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.

~

Tomorrow: The Rest of the Story!

~

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

~

Don’t miss Sunday’s Centerfold Pictures!

4 legged animals in various stages of undress! 😉

·

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

 

 

Advertisements
Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 am  Comments Off on Understanding the Life Cycle of a Turkey  
Tags: , ,

Outsmarting A Turkey Tom!

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

~

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.

~

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

~

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!  
Tags: , ,

Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make

Calling Gobblers Too Much

We don’t really realize that we are over calling until  a tom comes within 55 or 60 yards and refuses to come closer.  How can you salvage the situation?

The two times turkeys “gobble-gobble” most are – during spring mating season and when the hens start their nesting. Most of the breeding is finished by the time the hens start nesting; but big gobblers become more aggressive and try to find the remaining receptive females. 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. Biologists believe that the midmorning hours are when most mating occurs. Weeks before this takes place, hens start looking for a nesting place (usually on the ground). They prepare the spot and start 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 while creating a nest in another place. It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.

Something to Try

If the tom can’t see you: Wait until he makes a move so you change your hiding spot and use a different caller.

His reluctance to come closer indicates that you have done something that has put him on alert.  If you were using a slate caller, change to a diaphragm or box caller.

If you can’t move: Wait until the tom walks away.  Now, make a very large circle and try to get in front of the gobbler again.  Try a different caller.

~

 

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

~

You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

~

There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

§

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

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make  
Tags: , , ,

Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make

Spooking a Gobbler

Well you’ve done it now!  You have spooked the tom you were calling.

What do you do?

If you hear a responding call or leaf rustling behind you; this is no time to turn around! Turkeys are watching for movement. If you stay frozen in place until you have a chance at a shot, you have a small chance of getting the gobbler. Remember: You are part of the scenery – until you shoot.

~

Remember

The sound of a spooked tom is the same as an excited one — beating his wings, fast clucking * and racing around in the leaves.

If you spook a gobbler, cackle at him and call excitedly.  Even if you flush your gobbler, cut and cackle to him.  Continue your excited sounds.

Well, How Does THAT Help?

Even if your intended gobbler abandons you by flying off, other gobblers in the area may misinterpret what is going on with you two.

With the excited calling, they may think the gobbler is flying towards the sounds, not away.

Your goal it to mask the scared sounds with excited sounds so the other gobblers in the area will come toward you and your hiding place!

~

* “fast clucking” – This underlined phrase will take you to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s website where you can hear and practice various wild turkey calls.

~

‘On the Move’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

~

You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

~

There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

§

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

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make  
Tags: , , ,

The Problem with a Hunter’s Clothing, Part 2

What Should a Hunter Do?

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners!  Another solution is to wear wool clothing — it does not have added UV brighteners.

This problem has been around long enough for the hunter’s screams to have been heard all the way to China!

UV Brighteners in Clothing are Most Notable to Turkeys and Deer in Low Light Conditions!

So, is the Problem Gone?

No.  Essentially, there are 2 parts to this issue:  new hunting clothes and the ones you already own.

New Hunting Clothes

Even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — fabrics that became parts of the garment — pockets, lapels, etc. — may have been treated before sale to the manufacturer who made the clothes.

If your kids have a black light, you are in business!  Black lights will make any clothing with UV brighteners glow in the dark!  Use their black light to test your hunting clothes.

If you don’t have access to one, you can order a black light flashlight on the Internet.  You can also take it shopping with you; find a dark area and check to make sure the hunting garb doesn’t glow.

Be particularly careful to test hunting clothes on the clearance racks!  Guess why they might be there?

The Hunting Clothes You Already Own

This is the ugly part of the story.

If you are like most hunters, you wash your clothes with whatever clothes washing powder or liquid is available.  Most of those products add UV brighteners to clothing — permanently.

Once UV brighteners are added to clothing, there’s only one way to remove them.  There’s a product sold online that removes it.

I’m not interested in helping them sell more products, so I’m not mentioning their name.  I’ll explain more in Does it Matter (tomorrow’s part).

