Just Call Me TurkeyGunner, or GrouseGunner, or HunGunner


New member
Feb 26, 2003
South of the Border
Since my Elk hunt won't start for a month, and deer for almost two months, I got tired of reading other people's hunting exploits (mainly just MTMiller's, damn that boy is killin' some nice chit
), so I convinced a buddy of mine to go Turkey hunting for Sunday.

We thought we knew which ranch we were headed to, but ended up not finding the "Plan A" spot. So then we tried to find a Plan B. The area we were in is a huge set of transitions, from Timber up high down to dry grass and sage in the bottoms.

Our plan was to hunt Turkey about like Mule Deer. Get on the ridges, and glass the creek bottoms along the water. This appeared to accomplish little other than getting us to drain our Nalgene bottles.

I finally dumped a Blue Grouse, out of a bunch of about 8. I passed a chance to whack 4 foot rattlesnake.
We just sort of came to a "handshake" agreeement, where he would go his way, and I would go the other way... I passed on lots of Quail, as my personal code of Ethics won't allow me to shoot them cute little buggers.

And finally, I found a bunch of Huns, and dropped one. So, by about 5pm, the score was 1 grouse, 1 Hun, and about 5 miles in 80 heat, with no shade.

My buddy told me we had 1 more hour, before having to drive home the 100 miles. So, one last try and finding the Plan A ranch, and it worked. From the house we could see two turkeys.

We came up with a plan, on how to trap the turkeys in between us, along the creek, and get them caught in the blazing guns.
Needless to say, the Turkeys dissappeared (can they swim??), and all we were able to trap was a big ol' cow. We passed on the Beef donor, and I mentioned to my buddy that as I crossed the creek, I saw 22 turkeys across the pasture, heading into the thick brush on the hill side.

So, stalk number two was set up. This time, I went to a natural funnel, where the pasture, and a trail/Chinese ditch came together, and sat myself down. And then my buddy went into the brush about 250 yards down, and started working toward me. He heard some clucking, and eventually jumped one up at about 20 yards, which he dumped with his second shot. (He doesn't read here, so he won't know that you know he missed...) At that point, all He!! broke loose, and we had Turkeys everywhere. 4 landed about 100 yards away, and ran back into the Timber/Brush. Then another flew across the pasture. And then another toward a tree in front of me. I had clucking and cutting all over the place. Finally a bird landed out in the middle of the Pasture, about 150 yards away, and just started marching toward me. The bird kept looking around, and thought about hanging up, but then kept coming. 75 yards... then 50 yards.... then at 40 it stopped, and then looked at me. I already had my gun pointed its' direction, and the safety off, so I lifted it, found the bead and the head, and with a bang, the Turkey dropped in its' tracks. Upon my shot, two more flew about 1/2 way between me and the dead bird, and two others jumped up about 7 yards away, on the ditch that I was watching. I had birds everywhere, for about a minute. Pretty fun!!!

Well, we found the first bird, and got the two birds for pictures. A long day, but a lot of fun. And my first Turkey ever!!!

When I cleaned my bird, its' crop was full of choke cherries, sage leaves, and grass.

Film is at Wal-mart, and due back on Thursday....

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 09-22-2003 21:02: Message edited by: ElkGunner ]</font>
Congrats on your first bird EG. I'm still working on getting mine. Struck out this past spring, but would like to give it another go. Doubt it will happen this fall, hopefully again in the spring.

Thats the most exciting small game read I have read in a long time. Can't wait for the pics...congrats again!!!
Way to go Gunner. Good story and congrats. I get to gloat now, but in another month when everyone else is knocking shit over I will just be wiping drool off my face and being jealous.

Looking forward to your pictures and future exploits.

I can't believe fall doesn't start until tommorrow and most of the fun huntin' is over (for me). You guys better keep me fired up.
Hey Gunner congrats ! Have you ever hunted turkey before? Maybe you should come over I can help ya out on how to call them. LOL

Cant wait to see some pics ! I am jelouse
Congrats on the birds, gunner! And glad to hear you made a deal with the serpent. Most folks shoot and ask questions later.
I was wishing I had my shotgun with me when I was scouting 'lope last weekend...I had sharpies running everywhere.

Here is the first picture, of the dead bird, and looking back to where I was sitting, in the cover at the end of the pasture. (Only one was shot there, the other one was carried down for the picture taking...)

And her is a close up. How do you judge the size of birds, prior to the shot???

Thanks for the comments. And I am guessing a legitmate Spring hunt is more fun. I have tried the Spring a couple of times, and besides struggling with access, and then not knowing how to call very well, it appears that the odds were against me.

I'd like to try the spring again, but probably need a teacher.

Anybody know what brand of Turkey that was?

Oak, where that Rattler was, I was definitely in his home. I had no business being where he was, so it just seemed fair. If he shows up in my backyard, then we will have an different ending...

Nice bird! I'm no turkey expert, but I assume it is a meriam. One of the ways I judge turkeys is by looking at the beard and the color of the head alone. I think you can also tell if a bird is mature by the tips of the wing feathers. If they are torn and teathered from dragging them on the ground, as opposed to rounded, then I believe it is an older bird, BUT don't listen to me, I've yet to kill one myself, and probably have no idea what I am talking about. I do know spring turkey hunting is much fun though. Congrats again!

I was kinda hoping for tips on size, while they are still upright!!!!
I wasn't too worried about a beard, and I don't know how close one has to be, to see it.

My guess this was a "first hatch" bird, of this year. Lots of immature feathers, but still bigger than the other one that was killed that day, and it was bigger than other ones passed on.

But there was definitely a lot of "shrinkage" when I walked up on it, and even more after I got all the feathers off.
Hey Gunner, One way to judge the size is to take a pic with you in it.. The way to tell how old a Tom is to measure the beard and spur length. A young bird would also have 4 longer tail feathers in the center of the fan. Not until the Tom reaches 1 1/2- 1 3/4 years do all the tail feathers measur equaly. But you dont measure the tail feathers of a mature tom to determine age.
Ovis, that does appear to be a Merriams turkey as you thought.
I would say it is a Merriam's by the white in the tailfeathers.

Judging the size is a attained knowledge as I have learned. The more ya hunt em the better at judging the size you get.
(Just ask my wife

You get a feel for it when ya view the beards on the toms. If ya see a tom with the beard dragging the ground I would definately kill it.
How do you judge the size of Hens???

What is the average Jake weigh? Are they bigger than the average Hen?

And then what is the range for Toms... I think I have heard of the mid-20s.

My guess is this bird was 10lbs.

And to completely show my ignorance, I assumed this bird was a Hen. Was I correct?
Well without seeing if it had a beard or spurs it is difficult to tell in the pic.

This is at the NWTF site and will help ya out more than I could about the differences.


Sizes of the turkeys varies in areas and subspecies. The NWTF site can tell ya the variants of the sub species.

The jakes and jennies are samller than a hen right now if they were spring poults (if I am thinking correctly at this late
Thanks for the story and congrats!!! I'm still waiting for you to post a pic of you with the animal smiling!!!
Thanks Nut for the information... But I don't seem to match my bird with theirs. They show these HUGE Toms, and I am sure mine is not a Huge Tom, so I still keep looking.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I'm still waiting for you to post a pic of you with the animal smiling!!! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
We took 30 minutes trying to get that damn Turkey to Smile, and I'll be dammed if I know how to get a dead turkey to smile...

Got any tips????
Moosie's evidence of sex technique seems to work as at least something in the pics is smiling!!!
Until I see one of you smiling I'm passing legislation preventing you from busting other's balls for not smiling! :p
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