Andrew

Hi John, Here my pictures of the three turkeys I took spring hunting this year. All three of them were taken after I had seen them in fields and stalked them. The biggest was 23 lbs, 10.25 in. beard and 1.25 in. spurs. I missed another on my last day to hunt this year. Regards, ae

I wanted to give you a quick update on my hunting this fall. I had wonderful fall where I was able to fill my freezer. I was bow hunting opening night for deer this year and I took the turkey in the picture. First turkey I took with my bow and hopefully more to come. Also I took two deer during the firearms deer season. Hope all is well Andrew

Dear MAHA, I wanted to let you know how the first weeks hunt this year in KS went. We came out of the 3.25 days with one bird, but the memories will last a lifetime. Using the buddy list on the website, I was able to hook up with Greg of MN. We were able hunt the opening Weds through Sat morning.

Wednesday started out with a lesson learned. As we got out of the truck we were only 100 yards away from 3-5 toms in the trees. They were on the neighbor’s property, but only 50 or so yards from the property line. We decided to head to the line and hopefully have them pitch into the field we were sitting on. Unfortunately we underestimated how close the birds were to the field and jumped about 25 out of one tree. The gobblers were still going strong back in the woods but they knew something was not right and headed in the same direction as the others. The rest of the day was so windy I couldn’t hear myself think much less a Tom gobbling.

We thought the weather would stop us on Thursday to as we awoke to a lot of rain and a forecast for all day showers and Thunderstorms. We headed to breakfast in the hopes the rain would stop. Low and behold it did and we headed out. Without making a peep we heard a gobble around 9:30. We followed the sound and eventually we were right on top of him. Two hens, two jakes, and the one pictured came in. We shot the 1-2 yr old and missed one of the jakes.

Friday was terrible all day as the birds pitched out of the trees and never gobbled again. We hit another property midday with the same response. We ended up going back to the original property in the hopes the birds would roost in the same area. Amazingly we had a shot at another bird about quarter to 8. It was a tough shot as the bird was just feet away. We were greeted with the familiar turkey running through the woods. Maybe next year he will be ours.

Saturday we were able to work a bird for 1.5 hours with nothing to show. It was still a wonderful day to be out.

All told, we could have came home with three birds and instead got one. Who missed and who hit, only a couple people will know. The only thing that really matters though is the picture without the turkey in it. The friendship will be long lasting, while turkeys come and go

Sincerely, Andrew

Turkey Hunting - Wind: Friend or Foe

I have been hunting turkeys for 13 years now and I have not learned more in any year than the most recent, spring 06’. Being part of Mid-America Hunting Club (MAHA), and living in Kansas City, I am fortunate enough to hunt both Kansas and Missouri, both over the counter states for turkey tags. This allows me the opportunity to hunt from early April to the end of May every year.

I did not have this fortune of KS and MO 5 years ago as I moved to Kansas City then from Wisconsin. In WI, it is a draw for one 5-day season, while some are lucky to get two seasons.

Drawing from all of my hunting experiences in the past, I have always hated to hunt when the wind was above 8-10 MPH. I always considered the best day for turkey hunting to be a calm day. Now, I define a good a day of turkey hunting “being able to hear many turkeys”, so that probably adds to my opinion. Of course I love being able to harvest my sought after animal also.

My last day of turkey hunting in MO proved to be the absolute best day of turkey hunting I have ever had. I had only hunted two prior days in MO this season and either me or my hunting partner harvested a turkey each day. Many other days were spent scouting and it all came together on the last day.

It was the last Friday of MO season and on my way out to the field I could see all of the trees and grass blowing around in the wind. My first thought was “here we go again”, another day of fruitless turkey hunting where I don’t even hear a bird. I know I have heard plenty of stories.

I met up with my hunting partner and we went to where we harvested his first MO turkey. The turkeys were in the same tree as two weeks before and flew down in the same spot. We made a small move as they changed their direction. It paid off as we called in three long beards but never really had a shot.

Shortly there after in the same spot we called in three jakes. They were a bit hesitant being subordinate birds. We passed up on them as most hunters will and took off after the three long beards.

We caught up with the three long beards in full strut alone. They were in a wide open field. This is a turkey hunters dream. With about 10 minutes of calling they came in. As often happens we thought the turkeys were closer than they were and both of us missed on our double.

It is now about 9:45 am, and after some discussion about heading out, we checked out one more field. As we started to cross it, I noticed a small flock about 300 yds. away from us. We proceeded to stalk this group but could never catch up. Finally there was a spot where we thought they would come back at us, and we were right. We were delighted by watching a mature tom and 5 hens enjoying the afternoon sun. The same three jakes were tagging along behind.

After lots of calling the tom and hens made their way past us, but the three jakes were still in sight. After a short bit I was able to call all three in and my partner took one of them. It was his last day to hunt and he was tired after working third shift the night before.

Now it is 11:15 am and I proceeded to hit up the another section I had reserved after my partner left. By now it is 20 mph winds and I can’t even hear myself think. I had called my girlfriend and stated “I am just going walk in see what I see and will probably be on my way home in an hour.” Well as it turns out I did just that, but was on my way out with a turkey. I walked in, spotted a tom, called him in, and that was that.

