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Borch

What a tough spring!

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Borch    313
Borch

Well after spending 8 hard days of hunting over two of Minnesota's spring turkey seasons during some pretty challenging weather conditions all I can say is, "I can't wait until next spring!". Here's a quick recap of the hunts we had.

My best friend, son and myself hunted the "D" season in the St Cloud area. Scouting showed promise that we'd have a good season with many bird sitings and lots of sign. What we found in five days of hunting in some very windy, wet days was that the toms were pretty tight lipped. Out of the 5 days we hunted that season we had some early gobbling that went silent within a thirty minutes of sunrise on 3 of the 5 days. We saw lots of birds tough. It must have been an incredible hatch last spring as we saw tons of jakes on all the properties we hunted. Lots of hens as well. The toms were being solitary and not very responsive to calling. Mid morning was our most productive time for seeing birds. Over the 5 days of hunting we saw over 75 turkeys. Mid morning of day four we had a group of 6 jakes come in silent in the rain and bust us. I decided to take one with only one day left and continously passing on jakes the previous days. Here's a pic of me with a rain soaked 14 1/2 lb jake with a stubby little beard.

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Travis and my freind ended up eating their tags after passing on several jakes and marginal shots on gobblers. The highlight for me of this hunt was having a hen wihtin 5 ft of me and then flying up to roost well before sunset on a dark rainy day. She was so close I didn't have any trouble seeing her breathe.

My daughter Jennifer had drawn a tag for the "G" season which started a couple days after her college finals were finished. We hunted Friday and Saturday hearing a few early morning gobbles and seeing a few birds. Sunday we weren't able to get out. Monday morning was my last morning I'd be able to get out with her due to having to work. We didn't hear a single turkey but there was a lot of sign on the property we were hunting. I whispered to her to keep her eyes open as we'd been seeing most of our birds later in the morning and they'd likely come in silent since they hadn't make a peep so far that morning. About thirty minutes later and right after a series of yelps, clucks and purrs on my home turned slate call I thought I heard a cluck but couldn't pinpoint the direction. I thought it came from out by the fields we were hunting and was scanning that area for movement. A few seconds later Jennifer elbowed me lightly and whispered, "Jake". There was a Jake sneaking in on the field road. The Jake stepped behind a clump of brush and Jennifer got her Rem 870 youth 20 gauge up and when the turkey stepped out into an opening at 33 yards she harvested her first turkey. The Jake went down in a heap and she layed her gun down and ran over to claim her bird. This was the highlight of my entire spring! Here's a couple pics of her with her first turkey.

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Her Jake had 4 1/2" beard, 5/16" spurs and weighed 15 lbs. All of a sudden every bird must have figured out that we didn't have a tag left as we had a hen just about walk up to us as we took pictures, three different gobblers started to gobble to a hawk scream and on the way back to the truck a big old tom strutted in another field on the property.

What a tough but fun spring. A person definitely brings home a lot more than a turkey in the game bag when you go hunting with friends and family. What great memories.

Good Luck!

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Nate McVey    0
Nate McVey

Borch, can we add our "tough spring" stories to your thread?

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Borch    313
Borch

Quote:


Borch, can we add our "tough spring" stories to your thread?


Have at it. laugh.gif

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123fish    0
123fish

Well I'll counter your tough spring with a pretty good spring for me. Shot a Nebraska tom in the last hour of the last day we were going to be there and got a nice one in Minnesota also. The Nebraska tom came from about a quarter mile away from halfway up one side a valley and down and up to my side of the valley gobbling off and on all the way. He popped out into the rangeland on my side of the valley 75 yards from one of our blinds with a decoy that had my buddie's son in it. The bird saw the decoy and went into strut and instead of going to the decoy turned and came the 225 yards to where I and a live hen had been calling. He looked like a racing ostrich when he popped around the corner where I was waiting in a pop up blind. Easy shot. Thought that was pretty cool that he left the first set up and came all the way to mine. The boy had shot a nice two year old the day before so he as o.k. with it. The one I shot was a two year old.

Hunted the "E" season in Minnesota in one of the permit areas that only give out 7 permits. Shot a 23.5 lb. tom the second day that came from the roost where he had been

gobbling. Pretty much like on of those tv hunts where the tom does what he is "supposed" to do.

Borch those are nice pics. I love the pics of your daughter with the big gold earrings. Have to look good just in case there's a photo op. smile.gif

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huntmup    0
huntmup

Borch, congrats to you and your daughter. I'm sure that was a great time and will be good memories.

