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Last Week of Spring Turkeys


jeffyo45

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Just wanted to get some opinions on whether any turkey hunting vets think it's worth it to even try the last week of the season? Is the reason there are left over licenses for the last few weeks because you don't have much chance of getting one? Will it depend on how much pressure the turkeys have had? Does the mating season (when the gobblers are in full strut) last through the end of the season? This will be my first year trying and I have a buddy who can't hunt (forgot to apply) but has experience and would be willing to go with me to help call. Problem is he is in Alaska the early part of May. I would assume since I didn't get drawn in the lottery that most people want to go the week I applied for. Obviously my main objective is to get out and try this. But I would also at least like to see some turkeys. Thanks for answering a novices questions. Any other insight would be greatly appreciated as well.

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jeffy,
I have hunted the last three years in the second to last season. Is it worth "even trying" to hunt during the last season? In my opinion, He** YES!! Lots of folks want to hit the early part of the season to get on undisturbed and vocal birds. "early bird gets the worm" or something like that. The birds will probably get less vocal toward the later seasons but hens will be nesting so your more likely to find lonely birds later in the morning, IMO. I have seen birds strutting in June so there still must be some breeding activity going on then. HUNT THE LAST SEASON!! Turkey hunting is a blast (no pun)!
As far as the regs go, I interpret the regs to read that unlicensed hunters (or hunters licensed for another zone or hunt period) can go with you BUT they are not allowed to do anything to assist a licensed hunter in getting a bird. They can't call, set decoys or do anything that will increase your odds of seeing a bird. They can be there to observe, and help you carry gear but that's it. Double-check with the DNR to make absotively, posilutely sure of this. I have reread this part of the regs several times and that is the way that it appears to me.
Good Luck! Late season birds, especially on public land, tend to be decoy shy and somewhat call shy. I would suggest, if you get a bird working, sounding like it's coming close, don't call any more, make the bird hunt you! Birds may come in silent, so if you think your gonna change locations, stop calling and wait for a while before moving. I had a bird shut up on me so I figured it went someplace else. It was 45 minutes between the last noise I heard (leaves crunching) from the bird and when I decided to move. I walked over the ridge and sat down on a log. Looked up and the bird was standing 20 yards away. My gun was on the ground laying on my pack. Mr. Gobbler caught me flat footed and empty-handed.

[This message has been edited by TomBow (edited 02-24-2004).]

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Thanks Tombow for letting me know about the restriction on an unlicensed person assisting. I just read that part of the regs and it looks like he wouldn't be able to call or "assist."

Marmot- [no personal attacks Jeff] You were probably just trying to alert me to the rule and I appreciate that.

I am definitely going to go I just wanted to see what kind of luck people have in general later in the season. I guess my buddy will just have to videotape.

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 02-25-2004).]

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Yep, A person can go with but can't assist in any way. And yes it would definitely be worth it to go late. I was trout fishing last year in the middle of May, during the last season and heard a Turkey gobbling all moring long in a field across the way from me. They are still active at that time. Especially if you can hunt private land without a lot of hunting pressure.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Last spring the last season was tough. But the spring before it was one of the best seasons we had every hunted. A lot depends on how early/late the spring is as well as the weather.

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Jeffy:

I SECOND Tombow's and SCCO's motion to hunt the last season. I think the early season turkey hunting myth is often perpetuated, but has only a little merit. The nice part about earlier seasons is that the toms tend to be wound up earlier than the hens, so you face less toms with a harem. On the flip side, there can be snow on the ground, and you're chances for getting a permit are dramatically reduced (about once every 2-4 years depending on where you hunt).

Gobbling activity peaks around the 3rd/4th weeks of april, then peaks again around early May, but that doesn't mean toms aren't looking for hens all year. I think the key is hunting private land that has seen little to no pressure. There will be more birds (less have been shot or run out), and they will be just as dumb as the early season birds on other properties.

Scout your area by vehicle first around 7AM-9AM, awhile after the birds have flown down. Find where they're strutting and/or moving off to feed, water, dust, and breed for the rest of the day if you can buy the time. Then look to topo maps or aerial photos (local knowledge of the land will work as well), to find ridges or elevated areas with good roost trees (large hardwoods, especially oaks, and cottonwoods do nicely). If you can find where they roost, and then move off to strut (many times they fly down and strut for hours in the same area/field), you'll know how and where to be one step ahead of them.

I like to have at least 2-3 groups of turkeys and their toms patterned like that before I even think about heading out....at least for the way I like to hunt turkeys. That way, when one is beating me up, I can move on to a fresh bird. Also, it matters not where they are when they're grouped up in early mid april.....what matters is where they're at the days and hours before your very season. Landowners will tell you they've seen them out in such and such a field all winter; but chances are that the birds have scattered and may or may not be using the same area. For work, I take off the 2 days before my season, and the first 3 days of my season. If I scout hard the weeks, and 2 days before the season, I can usually do well in the 1st 3 days of the actual hunting. If I need the extra 2 days of the season to hunt, I take my chances with work and the wife!

