Understanding the Life Cycle of a Turkey

Winter Season

As the hot days of summer recede into the seasons of fall and winter, gobblers and hens form units that travel and live together through the cold weather.

They spend almost their whole day looking for and eating whatever food they can find.

During Winter, Turkeys Band Together for Safety and to Find Enough for their Group to Survive.

As Spring Arrives

But as the longer days arrive, gobblers separate, jakes leave the hens and hens start dreaming of new poults.

The increased sunlight of spring brings on the turkey’s mating ritual.

Toms Fight for Their Place in the Pecking Order 

Over time, the gobblers set up a pecking order within their group. The dominant bird does the most breeding.  The other toms scurry to find receptive females and breed — while the dominant turkey is busy with his hens.

Wildlife departments schedule spring hunting season during the time that turkeys breed.  Fortunately, this happens to be the one time all year that turkey toms are distracted.

Hens Create Their Nests

Weeks before mating starts, hens start looking for a safe nesting place (usually on the ground). She prepares her nest and starts to roost nearby.

It takes the hens 10 to 15 days to lay the clutch (group) of eggs. She feeds before and after laying.

If, while she is feeding, the nest is attacked and destroyed, she will breed again, after creating a new nest in another site.

It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.

Young Turks (Poults)

Although the poult can fly at the end of the first week of life, the hatchling spends all his time making noise & eating. Mom supplies the warmth, security and food.

Between Day 14 and 20, the poult is able to move to the tree roost with his/her mom.

The constant stream of  chatter is actually school-time for the youngsters. By the time they can roost in trees, they understand the various turkey calls.

They have also started to find their place in the family’s pecking order. The pecking order can change over time.

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Tomorrow: The Rest of the Story!

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‘Thinkin’ Spring’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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Don’t miss Sunday’s Centerfold Pictures!

4 legged animals in various stages of undress! 😉

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

 

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Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 am  Comments Off on Understanding the Life Cycle of a Turkey  
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There’s Little You Can be Sure of While Hunting Turkey

Here are some items that may help you be more successful while hunting turkeys.  Before I get to them, however, I need to mention an important fact ….

As the mating season progresses, the gobbler's calls get more strident and insistent – as more hens leave for their nests and the incubation period (26 to 28 days).

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Nothing is 100% True (All the Time) With Turkey Hunting

These wily birds stay alive by using their wits.  When you are in a life-or-death match with a turkey, my money is on the gobbler!

He’s lasted as long as he has because he learns and adapts to new situations better than humans do.  After all, his life is on the line each time he meets a hunter!

Understanding Turkey Behavior

Well, it is getting hot out in the field.  The tom is full (for now), and he wants to go back into the woods to rest.

Where do you think he will choose to enter the woods?  Look for a spot that offers a clear line-of-sight for 50 to 100 yards.

A gobbler isn’t stupid.  He will not enter the woods where there is a thick cover; and he cannot keep an eye out for those pesky 2 and 4 legged predators.

Convincing a Gobbler to Go Against His Best Interests

Folks, it isn’t going to happen.  Trying to call a gobbler to you when he’s just entered a field for feeding — is against his best interest.

It will be a waste of breath to call him. He’s hungry and he’ll stay put until he’s eaten.  It’s a better plan to call him after he’s full and looking for a new place to rest or loaf.

When a tom is surrounded by his hen harem, he’s not going to leave them to search for a single hen that is calling him.  Why should he disappoint all his girl friends to wander after some shy chick – who is probably some hunter calling him with a few “sweet nothings?”

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FYI:  Be Careful Where You Step!

I found a water moccasin in my greenhouse yesterday morning — looking for a way out.  Snakes are on-the-move in Texas because of the drouth.  They are looking for water!  Be extra careful hunting in dry areas.

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“Turkey Dream 2′ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!

You may have heard that turkey hunting is very dangerous;  it’s true.   The goal of this posting is to remind you of the worst dangers.

Believe it or not, the gobbler has a daily routine. If you can figure it out, you can find a place to take advantage of his routine!

How Can Turkey Hunting be Dangerous?

Let me count the ways …. First, hunting on public lands, by its nature is more dangerous than hunting on private lands.

There are more people (probably unknown to each other) holding loaded weapons at the same time, in the same area.

Being dressed in full camo often restricts your line-of-sight.

While concentrating on our quarry, we often lose sight of what is around us.

Hunting Behaviors that Can Cause an Accident

  • Stalking turkeys, instead of calling them to you
  • Trying to ‘drive’ turkeys, as if they were deer
  • Shooting at any part of a turkey, other than the turkey’s neck or head
  • Wearing red, white or blue
  • Not knowing where other hunters are
  • Not knowing what is beyond your next shot
  • Not knowing what is between you and your next shot

An Explanation

Stalking a Turkey: The gobbler you are stalking may turn out to be another hunter with a gun aimed at you!  Or, another hunter could be watching the turkey you are stalking – and shoot you!

‘Driving’ a Turkey: Turkeys don’t respond well to this kind of pressure; few bag a turkey in this way.  However, the chances of becoming involved in a shooting are great.  Call the turkey to you.

