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Wisconsin Bird


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Fellow friend and Pro-staffer Dietz Dittrich and I headed across the border for a WI turkey hunt this past weekend with mixed results. We ended up taking one turkey for our two tags, and had more fun turkey hunting than I've had in years. It was Deitz's first hunt, and I had a blast showing him what I could, and more than anything, just leaning up against a tree swapping stories during some down-times.

The birds were not just tough, they were in a downright negative mood-swing. Gobbling on the roost was only heard 2 of the 5 mornings (of course the two that Deitz couldn't hunt), and even then it was sparse at best. We had birds located, and knew a few general patterns and roost locations from a weekend of scouting, but beyond that, we were sort of thrown into the fire as this would be our first time hunting these properties.

On the second day of the hunt, I had a gobbler (possibly a jake) perform some of the weirdest and ugliest sounds known to turkeys and man. I worked him to within 100 yards, and he got frustrated in not being able to see/find me in the very open woods. Then, he started to cluck, then cluck, cluck, yelp, yelp, -obbbbbbble. I've heard many gobbler clucks, even a gobbler yelp or two, but certainly never those strung together and then into a trailing half-gobble. I clucked twice, and yelped 3 notes after a minute or two of not showing. I never saw the bird or heard from him again.

The last few days of the hunt were more frustrating than the first couple, as little to no gobbling at all was being heard. On the one or two occassions where we could elicit a gobble, these birds were in loafing/staging areas, quite content with offering a "check" or "courtesy" gobble without moving closer.

Deitz also shortened his lifespan a few years due to the nervousness and tension caused by a hen that flew down near us. We thought it was a gobbler initially, and eventually we'd see this loudmouth old hen at about 7 yards from my boot. I knew we had some toms roosted towards the way she was heading, so I called her back over by initially imitating her calling, then stepping on it. She didn't like this, and came looking for us. Worried that the gobblers would come, and then walk away with her out of range, I took the opportunity to shoo her away when she moved in back of us. It's been my experience that a simple wave of the hand causes alarm putting that shuts down the entire woods. Instead, I chose the slightly more agressive aproach of trying to tackle her. She flew up into a tree...cackling, but not alarm putting. This wasn't good either....another run at her, she tried to lift off the branch and the whole thing came crashing to the ground as she flew off in the opposite direction. Mission accomplished? Sort of. At least she didn't alarm putt, though the limb-breaking and falling was a bit much. In the end, we got to work the gobblers of interest, and she didn't spook them like we were concerned.

The bird we took came late afternoon at a nice looking hillside bench I thought to be a staging area before roosting. There were some good looking roost trees a ways behind us, though we had no idea if birds actually roosted here. After a hen moved 15 yards to our right, Deitz heard something from below us and to the right. He spotted the birds first as well, working our way towards the bench.

After hearing "Beard, Beard!" "Turkey, Turkey!" I slowly moved my head right. Now to move my gun in the same direction. At this point, the birds were about 45 yards out and working in front of us right to left. The woods was thick, and I had an opening, so I chose to move right to meet them, rather than risk them spooking before they got right in front of me.

I think the further bird heard something and paused, while the lead-bird stopped right behind a tree, with only a portion of his noggin' showing. Two clucks made his neck creep forward, which was all the signal I needed to take the 31 yard shot.

After the bird fell on his face, we congratulated one another on a hunt well-completed. It sure is great when it all comes together.

I can't say enough about my hunting partner, as in making the shot, I had to lean right, up against his leg. To make sure I had a steady shot, he was holding his breath so as not to "push" my aim one way or the other. Great thinking.

Even though there were two gobblers, we didn't have Deitz's gun with us, as we were waiting on some camo tape to mask the shiny BPS we had patterned. I don't think it would've mattered, as these birds were separated by 10 yards, and masked by countless trees. The ol' 1-2-3 would've been hard under these circumstances, and the other bird flushed after the shot.

I learned alot; about WI turkeys, ticks/mosquitos, and even a bit of bass-fishing.


Weight - 17lbs. 4oz

Spurs - 15/16"

Beard - 9 1/8"

Score 54.25



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Congrats on the bird Joel and more importantly on both of you having a great time in the spring turkey woods. And don't feel bad about not getting DD his bird, it would take one heck of a guide to fill that dude's tag! grin.gifwink.gif

My aunt's husband also had this past season and likewise had tough hunting Wed-Fri although early Sat morning he called in and killed a dandy 25lb with some serious hooks.

