on 5 occasions...but I've killed plenty that I've stalked or slipped in front of.
Back to the story. After an hour and a half I figured I would leave him til Saturday since he didn't seem to be interested and slip around some other areas I knew held some birds. With it now being 11:30 I had time to get it done should I happen upon one. So I ease up out of my chair and slowly get my stuff together. Of course I also glassed the clearcut to make sure he wasn't on his way. Seeing no signs of life I slip out to pick up my decoy while still checking the cut. As I lay my shotgun down to pick the deke up I decide to check the cut one last time. So I pull the binos up and check a clump of oaks at the far end. As I'm peering closely at them I get one of my biggest **** moments as a turkey hunter when that **** bird comes out from behind a woodpile about 100 yards away. :hairraiser :banghead Caught between feelings of helplessness and wanting to chuck my binos across the cut I could nothing but stand there motionless...next to my decoy...in the middle of the cut...with my gun at my feet. He never spooked but he certainly didn't come all the way in. That tree next to that hen didn't look right. His head stayed bright red and he kinda just turned to the side and walked out of the cut. He never ran or acted spooked in any way. So tomorrow is the day I will get redemption. I did try and set back up on him but no dice. Before I left I prepped a ground blind with some palm fronds. I'll be in them an hour plus before sunrise with my hen deke right in front of his roost tree. :crossed


BTW - this is the third time something this has happened to me. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned :huh

Replies

  • joekat46joekat46 North PortPosts: 2,289 Captain
    Good luck - always heard the old "30 minute rule" of turkey hunting. When you feel it is time to move wait an extra 30 minutes and see what happens. I rarely have the patience to follow this "rule" either especially if I'm " darn sure" the gobbler is strutting just a field or two away. Oh well.
  • GlennGlenn GeorgiaPosts: 1,724 Captain
    joekat46 wrote: »
    Good luck - always heard the old "30 minute rule" of turkey hunting. When you feel it is time to move wait an extra 30 minutes and see what happens. I rarely have the patience to follow this "rule" either especially if I'm " darn sure" the gobbler is strutting just a field or two away. Oh well.

    Follow this advice...

    Don't know how many times this has happen to me over the years.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,464 Admiral
    I call it 'Turkey Timing'. More often than not they will come to your call. But it's going to be on their clock.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • JRussellJRussell Posts: 1,411 Officer
    Have had this happen 3 different times. 2 of the 3 times we were packing up and my buddy had his back turned when I saw them coming.
    The Florida Hunters Network Facebook page
  • swampwalkerswampwalker Posts: 2,359 Captain
    This is classic and so timely! Thanks and let us know who wins the next contest..
    The original - "Renaissance Redneck"
  • DONY 1DONY 1 Posts: 557 Officer
    2 weeks ago I decide to make a move. Glass the area and see nada. Step out and as soon as I grab my deke I look up to 2 gobblers crossing. Fast forward to this morning. Go in blind to a new place. Google scouted it and knew where I wanted to be. Set up and sit back for sunup. Called a few times but didn't hear a peep. Decide to make a move at 8. Step out and as soon as I touch my deke a Tom flies off the roost at 70 yds. Grab my other deke and another flies off! Walk another 150 yds towards a clearing and bust another one off! Frustrating to say the least. Never did hear a bird today but seen 2 more.
    Don't cost nuttin to be nice
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,001 Moderator
    Sat - I setup below where they were roosted on Wednesday. As dawn breaks he starts gobbling 300 yards down the swamp edge on the edge of a hammock he went to the last time. I hoped he would come back towards me but I heard him gobble once on the ground back inside the hammock. I eased down the edge of the swamp close to where he roosted and sat til 1pm with nothing to show other than a few hens that came out to check on me.

    Sun - I sat below where he roosted on Saturday and between him and the hammock he had gone into hoping they would fly down and walk right by me. As dawn breaks he starts gobbling in the same place and I think it's finally going to happen. Nope. They fly down and go back the other direction. Yes...right where I was setup THE MORNING BEFORE. :banghead I eased up and tried to circle around to see if I could spot them in the cut but couldn't get all the way around due to how thick the swamp was. So I went back and was going to slip up behind them and setup for a couple hours. When I get back to my original setup I look up the swamp edge and see them coming back. At first it looked like 3 red heads. I sit back down in my chair and let out 2 clucks. 3 minutes later I have 3 bearded hens come around a wood pile but no tom. I have no idea why they came back (unless they saw my deke earlier) and no idea where the tom went. I did hear a gobble WAY further out and it's possible that was him but he would've had to have hooked up with another hen and hoofed it to get up there.

