No luck

sneaky_pete000

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I headed out this morning for a while and had some fun. I had plans on the oldest son taking one side of the road we park on, while I take my 12yr old daughter with me on the other side. However, before we even left the parking spot it was easy to see this area was going to get even more pressure than normal. I have permission to park on a friends property, but I leave my rig out by the road. Someone drive right by us, into my friends jobsite. I could also see plenty of people going up and down the road, parking in different spots, so we decided we'd all hunt together. No problem, its all unposted land, lots of turkeys.

We walked into the one spot I didn't think we'd bump into anyone. We walked uphill, got above the elevation I thought the birds would be at and listened. We heard one on the roost a few hundred yards to our south, and started walking that way. He flew down, and started moving in the opposite direction we were, so we changed direction and went after him. This bothered me because I figured he was going to a field that is close to the dirt road we parked on.

I was right, and we set up about 50yrds into the woods, off a back corner of the field. I played with him for a while, but he really didn't want to leave the field. We were on a time limit, so I throttled up the level of aggressiveness on my calling, then shut up. I could see some movement in the field and could tell by the gobbling that he was on his way. I got Emma all set up and as I was shuffling her around, I heard a box call sound off from somewhere nearby. I thought it was to my left, and the turkey was coming on my right. I was slightly concerned about the other hunter, but could see the tom coming right toward us, and thought it would be over in a minute anyway. There was an old logging road that the tom had to cross. He was within range for me at that point, but he was strutting and relaxed, and there were now 2 toms, so I really wanted to get him into a lane that Emma could shoot. He strutted up the road slightly when...you know the rest....BOOM FLOP FLOP FLOP...the other hunter, who I thought was on my left, was actually on my right.

Blue dot is me and Emma
Pink dot is where I thought the hunter was
Red dot is where he actually was
green line is the turkey path

We weren't in the line of fire thankfully. Part of me wanted to go over and have a conversation, but part of me also thought it might not be wise to do so on Emma's first real turkey hunt.
He could have heard my calling and snuck in after that tom anyway. But for most of the time, I was calling softly, so maybe he didn't even know I was there, or possibly even thought I was a hen.
The other tom didn't fly away, so I knew he was still in there somewhere, and thought if we sat tight, we might get a peek at him.

Anyway, its the gamble you take when you hunt a high pressured area, and I'm not upset about it. Emma had a ton of fun. She seemed as though she liked to turkey hunt in couple short times we've gone out, but after this, she was enthusiastically saying she was excited for tomorrow. She had a full case of the shakes and her finger was on the safety. She was as close as she could have been without actually shooting one. The only reason she didn't is due to myself thinking we'd have him just a little bit closer, and in an open lane without brush to filter pellets out. She's excited, so I'm excited.

 

VTHunter08

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Ugh I hear these stories so often it seems like. Had a buddy tell me yesterday that he was working a bird, and it was slowly coming when he noticed movement off his back shoulder. He turned to see another hunter coming in. My buddy gave him a quick "I'm here wave" Guy waved back, moved 50 yards off to the side and set up! Its like ummmmmm
 

Mountain Hunter

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This is one of the reasons I stopped Turkey hunting about 10 years ago. Every time I went out, it was a bunch of us sitting in each others lap. It finally boiled over for me when another hunter shot a bird I was working. I got up to move, and another hunter who I didnt even know was there, blew up at me. He accused me of not having permission(I did). That was the last time I went turkey hunting.

Having said all that, next year I want to get back into it. We now have some birds on the mountain at deer camp. At the very least, its an excuse to stay at camp.
 

sneaky_pete000

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This is one of the reasons I stopped Turkey hunting about 10 years ago. Every time I went out, it was a bunch of us sitting in each others lap. It finally boiled over for me when another hunter shot a bird I was working. I got up to move, and another hunter who I didnt even know was there, blew up at me. He accused me of not having permission(I did). That was the last time I went turkey hunting.

Having said all that, next year I want to get back into it. We now have some birds on the mountain at deer camp. At the very least, its an excuse to stay at camp.
Its a great excuse to stay at camp. We did it this weekend and it was awesome. Windows wide open, breeze blowing through listening to the peepers and the coyotes - it was great.