If you can find where they roost, you'll at least be in the game, you WILL hear them gobble, and you WILL get excited! Do what you have to to "stay in the game" and be near birds. It will keep you more attentive, and more interested.

Sorry for the long winded post, got a bit too excited there! How many more weeks till turkey season?

Joel

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Thanks for the reassurance and advice fellas.

I have one more question regarding trying to get a left over license. How early do I need to get in line on the 15th? I heard the licenses sell out pretty quick. I want to go real bad now.

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I've heard most places are a zoo and of people waiting a couple of hours in advance at some of the popular locations. I would ask around and find a place that isn't so popular.Last time I tired,I was second in line 10 minutes before.

One tip I would have is to go practice calling some turkeys.Head to a state/county park or a similar place that does not allow hunting.

Every spring I take my video camera out with me and experiment with new calls and calling techniques.I still use a diaphram call 90% of the time,but I have built up some confidence with a box call during these spring experiments.

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It's worth it. I've hunted the last season for the last 4 years and am going the second to the last this year. I'm 3 for 4 on the last season, I'm no pro, so it's not fruitless.

I may be a bit lucky, but claim a high level of patience due to years of archery hunting.

I agree with the call and decoy shy statement. You never want to overcall, but even more so during the late season. Last year, I had 10 birds in the field when 3 finally approached my deeks. Took a jake as the 2 Tom's were content with their group of hens.

That's really the thing on the last season. Fields are tough to hunt. The Toms are onto the hunt, so they tend to locate the hens before they exit the woods. Once they walk out with the hens you can give them the most desperate clucks, purrs, and cuts and they generally don't budge.

I don't really recommend runnin' and gunnin' on the last season. I still hunt like I'm hunting deer. Find a place where I know there are birds and hope I can get within range of one. Putting them to bed every night is a must. You have to be close to where they'll exit the field in the morning.

Best of luck.
Buck

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Jeffy - I think you should back off on the name calling. I clearly pointed out something you were not aware of (so yes, this was adding something constructive) as it appeared you and your buddy were hot to trot if you obtained a spring turkey license.

No hard feelings, but I don't think your jab at me is appropriate. I possibly saved you from writing a check to the game warden this spring. I think a thank you response would have been more appropriate instead of suggesting I am a dink.

Marmot

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Jeffy - I do not understand your hang up with my first post. You asked for turkey information, I offered turkey information.

I am going to abstain from further conversation on this topic as I do not wish to participate in this immaturity.

With that said, I am suggesting one last item. Please review the posting guidelines you agreed to before posting. Have you followed rule #1? I know I have followed rule #1, in spite of your comments.

Marmot

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Guys:

I talked with Gary Nelson last year, a turkey biologist from the DNR on some other information and got a better explanation of that rule. Assist can mean carrying your buddy's dekes, calling for him, and even scouting for him. It's a tough law to enforce, but it's there for a reason.

Let's stick to info. exchange, and keep it cordial. Keep in mind the forum rules on personal attacks. Thanks both for your posts on turkey info.

Jeffy, I really look forward to hearing how your 1st turkey season goes. Stay away from hometown hardware stores for the permit, where it's the only place for miles that you can get a permit. People like to put their name in the hat days before the drawing! Oh, and for the hunt, keep a journal....I find it's easier to keep my lies straight that way!

Marmot, good luck on your hunt this year if you drew a permit. I will be in line on March 15th, so I'm still on the bubble. Maybe someplace close outstate will have to happen if I don't get one on the 15th.

Joel

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Best of Luck to all ya'll Gobbler-heads!!

Someplace along the line last year, I heard that the "no assist" rule was initiated to eliminate the possibility of people becoming "Professional Turkey Guides" and selling guiding services for turkeys. I think the theory with that was that if guides start popping up, they may start tying up land by getting to the landowners before us "amateur" hunters get there. Not sure where I heard that but it sounded like it might be true.
But the down side is you can't take a non-hunter out and give them the chance to call up a bird. Of course, you can always go to some place that won't allow turkey hunting and call up a bird, which could be just as fun!

ANYWAY, Hope your birds are heavy, their beards are long, their spurs are curved and they come in and "smile purdy fer the camera!"

see ya!

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Anyone know what time the licenses go on sale on the 15th, I have a couple mornig classes and would like to miss as little of class as possible. Also, can you find out what areas have permit remaining? I figure I'll give it a shot, otherwise I'll be holding a video camera smile.gif

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Thanks Marmot, that's all the info I needed. Now...there are plenty of permits available in my zone, just gotta see if I can get lucky and then find a partner. smile.gif

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