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Turkey Hunting Advice

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by TheFitHunter, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    Hey all
    This year will be my first year hunting turkeys, tags are pretty easy to get here in NJ.
    I have a few spots close to home that I have seen Turkeys while deer hunting early season (September to first week in October) but I have never seen any later than that, still maybe a good place to start? Any advice given would be well appreciated. The only thing I am comfortable with is the shot placement with my bow, everything else between calls, decoys, blinds, camo etc. is all new ground for me in which I am excited and willing to learn about.
     
  2. Hillbilly Jedi

    Hillbilly Jedi Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Well spring turkeys are somewhat easy to find. They'll be making a lot of noise so that should help. Go to where you've seen them before and start looking. Turkeys will usually return the same roosting trees at night, or relative close proximity so I would take an evening and see if you can find some. Watch where they go to roost and they'll be there in the morning.

    If you're going to hunt without a blind, camo is a must. They have amazing eyesight. If you can see their head, expect they will see you. If you have decoys you can try calling them in or if you want to do kind of a run and gun type deal, plan on trying to predict where they are gonna go and then get ahead and ambush them. Outright stalks are crazy difficult but not impossible.

    I'd recommend a blind and trying to call them into decoys if you can. It's much easier to have them come to you. If it's legal in your area for baiting, cracked corn will get them to come back to the same spot every day. Spend a couple or mornings and evenings in the woods before your season starts and you'll have them down. They usually follow a similar walking pattern through the day so it's likely, but not a guarantee, if you see them in one place one day, they will be there the next about the same time. In the spring hens are the ticket. Find them and you'll find the toms for sure.

    Best of luck to ya!
     
  3. tduex8

    tduex8 Newb

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    Just like anything else scouting is key. If you can find where they roost and the general area where they feed, it’s a good start.

    Decoys help in most situations, but are not required. I’ve found (in my experiences) that hunting later in the season, when most of the hens are bred/nesting, toms become curious and search out other hens. A few yelps could fire up a tom and could bring him in to investigate. That’s how I’ve killed most my turkeys.

    For a call I would recommend any box call considering it’s super easy to use. However, if you’re going to hunt without a blind, I would highly recommend learning how to use a diaphragm call because both hands with be in use holding on to your bow making it difficult to use a different kind of call without much movement. They are tougher to use, but you also won’t be moving if you can manage a few yelps (I’m no good at mouth calls, so I always use my box call). Check out the HS Strut push button yelper too, those are awesome and easy to use!

    Good luck!




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  4. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks for both of the awesome insights.
    I can use a blind, it just makes it difficult because i am on public land, don't want it to be stolen. Either way, I have several months until my season opens up here in Jersey, the rest of my time will be spent scouting and practicing with the bow. Thank you!
     
  5. No.6Hunter

    No.6Hunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Best thing I did my first year was putting the turkey to sleep and returning the next morning to catch them leaving the roost. If you can find the area the turkey are in the night before they will be there the next morning. I have hunted in and out of blinds with shotgun and bow. It is much easier being in a blind when hunting with bow just due to the movement factor and camo is easy in a blind, where all black. For calls I use primarily slate calls and diaphragm calls. The diaphragm calls took a few years to perfect but they get the most responses where I am at.
     
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  6. chieffan

    chieffan Weekend Warrior

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    I have tried the mouth call and cannot get a peek out of them. Tired a single first, then got a set of three for the "beginner" Ya. Right. Have 5 if anyone want them. I like the slate calls but use a blind and decoys. Only hunted one season so have a lot of learning to do. Got a different bow & got it sighted in but may have to go to heavier arrows. Just leased 157 A right out by back door the other day so will be hunting new ground but know there are birds there. Good luck to everyone this season.
     
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  7. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    what zone in jersey? we run zone 20. when you do scout and find them they will still be in their winter flocks, don't call to them, all that does is educate them. public gets lots of pressure, but there's lots of birds . Birds will be moving towards their summer strutting grounds later in march. I've put birds to bed only too have other guys beat me to them in the morning, have back up plans. Don't give up, took me 7yrs before I killed 1st bird. E week can be really good time to kill a bird, but its ambush killing, birds will be call shy and very hunter smart by then, remember where they were in morning after they fly down, get back there and catch them before they fly back up. Good luck
     
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  8. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks JeffC, and I will be hunting zone 15, Assunpink WMA
     
  9. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    Awesome, Big area, start at the swampy area at end of the lake, birds like to roost over water, they will head to the fields after fly down. You can count on other hunters to hear a bird gobble and they will move to them regardless if your working them or not. Patience will kill a bird. Don't go crazy calling. Listen to the hens talking, you don't have to be a great caller. I have laughed out loud at some of the hens talking , sound nothing like any call I have. If a tom responds to you, he knows where you are, he will go quite and sneak in to see if your "real". Most older wise toms will "hold up" outside of range or sight. Remember when he gobbles, hens go to him, sometimes its better to let him walk away , get up and move 20 - 30 yds towards him and call again. Opening day will be your best shot, then "A" during the week, most toms will be looking for the next hen after 9-10am. Lot of guys will give up and head to work . Stay safe, public lands are dangerous. Lot of land owners hate turkeys, knock on some doors, we started out hunting public and were lucky to meet land owners who gave us permission and even turned us on to other properties. But we still hunt public first then move to private.
     
