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IceHawk

Spring Turkey

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IceHawk

Well who else is going after long beards this spring? I was drawn for season B again no surprise. There were surplus tags left as there were last couple years.  Really like the new approach to not having to apply for the later seasons spreads the hunters out and gives guys like me the opportunity to get after them early :grin:  Been out doing some scouting and been seeing some big wintering flocks one I was glassing other day had over 60 birds in it! They have really been working over the picked corn lately.  Oh cant wait to hear the first gobble of the year ;)

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Wanderer

+1 here. :)

I miss the hills of SE MN but when I have birds walking through my yard it’s hard to leave Central MN.

Its not like they’re gonna be super easy but I’m trying to get my first with a bow, and that’s not easy.  Not yet anyway.  The more days I can get in, the better.  And sticking around home makes THAT part easier.

When I first started hunting turkeys it took me three seasons to kill a bird.  Then every year after that was a score with the shotgun for about 20 seasons maybe?  I’m going into my second legitimate season of effort with my bow.  Hoping two times is a charm.

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Bisonguy

this will be my first time chasing Minnesota turkeys. Any tips on where to go around Lake Lida area? 

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IceHawk

First off welcome to the site ! Fish that area quite often and have seen some good flocks around there.  I would get out and do some glassing in the area , especially around some picked corn fields. Right now they are wintered up but will break  apart once spring gets closer. Maybe hit up a local bait store and ask around if anyone knows of a spot. Or look at the landowners list that received permits in that area. They legally have to grant permission to hunt there land but unfortunately a lot of landowners will tell you they are full even if there not :( Good luck in your search. 

Edited by IceHawk

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Hoyt4

It's go time, i pretty much have all my gear ready for end of March for NE. Our first hunt is archery only then I get to come home and get even with the pipe bomb.

Good luck Wanderer once you get that first they just start to drop after that. Bow or shotgun they are a blast.

Bisonguy, Scout scout scout. The more you know what the birds are doing and want to do will help. Being a better woodsman and knowing your land and what the birds are doing will put more birds in the dirt then great calling. Patience is another huge part of turkey hunting. I am 1st to want to start running and gunning and give up on a bird i've been working but over the years have got a lot better and just need to give some setups a chance before moving. Good luck be safe.

Edited by Hoyt4

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monstermoose78

I will be at it with archery gear. It took some time to get the first one with the crossbow but the last two years I stuck a turkey. Watch for the turkey contest here as it is fun times. I can’t wait to see all the photos of turkeys soon.

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gimruis

I did not draw an early season permit.  I may be able to snag a surplus season B, otherwise it will be a later season for me this spring.  The birds are getting SMART.  They have refused to listen to any calls and they are decoy shy so I haven't been using calls or decoys for a while now.  Rather, I just sit there and wait on a travel route and hope they walk within range (sort of like deer hunting I guess).  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Scouting is obviously important.  What has also really helped is the use of Winchester Longbeard XR ammo.  I have harvested turkeys out to 60 yards with it in recent years.

Edited by gimruis

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ANYFISH2

will definitely be hunting turkeys again this year.  Love chasing these birds.

Intend to go the archery route this year for the first time.  I have 2 kids that always are excited every year, until a couple of early mornings wain thier enthusiasm!  Figuring archery will allow me go on those days the kids dont want to wake up and I think I have something figured out.  Hope my skills will be up to the challenge.

 

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Capt. Quicksteel

Darn you guys!!   How am I supposed to stay at work and pretend to be interested now? There's nothing better than bow hunting turkeys in the spring after a long winter!

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IceHawk

Anyone one of you guys ever use Dave Smith decoys?  They sure look realistic but wow come with a price. I like the avian X and I have a couple custom painted from a artist friend that look real good also.  Yes I  realize  a lot of people  don't use decoys. And I realize there is a time and situation for that  But I'm kind of a decoy junky lol! i rarely find my self going with out any. :grin:

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monstermoose78

Decoys sure have come along ways from the foam things my grandpa used. I bought some Avian X decoys and retired grandpa’s foam things. I have noticed I am getting more birds into range with the better decoys. 