You can't avoid it, but 3 ways to get away from the hunters:
1. Don't hunt fields - its hard to walk away from a spot you know has birds, but I'm convinced there are just as many a couple hundred yards in the woods as there are at the fields, and the hunter number drop dramatically.
2. Wait until after 9am - I swear the birds get HOT at about 10am, and most of the hunters seem to have left.
3. Late season - I always feel this urgency like there won't be any birds left by the 2nd half, but they come out of the woodwork and there are a lot less dudes out there.
 

sneaky_pete000

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That saddens me. I really hope she gets another chance. Good luck!
I'm sure she will. Its part of the learning process for her, and it reinforced some things that are easy to shortcut for me. By myself, I don't always get a big tree behind me. I've sat in blowdowns often. This was a good refresher of why I need to stick to the rules as well, even when the kids aren't with me.
 

sneaky_pete000

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Saturday was baseball all day, so we headed to camp after and didn't get a chance to roost anything. Sunday morning was beautiful, although the bugs finally woke up this weekend, and we headed out to the same field I got married in and sat under a giant, ancient ash tree. I used to climb up in it when I was a kid with and miss deer with my bow all day. I stacked some slate at the bottom in 1990 to boost myself up, and those became a seat for Duke on Sunday morning. There were plenty of gobbles around, but all at longer distances, so we hung tight for a while. Ethan, being 15, decided he was going after one of them. Have you ever heard the story about the old bull and the young bull looking down on the pasture full of heifers? Anyway....

Eventually Duke and I went on a walk. We did hear one gobble that was close enough to try and set up on, but he wasn't cooperating. 9am we headed to camp to fill his fuel tank and we made the plan to take a long trek toward the gobbles we heard. Ethan was in on the action, but wasn't able to close the deal. It sounds like he got "out-sexied" by a real hen that pulled his tom away. I was still thrilled to hear that he was working one, now that he's tackling it solo.

Around 10:30am, as we walked along the property border, posted signs on my left, steep dropoff on my right, we stopped and I called. BAM...right down over the bank he gobbled on top of me. We quickly grabbed the first big hemlock we could find, and set up. It wasn't perfect for an 8yr old to shoot from, but we didn't have any choice. As soon as I got the gun in his hands, he whispered "Dad, I see it" - 25yrds away a red head had periscoped up over the dropoff. It was an incredible moment, because the sun was shining behind the tom, making the red head look like it was red light bulb. It was a layup of a shot, but we hadn't seen a beard yet, so Duke had to hold off. The tom went back down behind the bank, and when he reemerged, he had 2 jakes on his tail. Of course, they gave us easy shots, but we couldn't verify a beard on either one, and Duke was locked onto the tom anyway. We wiggled and shuffled as the tom circled around us, trying to get a good shot before he hit the posted property right behind us. We were only presented with 1 other change to shoot at him as he weaved between blowdowns, and at that point, literally all 3 heads were lined up, and I would have bet the farm they all would have hit the dirt if he pulled the trigger, so he had to hold off again.

The tom got past us, walked uphill onto the posted property and strutted. He was within range, and I wanted to get my phone out to take a pic of him in full strut with the yellow posted sign right in front of him....I think he did it on purpose. Anyway, we let him get out of sight, we moved a couple times and called him back every time, but not past the signs. The last change was to run all the way back to the corner of the posted property, where an old slate pile sits. I called, and he didn't hesitate, but I think the combination of the big quarry hole, the big slate pile, and me calling from the opposite side threw off the accoustics. His gobble was very hard for me to tell exactly where he might come out, and I bet he couldn't pin point my calling either. We heard the church bells down in town ring, so we unloaded, let him wander away, and we headed back to camp. He was thrilled, I was dissapointed, but it was fun.

I packed the truck while he sat in his great grandfathers chair practicing his calls. I'll call it another success.

 
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Mountain Hunter

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That sounds like another great day in the woods. Duke is certainly earning that first bird!
 

NH Mountains

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Great memories there. Persistence Pete. Hang in there and it’ll happen for him. He’s got a good mentor.
 

NH-Archer

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God, I love reading these stories!! Keep'em coming.
 

TheLostBeaver

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I agree with staying away from fields or spots where the turkeys hang out near roads. I’ve had a good spot for years that no one else hunts and the birds hang out on a rocky hillside without any fields nearby. I try not to hunt it too often because I’m afraid other people will see a truck parked there and think it’s worth hunting. Turkey season seems to really bring out the road hunters. Late season can also be very good in areas with hunting pressure. I like to go out into a big piece of woods and walk the high ground, mostly just listening, but I’ll call once in awhile too. I’ve found quite a few turkeys in unusual places that way. Good luck to you and your son, I think it’s good that he’s working for his first one. Sounds like he’s enjoying hunting without killing a bird, which is what it’s all about to me.
 


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