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  10. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    I just heard back from the NJ Department of Fish and Wildlife about my lottery application. I was awarded my top pick which was "D" week simply because it is 2 weeks after my college classes let out and it is double the length of any other time. It may be harder to hunt but i have more time. BTW I meant I am hunting in zone 12, zone 15 is my zone for deer hunting, brain lapse haha. Both are in the Assunpink.
     
  11. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    I also have a small piece of private land next to a pond which borders several AG fields, I have seen TONS of Turkeys there but the only problem is they are very spotty. They will hang around for a few days and then be gone for weeks simply because they roam hundreds of acres of private land outside of the small parcel I have permission to hunt on. There are some giant toms on that land and they have never been hunted. Would it be worth it to just stick it out there and hope they come through on a day I am there?
     
  12. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    When over the counter of left over tags go on sale, grab E tags. Yes if you have private and birds hunt there. Knock on neighbors doors, Jersey deer hunters hate getting busted by turkeys. Zone 20 is mostly out of state hunters, locals only chase the first week if that, then they all start fishing.
     
  13. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    Its crazy, grew up in jersey, left almost 30 years ago. Now I spend 135 plus tags to come back just to hunt birds. Up to last year I hunted state game lands for pheasant with my pointing lab, favorite thing to do, retired her last year. So maybe next year I will get a bow tag for Turkeys, just cant see spending 270 to be able to hunt with both. Where I live now, birds are just starting to get to hunt able numbers, so I will try to kill a tom with bow over here this year. I try to get at least 1 tag for each week and 2 E tags. My best year I killed 5 big toms, 4 in jersey and 1 in Maryland. We spur hunt now, look for 3/4" or bigger. All my friends have killed multiple bearded toms, I managed to kill a 4 spur bird. When I started, if a bird gobbled and strutted, he would get shot.
     
  14. TheFitHunter

    TheFitHunter Weekend Warrior

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    Update: Today began my first day of scouting for birds. I ended up seeing a big ol' tom strutting at the opposite end of a field with two hens 20 minutes before sunset. I decided to get "A" week tags as well if any are still available which begins in 2 weeks. This warm weather moving in should have them getting a bit more aggressive, and hopefully the Tom I saw today will stick to the area I saw him and I suspect him to be roosting near since it was so late. He was at the end of a open field with a swamp and wood lot bordering it, making it a seemingly good spot to roost. Thoughts/comments?
     
  15. tdk5525

    tdk5525 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    There is a lot of changes going on this time of year. Turkeys will continue to split up into smaller groups. Food is changing a ton - maybe some green is popping up in some area and later maybe another spot will hatch some insects the turkeys love to eat. The point is, where they are one week, might not be where they are the following week. Turkeys NEED big woods - start there. Yes, they will go to fields to strut and feed, but they must have woods. When you're hunting, do your best to have the sun at your back. Camo is important, but not as important as not moving. If you have great camo and move...busted. If you have decent camo and don't move...you'll be fine. Half the time toms come in silently. Often these are less dominant toms that are tired of getting beat up. I love hunting with a bow, but I'd start with a gun. Turkey hunting can be tough. I hate hunting from a blind. IF you have a spot where they always start out in the morning, then hunting in a blind with a bow is easier.

    If I don't know where the birds are - I like to yelp 5-9 times, listen for a minute (if you have a turkey gobble then sit down or walk closer to them - depending on cover) if you don't hear a response walk 80 yards and call again. Do this a few times and then sit down for an hour. You don't need a decoy...especially in big woods. A gun makes this a TON easier. I do this with a bow because I don't like carrying a bow, blind, chair, decoys,...

    If you don't know where the toms are roosted then an owl call is a great way to get them to gobble BEFORE fly down. Sometimes you have to get more aggressive with the owl call to get the toms going.

    It's a blast. Have fun.
     
  16. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    IMG_0011.JPG Scouted yesterday, flocks are all broke up. You really need to go back to edge of the field closest to woods/swamp in the early morning before light, 530ish. Just stand quietly and wait for them to gobble, this is the best way to find the roost, its better to be scouting from farther away then being to close. If you are able to find the roost , set up between roost and the field. Remember Sat. 4-15 is youth day. Yesterday they started at 555 and gobbled at least 30 times before fly down. Good luck and stay safe.
     
  17. chieffan

    chieffan Weekend Warrior

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    Haven't been out yet. Weather finally turned off decent so been busy with yard work, etc. My day is done about 3pm. After working 7 hours I am not ready to get up a 4:30 to go turkey hunting. Getting to darn old for that. Granddaughter and I did set the blind up a couple days ago. Saw bird there when deer hunting last season but don't have any cameras out. Going to the top of the hill on a dirt road that borders my lease area again this evening and see if I can find their roost. Have only see or heard one bird in the last 3 or 4 weeks. Have no clue where they are at. 3 1/2 weeks of the season left. Not very optimistic on been successful this season. Last year it was rain, rain and more rain and without walking a mile or more no way to get to them. At 77 that is not an option any more. Especially up & down hill.
     
  18. dumbledore5241

    dumbledore5241 Newb

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    Totally agree with you, tduex8! The only thing I would like to add is the Box Call works better than the diaphragm ones, in my opinion. Therefore, it's better to go to a turkey hunting in a company of your friends.
     
  19. blackbear

    blackbear Weekend Warrior

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    So I see all these guys laying down behind a tree, how are they dealing with ticks.? P spray only goes so far.


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  20. JeffC

    JeffC Weekend Warrior

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    Deet, Permethrin and gamble you don't get bit.
     

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