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IceHawk

Have to Agree moose the turkeys are becoming a little smarter each year. Better decoys have definitely upped my odds last few years. Seriously considering those Dave smiths or some Avian X.  Moose what are you using for a setup combo with those Avians? My customs look nice but always looking for something better :grin:

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monstermoose78

I have 3 avian x hens two feeders and one head up. I gave semi strut Jake as well. 

I want to get a full strut

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IceHawk

I've used a full body full strut before can be good or bad depending on a birds mood at the time. In certain situations they can be a killer, 

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IceHawk

I'm really leaning to buying a mojo scoot and shoot amd trying that this year talk about a adrenaline rush. 

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monstermoose78

I have two boss toms at my dads and I think a strutter might be the ticket

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paceman

I will also follow the archery route. I have been successful the last 4-5 years with the Bow. I think I am actually more successful with the bow as it is pretty tough to run and gun with it. It's makes scouting more of a priority as I need to be where the birds are. I will stick out a few cameras as soon as soon as the snow is gone. There is about 2 feet on the ground. I will focus on field edges, strutting zones. Once I find an active area we will simply sit in a blind and be patient. I have had really good luck with a hen and Jake set-up. However I really would like to add a strutter.

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Capt. Quicksteel

Great minds think alike. We use the same approach for scouting and set up. We've used the hen and Jake decoy set up and have a pretty good streak going. The scouting makes it work.. The you get to relax in a blind. (nice not have to worry about scent!)

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monstermoose78

I agree the hen and Jake set up has been effective, but the big boys don’t fall for the Jake. Ok they did once for my nephew but he got turkey fever and shook so bad he never got a shot off.

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gimruis

I prefer using a blind instead of just sitting on the ground in a ghillie suit.  Its dry if it rains, I can drink coffee, look through binoculars, etc and not worry so much about my movement.  The downside is that its not as mobile.

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monstermoose78
7 minutes ago, gimruis said:

I prefer using a blind instead of just sitting on the ground in a ghillie suit.  Its dry if it rains, I can drink coffee, look through binoculars, etc and not worry so much about my movement.  The downside is that its not as mobile.

I agreed and when I take the nephew it allows him move. O yeah and you can bring the heater with!

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brittman

Killed Toms 4 of the past 5 seasons.  Almost always D or E.  Only blank season is when I tried Season B ... not again.

Son shot his first Tom last spring.  Hunted a few times early.  Took his gobbler at 20 yards (Season E).   Called in two nice birds for a friend and his son the weekend of season E.  

I do not even think about applying for an early permit.  Pick season based on work schedule and weather patterns.

No issue pulling long beards in later in the season even on public land.

Around the metro, I notice plenty of bird movement through the entire month of May.

 

 

Edited by brittman

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brittman

Forgot to say last year I shot my Tom on the last Saturday of May.

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IceHawk

Have to agree the later seasons can be good. Have a bud that always get his bird those late seasons.  I'm totally opposite. I have taken a Tom In all of the last 10 years in all but one in B season. I'm personally lucky in that I have permission and access to real good private land. The later seasons  never have interested me in that  the misquitoes  and bugs can be horrible.  Plus during that time of the year the fishing can be lights out, so I'm usally sitting in my boat rather than a turkey blind. 

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Borch

I've shot birds in every season with the exception of "B".  Then again it's the only one I've never hunted.  That may be changing this year.

As far as decoys go I used a strutting Jake with a real fan or no decoys.  I don't use hens as they tend to hang up mature toms as they strut and gobble out of range until the real girls show up and they leave.

Calling is always based on reading the bird I'm working.  I usually fire them up early and when they get closer get quiet.   Has worked well for me over the years.

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monstermoose78

@Borch we having s turkey contest?

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Borch

I may work on it today.

