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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Decided to take up Turkey Hunting this year and need to know when the best time to hunt is.

You darn near need a Harvard lawyer to read the book though.

Anyhow, is it better to hunt the end of April or the whole month of May? I can buy a OTC permit for private land for the month of May, or apply for April 23-May 6 hunting.

This would be for the thumb area.

Any help would be appreciated. :div20:
 

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I've had good luck the end of April, alot depends on the weather, thats in the northeast lower
Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Brad, but I am Turley Hunting dumb. Plain & Simple.

I do keep seeing 45-50 each time I deer hunt where I have been going this year, so I decided "Why not got out in the woods in the spring too?" Also will allow for some pre-season scouting.

Is there a mating season that makes the Toms more vulnerable to calls & stuff that makes certain weeks better hunting than others?
 

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Ron, Toms will start soming to hen calls as soon as the snow leaves but it really starts to heat up late April early May, I've never hunted past the 1st week in May so I can't really say past then, I know guy's that hunt the late seasons and still get birds, I like the early season because there are less leaves and you can see better, if you are gonna hunt private land start scouting early and make sure the birds are there, as they tend to move around quite a bit, if you don't have a big chunk of property to hunt then try and get permission to hunt of the property around the piece you are hunting. I seen a flock of 10 cross the road on my way to Brooklyn this afternoon. Ideally you need about a square mile to hunt, when you start scouting take an owl hoot or a crow call with you and go early in the morning, find out where they are roosting as they will often roost in the same places but not always, don't use a hen call until you start hunting as they will get call shy and then use it sparingly. Hope this helps
Brad
 

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Ron, Toms will start soming to hen calls as soon as the snow leaves but it really starts to heat up late April early May, I've never hunted past the 1st week in May so I can't really say past then, I know guy's that hunt the late seasons and still get birds, I like the early season because there are less leaves and you can see better, if you are gonna hunt private land start scouting early and make sure the birds are there, as they tend to move around quite a bit, if you don't have a big chunk of property to hunt then try and get permission to hunt of the property around the piece you are hunting. I seen a flock of 10 cross the road on my way to Brooklyn this afternoon. Ideally you need about a square mile to hunt, when you start scouting take an owl hoot or a crow call with you and go early in the morning, find out where they are roosting as they will often roost in the same places but not always, don't use a hen call until you start hunting as they will get call shy and then use it sparingly. Hope this helps
Brad[/b]
I have only Turkey hunted once. I don't know to much eather. But what is OWL HOOT for & do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Brad, I have 40 acrs to hunt on with possibly a little additonal on the adjoining 160 acre dairy farm.

As for the SOBs roosting, that's where my idea to hunt them came from. Last weekend of M/L season I counted 45 of those things surrounding my blind (ground pop up style). So when the deer finally were coming by at 4:30pm I couldn't do much. And then at dusk they all started launching up into the trees one at a time single file.

Not the smartest are they? Trying to sit on branches the size of a pencil :smilielol:

Then I came out of my blind at dark at the poop hit the fan. It was hilarious, birds everywhere. Some of those Toms had beards they were almost walking on. I've seen a lot of turkeys at our place near Interlochen, but nothing the size of these birds, both in body & beard.
 

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I have only Turkey hunted once. I don't know to much eather. But what is OWL HOOT for & do?[/b]
A Owl Hoot is a call that sounds like an owl, blow on an owl call early in the morning and it will startle the roosting turkey's and the Tom's will gobble giving up their location, a crow call will do the same as will a car door slamming basically anything that will startle them. Using an Owl hoot is a natural sound and won't scare the turkey's away. I'm not by any means an expert but I have gotten a few.
Brad
 

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Keep in mind that feeding and social habits are far different in the spring than in the fall. What you see now may be nonnexistent or far better after the snow melts and breeding begins. If you have decent private land to hunt with minimal pressure, i would go for the longer, more flexible season. I hunt public land and tend to try for the earlier seasons, as hunting pressure can quickly kill the hunting. As mentioned above, weather has a huge affect on the birds, and a week long season can be ruined in a hurry. May hunting is just as good as late april if the birds aren't disturbed. sometimes, the toms can respond better, as many hens are already on nests, and the gobblers are desperate for a little more lovin'.
I prefer a crow call, though i do hear gobbling to actual owl hoots too. they will gobble at just about every loud noise. several times i have had real crows respond to my crow call, which gets the gobbling going without any more effort on my part.
I would recommend scouting late mornings in early arpil with a crow call. find where you get the best responses and then keep an ear on them without getting too close. the week before your hunt (and especially the night before if possible) find where they roost and set up on them in the dark the morning of your opener.
turkeys aren't dumb and learn from only one run in with a threat of predation. they have the vision of a hawk (see in color too) but cannot smell and seem to ignore, of not respond to noise with curiosity.
if you aren't getting the gobbler in close enough try a tom or jake decoy with a hen. that will piss them off, and i have gotten excellent footage of them attacking decoys before hitting the dirt!

for a little more challenge go after them with archery equipment!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks a bunch Snobooger, you answered all my questions and my gut instincts were pretty close. I will just buy the OTC whole month of May permit. Who knows, maybe I can get one on my birthday.

