First Year Turkey Hunting

MTelkHuntress

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Messages
43
Location
Missoula, MT
This year was my very first year turkey hunting.....I definitely underestimated the birds. I decided to spot and stalk with my bow and I got very lucky to find some public land with a good amount of turkeys. I started the season late April, and I didnt really know what I was doing. I've hunted my whole life so I figured how hard can turkey hunting be? Yeah I was wrong on that one. I very quickly realized how great their eyesight is. First day, I hiked up a trail with my dad. I kept clucking once in a while and unexpectedly, got a gobble back. 4 big toms were running up the trail right to us. They saw my dad and quickly ran away. We never saw them again but I thought it was pretty awesome to find toms our very first day. The next weekend I found another tom, sneaking within 40 yards of him. There was too much brush between us and I decided not to shoot. He flew away and that was that. The next couple weeks, we found toms but never really got a shot. I didnt expect to find toms every weekend that we went out. But then....the luck ran out. Now these past 2 weeks, all we see is hens pretty consistently, but no toms. I'm assuming the toms have spread out more and just dont gobble but I really have no idea.
Does anyone know what happens to late season toms?
Turkey hunting was way more fun than I thought it would be and I have definitely learned a lot more about them. I know what tactics I will change for next spring and
hopefully it works out. 106493
 

Quackillr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
688
Location
MT
Yea they typically get quieter late season. Chances of calling one in go down but you can still challenge or ambush them. Hens disperse and toms can be found roaming in places you don’t normally see them. Turkey hunting is highly addictive. Pretty sure my adrenaline goes up more calling in a couple gobblers over a bull elk. Best of luck next season.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
3,902
Location
Wichita
I have found that archery turkey is exponentially more difficult than shotgun hunting. Birds that would have been tagged and riding out on my sling walk away unscathed if I have my bow with me. Just can't shoot through brush and be sure of a lethal hit, and throwing 400+ pellets versus on arrow is a huge difference.

It is wonderful that you got to see and hear lots of turkeys. As Hem relates, it can become a big passion to chase and bag turkeys. Welcome to the addiction
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
609
Location
Iowa
Glad you had some fun turkey hunting for the first time

I've read that turkeys see seven times better than humans. I really have no concept for that... All I know is that I have been busted at 300 yards many times.

The archery hunters I know who chase them will use a blind, a ghillie suit and well hid by brush/grass, or during fall season from treestands while hunting whitetails. The key is being able to draw back when their head is completely obstructed, such as behind a tree/rock, at ground level (feeding), or in full strut facing away.

Run and "gun", i.e. calling on the move for an archery hunt is really, really hard.

Mid season when the hens spend some time on the nest can be a great time to chase toms as they are moving around a lot looking for an eligible female. Late season there is still some of this going on, but toms become more likely to come in quiet to calls, and often do not gobble from the roost. I don't know about other states, but in IA the last couple weeks of May the birds are entering post-breeding routines, where it becomes about security and feeding. If there was still a season open here my strategy would be to ambush their routes.
 

Rzrbck918

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
819
Location
Bixby Oklahoma
This year was my very first year turkey hunting.....I definitely underestimated the birds. I decided to spot and stalk with my bow and I got very lucky to find some public land with a good amount of turkeys. I started the season late April, and I didnt really know what I was doing. I've hunted my whole life so I figured how hard can turkey hunting be? Yeah I was wrong on that one. I very quickly realized how great their eyesight is. First day, I hiked up a trail with my dad. I kept clucking once in a while and unexpectedly, got a gobble back. 4 big toms were running up the trail right to us. They saw my dad and quickly ran away. We never saw them again but I thought it was pretty awesome to find toms our very first day. The next weekend I found another tom, sneaking within 40 yards of him. There was too much brush between us and I decided not to shoot. He flew away and that was that. The next couple weeks, we found toms but never really got a shot. I didnt expect to find toms every weekend that we went out. But then....the luck ran out. Now these past 2 weeks, all we see is hens pretty consistently, but no toms. I'm assuming the toms have spread out more and just dont gobble but I really have no idea.
Does anyone know what happens to late season toms?
Turkey hunting was way more fun than I thought it would be and I have definitely learned a lot more about them. I know what tactics I will change for next spring and
hopefully it works out. View attachment 106493
Bow hunting open country is really difficult. I've killed dozens of turkeys but less than 10 with my bow in spring season. Being on the ground and getting close is one thing but finding a time to draw without flaring them is difficult. Blinds make a lot of difference but chasing them makes blinds inconvenient. Some portable blinds might work for you but you need to have a couple minutes to get set up before they come into view.

Late season turkeys are often unpredictable and call shy. Most of them approach silently in my experience. Toms by late season have split from hens and are loners for a few weeks until they group back up. Ambush style hunting on known food sources can be effective.
 

Long Walker

New member
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
7
Turkeys are great spring fun and beautiful birds. Try a bow mounted decoy, if you can safely use it (other hunters🤔), what a rush!
 
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