I'm heading out Wed for my second season and hope things improve. On the positive side I'm hunting my old stomping grounds which I know very well and there at least 2 toms spending time there - saw toms both Sat and Sun while food plotting and tree planting. I issued the warning from my truck Sat that if they stick around til Wed they're in deep trouble! shocked.gif

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Nice bird, that is very close to the weight, spurs, and beard length of the 2 year old birds I have shot north of of the Twin Cities.

I was hunting on the MN side of the river - somewhere west of you two.

5:30AM? seems a little late guys... ooo.gif

Ticks - oh my GOD!. My clothing was sprayed with pyrethrins and permanone - still had ticks on my clothes, on me, in my truck, in the house, on my dogs.... 99% were regular wood ticks. Deer tick population was not has high as prior years in this area....

I can tell you - the weather was fantastic over the past 5 days of MN Season E - best I can remember, BUT

I too heard minimal gobbling on the roost most mornings. It was inconsistent at best. The birds were not roosting in the same spots - or - different birds were sounding off on different mornings. Not sure if this was due to Season E going later in May than past years, the warmer April, both - or turkeys being turkeys.

Lots of single hens "bumped" between 10AM and noon. I searched each flush zone but no nest found. Most hens on the nest?

Could have shot three different jakes as I slowly run & gunned the woods. All three were withing 15 yards.

Best gobbling morning was Thursday morning with three gobblers talk'n within 200 yards. The first one worked to about 75 yards, but eventually walked away - gobbling the whole time. Two others were going crazy on the other side of the creek and up the hill. I crossed the creek and set up calling on top of the hill. Well the birds had moved down the valley -

SAME pattern as I had shot a 3+ year old bird last year. I headed down to the "bottom" trail - this would be too easy, right?

Got into position hit the call - AND GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE one Tom was evidently standing right where I was calling from on the hillside just 20 minutes before. AAGGHH! ooo.gif

Knowing there were two Toms - I waited for the other to show up on my trail - he did not. I decided to move on and not over pressure these birds.

Next morning only one of the three birds was talking. I set up closer to that 1st gobbler's path. He did his thing until 6:30. Then he started to come to my calling and come quickly. I stopped calling and thought - come and find me big boy. It seemed too easy, his big white head popped over the crest of the hill at 40 yards. Heavy bird, nice beard. He was fanned out spitt'n and drumming. Really thick aspen thicket and I did not have a clean shot. Well the woods opened up in another 5 - 10 yards and he was slowly strutting and walking that way!!!

All of a sudden a hen walks up to him and takes him to my right back through the thick stuff. He gobbles at my calls, but he has been taken... First I try to call in the hen - but this one has no interest in a cat fight. I them decide to cut them off at the pass. I circle around and come up to the side of the hill where I think they will show. BUT I bump a bird (jake, hen, not sure - no beard). It flies up in a tree at about 45 yards. Putting and the like - finally flies off. My henned up gobbler goes quite. Hang out for awhile ... nothing. I have the pattern - Saturday morning this gobbler is either somewhere else or gone quiet. I wait him out, but he is a no show.

Much fewer gobblers in this area than the passed 3 years - based on gobbling anyway... I almost always have two or three gobbler zones to switch around on - minimize pressure on any one bird, keeps the morning going..

Joel - I too thought that mid-morning would be the ticket, but not this spring.

First time I hunted all five days that hard. Grueling but fun. Have a WI Zone 38 tag for this week, but my youngest son really wants to go on a fishing trip - in the long run I am better off getting him excited on fishing ...

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5:30AM? seems a little late guys...

5:30 is about when gobbling/flydown happened, as you well know.....though trust me....we were out there, many times up against a tree or in a listening position by 4:45 or 5AM.

I had 41 ticks on me the end of the first day. Deitz taped his pantlegs, and I tucked them into my boots. Also, I tucked in my shirt, and that made them crawl all the way up to my head neck, increasing the chance they'd get brushed off by foliage as we made our way thru the woods. After taking these precautions, the tick-count went way down.