I will be teaking my 16 year old nephew out on his 5th turkey hunt, on friday, the 8th season.

He called the bird in by him self last year in the 7th season. He thought that was way cool.

Three birds in 4 years, not bad.

huntmup

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Wanderer    299
Wanderer

Good for you two!!! cool.gifcool.gifcool.gif

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LABS4ME    0
LABS4ME

Good Job Borch! Way to hang in there on all the hunts.

I bet it was pretty neat to be there when your daughter harvested her 1st bird. Calling it in with a hand made call is just icing on the cake.

I have a 25 year old son who hasn't caught onto the turkey thing yet. Loves ducks and I was there for that, loves pheasants, I was there for that too, but no turkey yet. My 10 year old is begging me to let him hunt... I think next year I will let him set up like he's hunting with an empty gun and take a picture of the bird he could've harvested, if we get one to come in. He'll be ready in a few more years and I'll care less if I get a bird after that if I can see him harvest his!

Thanks for sharing!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Powerstroke    20
Powerstroke

I did pretty well, but the current focus for me is to helpa friend try to get his first bird. He didn't get drawn so he's doing the bowhunt thing. 3 days in a row at the same place he has come within 30-40yds of the birds. Very similar experience to you Borch. Not very vocal birds and they are very wary and call shy. He is hunting public land, but they are responding, just not like they were earlier in the year. He wants to be done, but I'm hoping to convince him to hunt next week.

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Shoot2Kill    0
Shoot2Kill

Borch - sounds like you had plenty of action! I can't see your pics from my work computer - IT dept has a block on them for some reason, but the story sounded good!

I agree...lots of birds around.

I hunted the May 8-12 season and got more than lucky. Went out on the afternoon of the 9th to do some afternoon scouting...had one hen talking to me for 30 minutes but no gobblers. Went out the next morning and had an entire timber full of gobbles all morning long. We had a group of what we thought was 3 jakes within 50 yards for over an hour and they were extrmely vocal...gobbling at every noise and rooster cackle for a straight hour but they would not come any closer. My buddy finally tried the "walking away and calling trick" and within 10 minutes I had 4 jakes at 20 yards....BOOM. I wanted to focus on my wife getting one later in the week so I put this guy on the ground.

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That was a Thursday morning. Saturday morning the 12th I brought my wife out there and we set up 50 yards farther into the timber than where I shot the jake. Same story that morning...a timber full of gobbles but they all sounded like they came off the roost and went the other way. At 6:30 I thought about moving and going after the closest gobble but my wife said "you've been burned before, let's just wait a bit". grin.gif I started calling really aggressive and at 6:40 there was 3 gobbles in a row that sounded very close. I sat quiet for a bit and Rachel said "call again, I think I can hear them walking"...I just start to cut up the slate call and the timber came unglued! All I could hear from Rachel was "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god"...I look to our left and here came FIVE TOMS IN FULL STRUT right into the decoys. At 15 yards my wife pounded her first longbeard. It was by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen in all my years of hunting.

Her whole season lasted 1 hour. Now for a year I get to listen to her brag about her Tom and make fun of my Jake. grin.gif I cannot wait until next year!

24.0 lbs, 10 inch beard, and 1 and 1/4 inch spurs on both sides.

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bigbucks    6
bigbucks

Sorry this is long,

My cousin & I got drawn for season G, which goes through today. We won't put in for a second choice again, too hot, too many ticks & skeeters. We like turkey hunting, but we don't love it, we love to fish walleyes & bow hunt whitetails. Anyway Friday was our first day, we were both too busy to get much scouting in ahead of time. I talked to some of our landowners & put some miles on my feet the night before trying to roost some birds, no luck. We had a property where the landowners had consistently been seeing birds in the mornings, so we headed there. We made two different setups & sat until 6:30 or so, never heard or saw a thing. We walked both of the adjoining farms, calling intermittentently with no sitings or hearing anything. We did the same thing on two other farms that morning, finding a few tracks, before I headed to work about 10am.

He picked me up after work about 4:30 & we headed out to a different farm where the landowner had occasionally been seeing a few birds in various fields in the late afternoons & evenings. He'd been seeing them mostly on his property across the road, so we planned to split up & hit a couple spots there, but decided to check the fields behind his buildings first. We got there about 5:00 & there were three males in the field. We thought they were probably jakes or two year-old's. We could see swinging beards, but they weren't very long, 3-4" was our guess. We were fine with that, we just wanted to get our birds. Even though we were in the buildings, they sensed the commotion & mosied off the field the other way to the North of us. There was a very strong South wind that day, I heard a temp as high as 87 for that afternoon, YUCK!