Aim for the Gobbler’s Head or Neck: Gobblers are big and hard to kill. Know the killing zone of a turkey:  the head or neck!

Wearing Red, White or Blue: Dress like a turkey & you could be shot — instead of the turkey!

Biologists tell us that turkeys and deer are color-blind for the colors red & green. That is why you can wear blaze orange and not worry about detection.

If turkeys see you and you are in orange, they are aware of your movement, not the color!

Not Knowing Where Other Hunters Are: Things change — owners sell their property to new folks … hunters try new areas … people forget.

Not Knowing What is Beyond the Shot You’re About to Make: While hunting, you are your brother’s keeper! If we don’t watch for each other, we can create a tragic accident!

Not Knowing What is Between You and Your Next Shot: Same explanation as above!

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Tomorrow: Some Truths About Turkey Hunting

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‘1999 Minnesota Turkeys’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!  
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Outsmarting A Turkey Tom!

Turkeys move into open, agricultural areas to feed and return to the woods to roost!

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Outsmarting a Gobbler

 

Many hunters enjoy the competition between themselves and the wily turkey.  By the time a tom reaches the age of 4 or 5, he’s had many encounters with hunters; and you can tell who won!

A seasoned gobbler has a variety of tricks to try on the poor hunter who thinks hunting turkey  is a quick process.  The truth is:  Shooting a young jake or 2-year-old tom is pretty easy — in comparison to out-foxing a mature tom.

After awhile, some hunters bypass the youngsters and concentrate on the challenge of the older gobbler.  What does it take?

Humility and a Turkey Education

Believe it or not, the tom has a daily routine.  If you can figure it out, the odds start to tilt your way.  (However, nothing is foolproof  — or 100% –with a turkey.)

Returning to a theme of an earlier posting, * a hunter needs to know:

where the turkey roosts,
where he travels,
why he is going there,
what he does when he gets there.


If a tom is not pressured or disturbed, he tends to his tasks on a fairly regular time-table.

A Typical Day for a Gobbler

Morning: He awakens, gobbles a bit and flies down to meet a hen. After mating, he wanders around a bit.  Then he heads toward his eating area and tries to get hens to go with him.

Noon-ish: He eats with his hens in a feeding area.  Then he starts to strut, drum, dust and breed until it gets too hot.  (Biologists say most of the mating takes place mid-morning.)

During the heat of the day, toms enter the woods and rest.  By 2 pm, the boys start heading back to the field for food; and they spend more time mating.

Afternoon/Evening: As dark skies take over, the tom flies or walks back to his roost.

How Will This Help?

When the hunter knows the turkey’s movement patterns, he/she can situate him/herself in a good place along the turkey’s path.

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‘Spring Turkey’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 11:35 am  Comments Off on Outsmarting A Turkey Tom!  
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Extraordinary Sunday: Our Specialty Flags

This is a unique blend of international and group-specific flags.

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The Gadsden Flag: Don't Tread on Me! An Early Flag of the Marines; Now Adopted by the Tea Party Movement!

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The British Union Jack

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John Rios' Rebel Flag; We Have an Alternate Style Without the Word "Rebel"

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For All You Pirates ... or Pirates at Heart: Jolly Roger Flag

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The Proud Flag of Puerto Rico

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International Symbol for Scuba Divers

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Please Note: US Flags are in Eagles & Patriotic Graphics

We Have Others!  Take a Look at the Rest of our Specialty Graphics!

As Soon as I Get Part of My Computer Program Fixed, I’ll be Adding More!

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“Jolly Roger” flag is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice

All other flags shown today are used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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Come Back Monday: More Excitement with Hunting or Fishing!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Friday’s Joke: My First Day on the Job!

So after landing my new job as a Wal-Mart greeter,
a good find for many retirees, I lasted less than a day…

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About two hours into my first day on the job a very loud,
unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into the store with

her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance.

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I said pleasantly, ‘Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart.
Nice children you have there. Are they twins?’

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The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say,
‘Hell no, they ain’t twins. The oldest one’s 9, and the other one’s 7.
Why the hell would you think they’re twins? Are you blind, or stupid?’

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So I replied, ‘I’m neither blind nor stupid, Ma’am, I just couldn’t believe

someone slept with you twice. Have a good day and thank you for shopping at
Wal-Mart..’

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My supervisor said I probably wasn’t cut out for this line of work.

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If You Think This Was Fun: Come Back Sunday for a Quick Look at Some Of My Rear Window Graphics –
New, Classic or “Best in Category”

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 12:03 am  Comments (2)  
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When You Are Hunting a Wily Turkey Tom

A Story With a Moral

Robert, an experienced turkey hunter, shared a story that happened a few years ago.  He lived in a hilly area and could do a little hunting before going to work.

Keep Telling Yourself that a Turkey's Brain is the Size of a Walnut; After a While, Maybe You Will Even Believe it!

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Disappearing Gobbler

Around daylight, Robert would often hear the insistent gobbling of a tom; making noise from one side of a nearby hill to the other.  By the time Robert joined the hunt, the gobbler had quieted and would not stir.