There's only been a few hunts I've been on, MN, WI, or anywhere, where the birds have been that uncooperative. Lack of gobbling is one thing, but eventually, all of us will encounter that from time to time. It was truly the lack of willingness by any bird to even step in your direction, silent or otherwise. Usually you can count on dragging over a few jakes or subordinate birds quietly, but that just didn't happen for us.

Anyway, sorry to hear you didn't take one, but it sounds like you had a few close calls and about the same success as we did.


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I does not bother me at all not too take a bird. Had multiple opps to shoot a jake, but wanted a a gobbler - last years brute set my expectations too high.

Do not plan to go two years in a row though so a jake that close at the end of the week next year may not be so lucky.

I hunted this same area two morning during Season A with my son. We had the one bird that I could have easily shot - but he had the gun and was facing towards the original working gobbler ..

overall the gobbling then was not what I had expected either. Maybe that is our luck this year Season A a little to early after the cold spell. Season E a little too late.

or maybe the birds were down a little. Saw many jakes last year so????

At least I did not have to hunt the two days of 40 - 60 mph winds that season D had...

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congrats on the well earned gobbler. Sounds like you and Deitz had a great time.

Deitz told me he only hunts with a bow. What is this talk about his BPS and camo tape??? grin.gifgrin.gif

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The ole BPS was from my trap shooting days and some duck hunting... it seriously had not been shot in about 12 years... LOL... I dont think I will get my first turkey with a bow..

The hunt was a blast.. having that hen up in my mug for 30 mins was the best. .man was she loud and p'ed off! Joel really fired her up!!!

I am not dissapointed in the slightes either for not taking a bird.. I learned so much this weekend.. Way too valuable to even put an amount on!

Thanks Joel.. It was a hoot!--- or a gobble... whatever~

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Great story fellas, but Deitz couldn't you have pleaded with Joel for the shot..........? You were the newby. I reckon that those senkos will get expensive when you get him out on the lake! wink.gif


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LOL @ WD- You know it baby!.

To be honest.. I am a guy who learns from watching.. and I much prefered that Joel take the shot.. serious, I watched his ever move.. and I did see the birds first, so I felt I contributed to the hunt.. i am calling that bird 1/2 mine.. and to Joel niceness its in my freezer...

But you can bet the next time we are on the water.. I am going to totally front boat him! blush.gifwink.gif

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Deitz, It's all about the hunt and what you learn each time your out. AS long as you are having fun and enjoying nature, to harvest a gobbler is just a bonus.

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I hear you clucking hunt!... Usually this time of the year I am getting ready for the bass opener! Fishing on the mind.. This last weekend was all about spending time with a friend.. and my parents(who were at the cabin we were staying at)... and just plain spending time the the woods!..

Really, it was the most fun I have had not harvesting anything in a long time!

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Deitz, Lets hook up at Appdoorns SunSet Bay Resort in June and you can teach me how to fish bass. I hear the big pond is full of them and they are very tasty. laugh.giflaugh.gif

Bring your BPS and we will head over to Royal Flush for a round of clays.

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Dude, your on.. as long as I get to lip all the fish and drop them back into the lake on "accident". Sounds like a blast.. and as you know.. the boys at Appledorns will take care of us. Ill get us on fish.. you get us on them clay birds!

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Good job DD and Joel...

only question I have Dietz is this... will 'hunt' clean the clay birds and let you keep them in your freezer too? grin.gif hehehe

My 'tick fest' starts Wednesday... did a hundred yard walk to get a blind put together the other day and came out with a half dozen ticks... not bad for 10 minutes... now multiply that by a couple hours... frown.gif

Good Luck!


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That was a good one Labs. laugh.giflaugh.gif

It reminds me of a lifelong hunting buddy of mine that can shoot the heck out of the clays but he could not hit a rooster. So being the smart*** that I am I glued some wings and tail feathers to a couple clays and gave them to him. It worked, he can hit the roosters now.

I think the clay birds are still hanging on his wall. LOL grin.gif

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Glad you had a good time Joel and Dietz. Great looking bird there Joel!!

You know Dietz, if Joel had given you the chance to shoot at that ole tom and you missed, you would have had a long trip back home grin.gif

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Way to go guys!!!

Sounds like a tough but rewarding hunt.

So you going again next year Deitz?

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Borchie- probably not again in the Grantsburg area of WI... I may try to apply in MN next year. It was fun, but Joel told me it was anything but typical turkey hunting.. So I will give it another chance.

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