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monstermoose78

Lots of turkeys around and the season can’t come fast enough. I have been practicing with crossbow and patterned the 870 for the nephew. It will be a great time with my nephew sitting in the blind. He said he would get one this year. 

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monstermoose78

Looking at getting another call?

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IceHawk

I have a few different calls Box, Slate, Glass they all have a time and a place. My favorite is a Cody slate! If its windy Glass is the way to go reaches out then I grab the Primos jackpot. 

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • mrpike1973
      Thanks EricO!!
    • Dave S
      Based on what I've found, the Navionics app on a phone only gets you within 100 feet. The triangulation off cell towers will be nowhere near as accurate as a gps. It's still helpful but it requires drilling a few more holes to get on any given structure accurately.
    • IceHawk
      Yes and I have it  on my phone use it occasionally walking out  as many do.  You could put it on a kindle or a  tablet and it also would work.,   but I honestly don't think there as accurate  But this may just be my opinion and I may be wrong.  How many guides charter captions rely on the safety of there clients with a phone? There's a reason why they run top GPS plotters accuracy.  I can tell you from experience some lakes are not mapped by Navionics well and are inaccurate.  Some lakes are  way better mapped detailed and accurate with a Lake Master or Lake insight chip. So having multiple options is key depending on the lakes you fish.  Try comparing  your phone accuracy to a GPS chip on a Top quality Lowrance Humminbird  or other GPS system.  Set a waypoint and use the two to your destination and you might surprise yourself the phones accuracy to spot on spot.. Another negative way to small for me to see driving, Ill utilize the locators on the boat. Kind of makes sense when there are 4 of them on there to pull one off and get some multi use out of it. 
    • delcecchi
      You could put navionics app on phone and do same thing.  
    • Wanderer
      Drove out today with my truck with the plow on. Checked ice as I went.  12 inches of clear ice covered by 4-5 inches of frozen slush.  Never heard a crack but who could in the wind?!   Plenty of trucks pulling large wheel houses out so I went home and got my little hard side house to finally put out.  Drilled some holes, marked a few fish, pushed the snow off the spot for the house and set it down.  Very few fish marked after that and only one caught.  The skid house blues but at least it was warm and comfy in that gale.  We’ll try for a reset tomorrow.
    • leech~~
      Been doing this for years on my sled. 👍
    • IceHawk
      Now that we have some nice new fresh snow on Lakes I thought I would give out a little trick of mine that I use when Walleye fishing all winter if there's snow on ice . . This works with ATVS, Snowmobiles, and Trucks. Most of us have summer setups electronics  in our boats. Why not take advantage of them in winter. Before putting your boat away for summer pull one of your Locators off if GPS compatible and mount it on a Blue box  suction cup for Truck or Ram mount on ATV  or Snowmobile. If you don't have a chip buy a lake master, lake insight or Navionics. Whatever is sufficient for your brand of electronics. Next get a game plan together on your depths  you want to fish according to the  ice period your fishing early mid late winter.  Go out to a lake after a nice fresh snowfall and basically follow the break lines points etc with your mode of transportation just like you would in your boat. Once you have laid a path out on your depth go back and cut holes in your trucks wheel tracks saves piles of time and keeps you on a designated depth you are targeting saveing lots of time. Right now I have my Lowrance Elite 7 mounted on a suction cup on windshield in my truck. When I get on a lake and want to fish a underwater point I will first decide on depths I intend to fish  set my course to follow that depth keeping constant eyes on my electronics to stay on that depth just like I was in my boat. First I will start  off close to the  shoreline and follow that depth   to tip around tip back to  opposite shoreline. Staying exactly on depths I want to fish, Walk out stand back and look at your trail in fresh snow you will see exactly how that piece of structure is laid out. It shows obvious knobs,  tip of point inside corners etc. . Then go out with your auger and pound a series of holes every 15 foot or so in your vehicles wheel tracks all the way around your trail, as they will be right on the depths you want to target. . Next I Ice troll all these holes during day giving each hole only a minimal amount of time  before moveing on, until I hook a fish or two. The location hooking of active fish useally dictates where I want to be setup before prime time to capitalize on that prime bite.  This technique has proven itself for me over and over on many lakes. Works like a charm on the Millacs mudflats. or if you want to target the edge of a nice weed line. 