After a few mornings of calling a little and calling a lot with no response, Robert questioned if there was any turkey at all!  He tried circling, setting up near the roost, everything he could think of — but no turkey appeared.

This is War!

Robert started learning everything he could about his quarry.  Eventually, he realized what the turkey was doing.

After the turkey called his hen harem, he flew down into a glade, where he had a clear view of the hillside.  If Robert appeared, the turkey saw him and left.

If Robert wasn’t on hand, the gobbler would strut in the clearing and gather his hens for breeding.

A few days later, Robert was in the glade before daylight.  He positioned himself  about 200 yards from the turkey’s roost and waited.

As the area lightened, Robert gave 3 soft tree yelps. *  The wily turkey flew down from his roost into the clearing, looking for the hen that had called him.

And that morning, Robert bagged his turkey!

What’s Important About this Story

This story shows just how important it is to learn everything you can about your adversary.

To be successful with this difficult bird, Robert needed to know:

  • where the turkey roosted,
  • where he traveled,
  • why he was going there,
  • what he did when he got there.

Some hunters think that superb calling skills and snazzy camo wear are all you need to snare a turkey.

Robert’s story explains why understanding gobblers is more important than just about anything else!   What you wear and how you call a turkey is only important after you understand your prey!

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PS: Hunters also say that it is important to hunt an experienced turkey in a different way or place.  Robert met the turkey where the tom didn’t expect to find him.

* Site of National Wild Turkey Federation; audio of 11 turkey calls.

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‘Woodland Splendor’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on When You Are Hunting a Wily Turkey Tom  
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Yikes! Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

Calling Toms from Too Great a Distance

Don’t let a gobbler’s wings fool you:  He isn’t interested in going great distances to find a hen.

A Turkey's Brain is the Size of a Walnut ... and He Uses Every Cell of His Smarts to Stay Alive!

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If he’s grazing on public land (where there are plenty of hunters), gobblers get smart quickly — or some hunter takes him home for dinner!  They learn that moving long distances to a calling hen is not a smart plan.

Women’s Lib vs. Turkeys

The women’s liberation movement hasn’t taken hold in the turkey kingdom.  Yep, toms STILL expect hens to come to them for mating!  What an idea!

While Hens Are Preparing Their Nests …

The boys are tuning their voices, dusting off their spurs and arranging their feathers for fullest effect.  A roving Romeo’s work is never done!

The sound of gobbling fills the air as the males are calling the hens to them for mating.  Although the dominant male mates most, the other gobblers scurry around to find receptive females while the dominant male is busy.

As the mating season progresses, the calls get more strident and insistent – as more hens leave for their nests and the incubation period (26 to 28 days).

Gobbling starts as soon as daylight starts to appear, while turkeys are still in their roosts.  Once the gobblers hit the ground, they start calling hens in earnest.  This calling continues until the warmest hours of the day.

What is ‘Too Long’ a Distance for Calling Gobblers?

Generally, toms aren’t going to travel 150 yards — or more — to breed with a hen.  And some of the reasons they will reject the distance may surprise you!

If you have done your preseason work, you know what lies between you and the gobbler you want to call.

Toms often do not want to cross an obstacle — a ditch, some fencing (you can’t see) or even a slow-moving brook.

Overcoming a Tom’s Reluctance

If you can’t get the gobbler to come to you, you need to go to the tom.  Before you start calling the turkey, get about 50 yards away from him.

Use thick vegetation and terrain to hide your movements.  Sometimes, it may take as long as 2 or 3 hours to maneuver yourself into a good place to start calling!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments Off on Yikes! Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make  
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Amazing Video: Dog Attacking Crook!

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Save your ammo, I want THIS dog!

The guy never saw it coming.

Notice the suspect behind the car, apparently firing a gun –

(you see the smoke from the muzzle), and a split second later –

the Shepherd Police Dog leaps across the roof of the auto,

clamps on the suspect, and brings him down quickly.

You’ll have to watch it several times to really appreciate the

valor of this dog!

 

One Amazing Dog!

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Provided by My Deer Husband, Richard

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Return Tomorrow: More on Turkey Hunting

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Amazing Video: Dog Attacking Crook!  
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Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make

When Ya Gotta Itch or Swat at Flies

There’s nothing worse than needing to scratch or swat at flies.

Gobblers are Always on the Lookout for Movement!

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In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned that turkeys are looking for movement.  Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds. In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled among them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in a turkey’s world. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

What do You do When You Need to Move?

There comes a time when we need to scratch or chase away flies.  Since we know that toms are watching for movement, what is the best way to handle this problem?

Using your whole hand is a dead give-away.  Thus, successful hunters tell me that they only use 2 fingers to swat or itch.  There is less movement to notice.

Immediately afterwards, brush your shirt sleeve against a tree – to imitate the sound of a turkey’s wings brushing against the side of a tree (as he walks past a tree).

Remember

When you make a  sound or movement that is unusual, be sure to cover it with a sound or movement that a turkey would use.

When a turkey sees or hears something that is not right — you must allay his fears by making a turkey sound or movement.  When he cannot calm his alarm immediately, he leaves!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 12:25 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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