As for archery. Thinking about it. Heck, those PIA deer hunting ruining birds were so close 2 weeks ago I cold have grabbed one by the neck. I'm not kidding...about 4ft from my blind. I understand spring will be different, and you probably can't find them when hunthing them, but I always seem to have this knack for finding the game I am after :dunno:

As for hunting pressure? I think in the area I go, the locals shoot so many deer in & out of season that they don't fool with turkeys much.

One thing I noticed with lower Michigan deer vs. "up north" is how the deer interact with the birds. Near Interlochen, the deer leave when the birds come, or get far away.

Up in the thumb, I had 6 deer IN THE MIDDLE OF 24 FREAKIN' TURKEYS! Never saw anything like it. Looked like a Disney cartoon with the deer walking amongst the birds. That was just too many eyeballs to close for me to try and take a shot at a deer :banghead:
 

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Find out where they are roasting and jump them coming out of the roost or when they are going up in the evening. In areas with a lot of food, travel patterns can vary day to day. I have had great luck with a slate call in the morning clucking and purring. Time of the season is not as important in Jackson where I hunt, they are everywhere, doing everything. I notice ours are coming down at daylight and normally go to roost about an hour before sunset. We have two flocks between 40-60 birds total. Damn varmints are what they are. The state released them about 10 years ago where the Sandstone and Grand river meet, and a large group moved down and took up residence. They tend to roost in the pines or in hardwoods right on the perimeter of the pines within 30 yards of water. The two flocks crossed 15 yards in front of my dog house during gun season and they fought for 1.5 hrs. The funny thing is the toms didn't care, the hens were the ones all riled up.

First one I ever shot has a 12 inch beard and 2 inch spurs, and I took him only after sitting down for 5 minutes. Kind of like hitting a 16 pointer your first time out. I thought "man, this is easy". Even after having them in my backyard so to speak they are real tough.
 

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Thanks a bunch Snobooger, you answered all my questions and my gut instincts were pretty close. I will just buy the OTC whole month of May permit. Who knows, maybe I can get one on my birthday.

As for archery. Thinking about it. Heck, those PIA deer hunting ruining birds were so close 2 weeks ago I cold have grabbed one by the neck. I'm not kidding...about 4ft from my blind. I understand spring will be different, and you probably can't find them when hunthing them, but I always seem to have this knack for finding the game I am after :dunno:

As for hunting pressure? I think in the area I go, the locals shoot so many deer in & out of season that they don't fool with turkeys much.

One thing I noticed with lower Michigan deer vs. "up north" is how the deer interact with the birds. Near Interlochen, the deer leave when the birds come, or get far away.

Up in the thumb, I had 6 deer IN THE MIDDLE OF 24 FREAKIN' TURKEYS! Never saw anything like it. Looked like a Disney cartoon with the deer walking amongst the birds. That was just too many eyeballs to close for me to try and take a shot at a deer :banghead:[/b]
I've noticed when hunting down here that the deer seem to hole up just inside the woodline if it is well before dusk. If turkeys wonder in the deer relax and march out in the open. If you spook a bird, the deer vanish too. i think deer know that the birds are a great aid in SEEING danger.
I am pretty new to actually hunting turkeys after spending years tagging along and videotaping. I prefer to use my bow for everything from squirells and rabbits to deer. Turkeys are a blast because they are so vocal and you can move alot trying to set up on them.
 

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I've only hunted turkeys for 5 yrs. always got the early hunt in April . 5 hunts 5 turkeys. Seems pretty easy to me. Fall hunts are a dif. story. can't call them in like in the spring. Find them,pattern them, then go out and get one. Mike
 

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When I started hunting them you could only hunt until 11AM, then the law changed to 5PM now its like a half hour before sunset. I wish the 11AM rule was still in place but the DNR sees $$$$ and well that talks. I like the morning hunts and have learned if you don’t have one the first 3 – 4 hours your chances drop off a great deal unless you like the ambush method, I prefer calling them in I don’t even bother hunting the afternoon or evening. Calling a bird in is a great thrill and not as easy as you may think, at least they can’t smell but they make up for it with their eyes.

I have found in the area with a lot of hunting pressure go for the early season, problem there is it’s only a week long season and opens on a Monday. Last few years I have went the OTC route and had the long late season. I have done well but it takes a little more work and patience. As far as eating them I prefer the deep fryer, a wild turkey in the oven just does not compare to a butter ball.

Another good way to locate them in the roost is the night before right at dark using a hoot call or owl call as 800-LE mentioned, a hen call will work but use it very sparingly until they fly out of the roost. I try and find two or three areas so if I screw up I have another area as a backup.

If you only have the 40A I would go for the longer season as the birds may move out and not return for a week or longer. Where I live Allendale just west of GR I did the 7 day season a few years back, I seen the birds the day before my hunt and never seen or heard another bird in the area for two weeks. My area was also small 40A
 

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24 pounder, 10 inch beard, I have it mounted in full strut.( shot on state land) Turkey hunting is a blast. I put in for first season 3 times and only got it once. Now I put in for second season (week 2) and have gotten it 3 years in a row. Go to NWTF.com and read up on it or join the club.
I take my son now, I have learned to call pretty good the last couple years and it makes a big difference, but I had a good teacher (my neighbor) I cant wait til my boy gets his first tom.
 
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