You see, the turkeys were all over the fields and once I found the lone gobbler it didn’t take long for him to find his way to me. I was sitting there with a gobbler 100 yds away watching him gobble, but I could not hear him. Ironically a real hen came in behind him, but he didn’t see her.

That day proved to me that wind can be a friend. I didn’t go over 15 minutes without a bird within sight. What I noticed is that the turkeys are more apt to be in the fields. It is my belief that they can’t hear either, so they attempt to get in the fields to use the now best sense, sight.

I used the strategy of working the fields with a lot of walking and watching. They can’t hear you if you are walking through the adjacent woods. There sight is not as good as normal also with everything blowing around so much.

Next time, on those windy days, try some slow working of the fields and who knows maybe you will be on your way home early.

I have attached pictures of the three mature birds. The one picture shows clearly the triple beard that harvested first.

The quest for the Rio Grande Turkey and other spring notes:

Last year during spring turkey season I decided that my next year’s quest would be to harvest a Rio from club land. It was decided that I would try to hunt late April as that seemed to be the best time in years past. As luck would have it in my case, plans didn’t always come to fruition, and here are the details of that quest and my spring in general.

This year I kicked off my late winter/spring season with a trip to the Iowa Deer Classic accompanied by my girlfriend. The entire trip was well worth it and some great memories were had. For anyone interested in the classic, I would recommend to all. The displays were great. The huge deer from all over the state were a welcome sight to see. We did do a little scouting and saw deer and/or turkey on just about every property that we looked at or drove by.

During scouting trips I was able to put eyes on literally hundreds of both deer and turkey on total of 28 separate properties that were either scouted on foot or at least drove by. All scouting was complete in 4 separate weekends encompassing 8 total days.

Somewhere along the way I got a call from a good hunting buddy who invited me to join him and one other guy in Rio country. The only issue I had was that it was opening week and I was looking to spend the time and money on a later weekend. I could not pass up good times with friends and jumped at the opportunity.

This first week turned out to be very difficult. Since I had not been there before I asked for some help and proceeded to hunt one of the properties Rios were known to frequent. There were around 60 counted turkeys on the neighbors but none were spotted on our property. It was quite enjoyable to see 20+ longbeards, most of which were strutting from the high vantage point I had though. That evening we were able to watch 3 toms travel at least 1.5 miles in less than 10 minutes to roost. I had never seen turkeys travel so far, but I guess that is what Rios do in the more open terrain.

The next day we were able to hunt a different property in which we saw strutters from the road. Long story short, about an hour after getting there and lots of crawling and gobbling we popped up over a top of ditch and there were some toms 40 yards out. After first sight, they started feeding our way. I proceeded to shoot and miss, shoot and miss, and lastly shoot and miss my last shot in the chamber. That would be the last time this year.

My week was cut short because of death in the family and we all know what is most important. It turned out that the weather that everyone was talking about was coming in anyway and the hunting apparently turned south.

After coming home, I moved states. I hunted some familiar properties and never got the chance for a shot. The neighbors just across the fence appeared to be having a lot of luck though. Several close encounters were had.

The first weekend of this states season, I took the opportunity to take out a hunter from the buddy list whom had never turkey hunted before. The first day ever for him, we called in three different toms to 60 yards from long distances. All three gobbled like champs. It was a turkey hunting introduction fit for a king. The second day, we moved to a property in which I had seen at least 15 gobblers. Turkeys were on the other side of levee and had nothing on the other side but a 25 yard creek. Since there seemed no where to go for the turkeys, the only logical tactic was to call and wait. Three hours later, 4 toms came over the levee right to us and the first bird of the year was harvested.

The second weekend of season I had one of those morning hunts that happens rarely. The bird flew straight off the roost and I harvested the bird at 6:20 am. One state’s tags were now filled. This was perfect for the morel mushroom hunting weekend originally planned and let’s just say the taste buds for many were very satisfied.

After a little bit of thought, it was decided I would take the long trip to Rio country once more and take a chance. The weekend was one of the best I have ever had. The first bird was pure luck. I was about to leave the hunting property and noticed a neighbor's cow outside of the fence. I took the 10 minutes to put her back in and let’s just say I think she had a calf near-by. I am sure it would have made America’s funniest home videos. I got back to truck and was about to shut the door and the familiar gobble was heard. Luck or something else was on my side. The turkey would not answer the turkey calls, but he sure like to shock gobble to a crow call. With pinpoint precision I was able to walk right up on him and harvest my third bird of the year. My quest for a Rio was successful.

I still had one more day and tag. I found myself watching a flock of 4 toms, 6 jakes, and 6 hens in a huge field. Learning from my “wait” lesson earlier in the year that is exactly what I did. Deer and turkey never left the field and were always in sight. For the first time, I watched a pair copulate. Three and one half hours later, the turkeys made it my way and I had my choice of 4 toms.

I have moved into summer scouting for deer and have already spotted one outside the ears. I hope all of the deer are growing great racks for everyone hunting this fall. ae

Another

John,
Attached are pictures of the turkeys I took opening weekend, both are Rios. I found the turkeys very flocked up. When I was able to get close enough to the flock, calling only made the hens take the entire flock in the opposite direction. It was a matter of knowing where turkeys like to be and be waiting there before they get there. The temperatures were in the 30s and the wind was literally 30-40 mph. Thanks to Jon Nee for recommending a new turkey spot, as it paid off.
ae

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