    So that's the story of my turkey hunting career so far. Just change the date for any time in the last 15 years. I could've called to them on the roost but the hens would've taken him away...at least that's what's happened nearly every other time I tried it. Apparently I can't hunt them like deer either because their 6th sense will take em the other direction every time. I did get clued in to something listening to those hens as they were on the roost and as they were looking for me when they came back. I may start calling to those henned up birds again on the roost but do some more of those subtle sounds I heard yesterday. It was intriguing to listen to. I just hope I don't have to wait 'til next year to try it out.
  • flydownflydown Posts: 6,464 Admiral
    Confounded birds is what they are. Had one do the same thing as yours, James. He roosted in the same tree for 4 straight days and didn't do the same thing two days in a row.
    Our buddy, Matt worked him for the first 3 days and finally gave up, saying the bird was "unkillable". I had killed a bird the first day and decided to risk my sanity and hunt Matt's demon bird on day 4. Sure enough, he gobbled from his favorite perch just before dawn and 20 minutes later, dang near flew into my lap. Even with a mile walk, I was back at camp by 7 AM.

    Matt? He were not happy!~

    Stupid birds.
    DYING for me was the most HE could do. LIVING for HIM is the least I can do
  • KortsmanKortsman Posts: 266 Deckhand
    You should have busted one of those bearded hens! I haven't turkey hunted in a few years. Does that count against your 2 bird limit?
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 2,644 Captain
    james 14 wrote: »
    . I did get clued in to something listening to those hens as they were on the roost and as they were looking for me when they came back. I may start calling to those henned up birds again on the roost but do some more of those subtle sounds I heard yesterday. It was intriguing to listen to. I just hope I don't have to wait 'til next year to try it out.

    That's turkey hunting gold right there.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,001 Moderator
    Kortsman wrote: »
    You should have busted one of those bearded hens! I haven't turkey hunted in a few years. Does that count against your 2 bird limit?

    I seriously almost did but it was 8am and I wasn't ready to throw in the towel on taking that tom. I'd also rather not shoot a hen since they're the ones that make baby turkeys.
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 3,001 Moderator
    That's turkey hunting gold right there.

    I hope so. I've tried literally everything else including gobbling at them although I haven't tried it on a henned up dominant bird yet. I seriously would've yesterday if I didn't think they were gonna come right by me. As I saw the hens walking off at flydown I never could see the tom. There was one turkey behind the group of 3 but it didn't look right. Of course it was just daylight and 100 yards away so it was probably him. If I knew for sure I would've thrown out all stops trying to pull him back but I couldn't rule out that he was still in the tree or just about to step out to come after my decoy. The second I make the assumption that he was with the hens I would've gotten up to cut them off and he would've been coming in 50 yards away.

    Anyhow, the sounds they were making were the same cadence as a series of 5 yelps but they were very light clucks instead. Almost like they were saying "Hey, we're here now." They came in to about 5 feet looking all around and after they walked past me they finally hit a couple of louder clucks or cuts as if to say "Yo! Where you at!" Then they proceeded to walk off. I'm thinking if I can call to those roosted birds in this manner it'll be less likely to make the hens turn and go the other way. I've never heard the yelping in this manner but I've heard the loud cuts before and in the same situations where they were trying to get a bird they were looking for to show themselves.
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,702 Captain
    I never knew how many different sounds a turkey made until having them as pets. These critters make noises you would never expect to come out of a turkeys mouth. A lot of the noises they make are only audible less than 15~20 feet at the most. The other thing interesting is the pitch range a hen has. Mine can go from high to super raspy in one note. I believe I read that a turkey has a vocabulary of 26 or so different calls
  • lookinlookin Posts: 1,336 Officer
    If they were predictable, it wouldn't be near as much fun. Enjoyed reading about your hunts and at least you've got some action....good luck.
    God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy
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