We climbed over a couple of hills parallelling them on the opposite side of a large field, staying in the trees. We spotted them 150-200 yards across the field in the trees & setup to call, they didn't respond at all. We decided to split up, he'd stay there & call. I thought I knew where they would go & was confident because of many hills I could get around behind them & cut them off or possibly stalk them. It took me about an hour to get around them to where I was on the opposite side of a steep ridge from where I figured they'd be, if they hadn't moved. I climbed to the top & began belly crawled over the top, it's steep enough my whole body was angled steeply downhill before I could see the whole slope. I pulled up behind a 2-3' diameter tree trunk & spotted the bird about 75 yards below me & to my right, calling again did nothing. They started to work back down the ridge & then gradually head along it's base away from me. I decided to work back over keeping the tree between me & the birds, once over I ran along the backside of the ridge just below the crest to cut them off, before beginning the whole belly crawl over the top again. I was sweating something fierce.

Anyway soon I was again laying angled severely downhill on a saddle I was sure they were going to cross, with nothing to hide me but 6-8" pasture grass. I finally saw one below me & a little past me & then the others came from behind some brush. I was guessing the distance at about 60 yards, too far. I'd killed a big tom at 45 yards before, so was confident if I could get within 50 they were in trouble. I kept creeping forward a few inches at a time, just pushing with my toe tips, afraid they'd see me, fortunately they worked back my way a bit & I felt they were in that 45-50 yard range. It was very hard to keep the bead down on them from my prone position while trying to stay propped up enough to clear the grass so I could see to shoot. Finally one of the two closer ones stretched his neck out to the side & I fired. He took off right to left in front of me, obviously hit, but didn't tip over, GREAT! a wounded bird. I followed him, seeing just the top of his head below me until he started to angle up the ridge to my left, when he cleared a tree at about 40 yards I let him have it again. He flapped, feathers flew, & he went back down the hill. I couldn't see him, no thrashing, no running, the other two birds started milling around & putting. Obviously I knew I'd hit him both times, but apparently not in the head, which was amazing to me. I kept inching down the hill thinking based on their reactions he was probably laying there, but even when I could see the whole slope, it was just the other two birds. I figured I'd just wounded him & he ran off. Finally I stood up & then I could see him piled up wings tucked in, lying in the depression of a cow path cut into the side hill. WHEW, I did hit him square like I thought with the second shot. It had a 3" beard & I'm guessing weighed 12-14 pounds. My cousin was still hunting so I went up & talked to the landowner.

It was about 10pm when I got home & I hadn't eaten yet, so by the time I ate & still needed to clean him I didn't think to weigh him or take any pics. It was my third bird in the three spring seasons I've been drawn for, out of the last four, so I was happy. My cousin's hunting again today, he also was able to hunt Sunday, with no sightings or hearings.

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Scorp1    0
Scorp1

Hey Guys,

My season starts on Friday and hopefully get my first bird.

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Ray Esboldt    0
Ray Esboldt

Good luck, Scorp.

You know, just reading everyone's stories this year sure says to me there must have been an awful lot of birds left from last years hatch. Here's to hoping for another good one this year.

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huntmup    0
huntmup

I saw 17 jakes in one group this spring before A-season started.

A good number of jakes have been registered so far this year in the area I hunt.

Go get'em Scorp.

I will be taking my nephew Tony out tomorrow after school. He has a 7th hour test or he would be out sooner. grin.gifgrin.gif

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Borch    313
Borch

Sounds like guys are having success. Like I posted I'm really looking forward to next spring with all the Jakes we saw this year. So far this spring it looking good for at least an average hatch.

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Borch    313
Borch

Shoot2Kill,

Congrats to you and your wife!

I'm still trying to get mine out in the woods. She loves ice fishing but is a bit leary about shooting critters though. Every year she gets a little more receptive to hunting turkeys.

You're a lucky man!

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Wanderer    299
Wanderer

You guys are scaring me!

I was already worried that our group of 4 never saw a jake during our D season in the Root River Valley. I saw 10 toms and 4 hens while hunting. My brother saw a bearded hen but refused to shoot her since he knew where her nest was (10 eggs)

The other guys saw only hens and toms as well. I didn't even see a jake while driving any of the roads. Even though we had plenty of birds to hunt, we were thinking there aren't the numbers we've had in the past.

Has anyone else noticed this scenario in the valley between Lanesboro and Peterson? Most of you seem to have good reason to expect many birds next year, but I'm not sure we'll have the same good fortune.

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