Turkey Behavior Question (Eastern)

Guy5858

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Nov 26, 2018
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New to turkey hunting and was for an east coast opening weekend. We had some birds come into the decoys but they were silent from the roost to our decoys (or we did not hear them). Later while walking around mid-morning, we had three birds answer yelp calls but every bird was a single gobble and then never responded or showed up to our subsequent calls. In these situations, when we heard a gobble, we would judge how it was, move a little then setup on a tree and call every 10 mins or show. We would wait 30ish minutes without hearing a gobble before moving off.

My question is...

-could it be that birds were just quieter this weekend?
-Is it possible we were getting an initial response to our yelp call as a shock gobble and they actually did not like what they were hearing from us and therefore didn't gobble again?
-How long do you wait after hearing a gobble before moving on?
 

slatebuilder

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Jan 27, 2018
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51
1. Yes sometimes they are quieter, for lots of reasons.
2. Anything is possible, but I’d bet a basket of turkey nuggets that the gobble was an invite to join him and his ladies.
3. Sometimes an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on my mood and the location.
 

Mtolliver

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Jun 19, 2018
Messages
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Had the same type of thing happen to me in Kentucky a couple years ago, in my situation it turned out that the Toms were with the hens all day even going to the nest with them. It kept on tell about a week and half later and they started breaking off from the hens mid day.
 

WildWill

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SE Oklahoma
Had the same type of thing happen to me in Kentucky a couple years ago, in my situation it turned out that the Toms were with the hens all day even going to the nest with them. It kept on tell about a week and half later and they started breaking off from the hens mid day.
This is good advice what people call "hen'd up" much harder to get them interested in your setup when they have the real thing sitting in their lap. Also pressure can lead birds to be quite especially on public land.
 

Rzrbck918

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Aug 13, 2016
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Bixby Oklahoma
I think everything above is right. They were likely with hens. However, I saw three groups of gobblers this weekend together; late for that in my opinion. My only addition to this discussion is if I generally try to get within a couple hundred yards of the birds and closer if geography allows it, therefore, I rarely wait more than 30-45 minutes after last contact and I don't wait at all if they are headed away. Good luck and welcome to one of the most infuriating hunts around. Some years it can be the easiest thing you've ever done and some years its nearly impossible.
 

jvanhoy

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Mar 4, 2016
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VA
Hened up for sure. That’s the same way the were doing here in VA this weekend. It will get better.
 

dcopas78

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Decatur, OH
I'd agree with what has been said. They are probably with hens. Sometimes you can get a gobbler hot and get him to come in mid morning if he separates from the hens. There is a period where the hen will work back to the nest after she flies down and check things out. A lot of times they will separate from the gobblers and the gobblers will "stage" and strut in an area familiar to them. Sometimes they gobble, sometimes they don't. I've had luck finding these strutting areas and just sitting quietly, well-hidden, and waiting for them to come in to strut. As far as when to move in on one, that kinda comes along with both personal preference and experience. I typically don't wait a long time to move if I have an idea of where he may be going. I usually try to get ahead of the birds. It's a lot easier to get him to come in if you are already in the direction he wants to go. Turkeys will follow a pattern unless something breaks that pattern...either spooked birds or sometimes weather conditions. Windy days typically have them down low in the valleys roosting for me around here. Good luck, hope you bag a big one!
 

MT Bound

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Nov 20, 2014
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MT
1. yes
2. possible, but most likely they were sitting with hens
3. depends on situation, but 30 min. is a good rule of thumb

You could go back in a couple days or week or two later and call one up on a string and he'll be running in if he's lonely, depends on the day with gobblers. Persistence and patience will get you one more than any other skills.
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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115
Location
Iowa
Q. Why did you not kill the turkeys that came into your decoys?

That aside, when I am on the move I will more often avoid calling, and instead try to see or hear a tom before he is aware of my presence, then make a plan to try and kill him, whether this is to set up and call, stalk, or intercept, depending on the situation. I consider walking and calling to be harder because the birds are more likely to focus their attention in my direction. I prefer the stealth advantage.

If I do call when I am on the move and get a gobble back, I try to think of things for the tom's perspective, which I guess to be "here I am, come on over to me." I survey the terrain, then move as close to where I think he is as I dare. If I think I got close enough to him for him to hear clucks, I will set up and try to lure him in with just clucks. If I can't get that close, I'll set up, and yelp. Even if the woods are silent, I do not assume he (or another tom I don't know about) is not coming in. The tom I killed this year was silent once I began calling back to his gobble. I personally think 30 mins is a bit soon to give up. Even if most toms are henned up, it doesn't mean they all are. I have had many times where I have waited 30-60 minutes, got up to leave and the tom immediately busted me.

The exception to this is if I yelp and the tom who gobbles back is henned up, or I think he is henned up, I won't call again. I will either loop around and try to sneak in from a different direction, or else try to head him off and intercept where he is moving to.
 

blueridge

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Jan 10, 2019
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Blue Ridge Mtns, VA
I have had many times where I have waited 30-60 minutes, got up to leave and the tom immediately busted me.
Unfortunately, this. ^

I spent a couple days last week hunting the home place in NC, and they were henned up pretty good. Only a couple soft gobbles (had to be within 150 yards to even hear it) and then nothing. Wouldn't respond to anything after that, even late morning when I expected the toms to break off.

The only thing I called in was two coyotes. Neither wasted any time coming to the call. In addition to being henned up, I'm wondering if that could contribute to the turkeys tending to be more quiet. ??
 
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