    • Rick
      Lakes in the Bemidji area are covered with deep snow, patches of slush and thin ice in many areas. In other words, this year has some of the worst ice conditions in recent memory.   January in Minnesota is consistently the coldest month of the year. The short days and long nights usually combine to create the longest stretches of cold weather of the year.   With these things in mind, there is colder weather on the way. The extended forecast is predicting highs most days in the single digits or low teens, and lows most nights close to or slightly below zero.   This is not the bitter cold Minnesota is known for having in January, but it is cold enough to start freezing some of the slush on the lakes. This is a slow process, so don’t expect the ice conditions on the lakes to improve right away.   Anyone paying attention during the weekend may have noticed many large pickup trucks pulling double-axle fish houses in parking lots all over town. Many of these people didn’t call ahead to a resort or bait store to check the ice conditions. When they got here, they found out they couldn't get on the lakes with their big fish houses.   One look at the lack of fish houses on Lake Bemidji speaks volumes about the ice conditions. By this time of the year, there are usually houses all over most lakes, with little cities on the ice close to the public accesses.   Not this year. The same story of thin ice and deep snow is being repeated all over Northern Minnesota.   Anglers with snowmobiles or other vehicles with tracks have the best chance to access the most lakes, but there is still a good chance of getting stuck, no matter what anglers are driving. Anything with wheels needs to stay on the plowed roads. The resorts are trying to expand their roads as soon as the ice conditions allow it. They are trying their best to accommodate as many anglers as possible, while still keeping things safe. Remember to thank the people who provide you access to the lakes. Don’t complain and have unrealistic expectations just because you paid an access fee.   The lake with the best ice conditions is Lake of the Woods, but this observation is not a secret. The lake with the most fishing pressure right now is also Lake of the Woods, with people from all over the state flocking to the best ice conditions in the state.   The increased fishing pressure on Lake of the Woods will probably continue all winter, or at least until more lakes have better ice conditions, to give anglers more choices. This is going to take a while, even under the best case scenarios for freezing slush.   Upper Red Lake got hit hard in the last storm, along with the rest of the Bemidji area. Virtually all of the roads on the lakes got filled with snow and had to be completely redone. There is slush around most fish houses and traffic on the lakes is still being limited by most resorts.   Anglers planning to fish Upper Red Lake should call ahead or check the social media pages for updates, or they might end up parked in a parking lot, instead of on the ice.   Anglers can get into some lakes with a snowmobile or vehicle with tracks. Use the buddy system, constantly check the ice thickness and have a shovel and a tow strap with you to be prepared for the possibility of getting stuck.   Many anglers are staying home or renting a fish house on Lake of the Woods or Upper Red Lake, instead of trying to do things on their own.   Vikings fans have at least one more weekend of football, and the possibility for more if the team keeps winning. This should give people something else to do on the weekends while they wait for better ice conditions.   Current Minnesota Fishing Reports - Click Here. SHOW US YOUR PICS!   Report on January 8th, 2020 by: Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. Guided fishing trips for 2020 and the rest of 2019 can be booked by phone or text at 218-760-7751 or by email at [email protected]
    • IceHawk
      Ice trolling for sure. If there is a low oxygen problem in the lake there wont be after I get done.  😁 I guess I like to put my stuff through the test. I can definitely give a honest opinion on quality after a winter of use. If it holds up to some of the abuse I Put it through it gets a thumbs up 👍 No weak links saved here 😂
    • IceHawk
      Brother in Law was out on Little Mary last week caught a bunch of small gills but not many respectable ones. I know the crappies are normally good size but he said they didn't catch many of them.   
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