Naming Names

I’ve done research on this issue and have a list of names of regular grocery store products that you can use that will NOT add UV brighteners to your clothes.

The list is extensive — both the good and bad products.

A Reminder

Bear in mind that you must never use the “bad” products on your hunting clothes — even once.

~

Come back tomorrow for the final part of this article!

~

‘Woodland Splendor’  used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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

Oops! That Turkey Sees Me!

This is an ongoing series of suggestions for modified hunter behavior – so you can snag a spring turkey.  If you spook a gobbler, your chances of hauling him home drop through the floor!

Being Spotted in the Woods

If you are moving through the woods and a turkey spots you, I’ve only found one successful way to react — stand like a statue or a stump.  Sometimes, my stony stance and indifferent air will convince him I’m harmless.

 

If You are Caught "With Your Pants Down" while Hunting, How can You Turn this Disaster into a Successful Hunt?

Being Spotted in an Open Area

Since there’s nothing to hide behind, dropping to the ground and blending in with the dust is your best chance.

However, I have a friend who always turkey hunts with a few collapsible Feather Flex decoys.  He drags them out of his pack while he’s face-down on the ground.

Slowly, but surely, he slowly moves the hen to a place in front of his face.  As he’s putting the hen up in position, he starts to softly purr and cluck.

He also moves the hen’s head in position to be pecking.  Gradually, he increases the speed of his clucking so the turkey hen sounds excited with what she’s found on the ground.

According to my friend:  More than 75% of the gobblers will watch, instead of bolt immediately.  As he gets caught up in the “hen’s behavior,”  the gobbler tends to forget the human he just saw.  He comes closer to investigate!

If the gobbler sees you in the open field and you don’t have a decoy, the only recourse is to lie flat and hope!

A Trick that Doesn’t Work for Me

Personally, I don’t have much luck with this trick — but others swear by it.

By lying flat and staying motionless, others promise that most  gobblers will be so curious that they will move closer for a look.  Then you can get a  shot!

This just might be one of those things where you have to believe!

Caution

Before buying a bunch of hen decoys, make sure they are legal in your state!

~

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

 

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Oops! That Turkey Sees Me!  
Tags: , ,

Turkey Hunting: Getting Ready

With Valentine’s Day upon us, can turkey hunting season be far behind?

I’ve read about the ‘Americas before Columbus’ and I was surprised by one fact.  What were the 2 largest domesticated animals at the time of Columbus in the Americas?

The Europeans brought pigs, horses and cattle.  The llama and turkey were already here!  Turkeys have a long history in the New World.

Turkeys, Like this Threesome, Don't Have a Great Sense of Smell. But their Other Senses Work Just Fine, Thank You Very Much!

Getting Ready for Spring Turkey Hunting

It may seem a little early to talk about turkey season since most standing water is frozen rock solid.  However, there are lots to do to prepare for hunting turkeys.

Exploring

  • Find possible hunting sites or areas,
  • Get a topographical and/or other map to understand the ‘lay of the land,’
  • Check out field locations in early hours for gobbling or turkey tracks/spore,
  • Look for places where turkeys may take water – along creek beds and river bottoms,
  • Work on your calling skills.  You will need to learn a variety of calls before the season starts. Go to this article to get free help with turkey calls:  Talkin’ Turkey: Typical Behaviors
  • Try to go to your hunting site regularly so you can learn the terrain and hone in on turkey roosts and feeding areas.
  • However, if you spook the turkeys too much, they will move away from your proposed hunting site before the season starts.
  • Start looking over your camouflage clothing for the new season. Your clothes will need to match the foliage where you will be hunting.
  • Take your shotgun and check the pattern of the shot.  Here’s more info: Turkey Hunting: Choosing the Right Load for Your Shotgun

Opening a New Can of Worms

If you are new to the sport of turkey hunting, you may not be aware of the research related to turkey (and deer) eyes.  Essentially, new research indicates that turkeys and deer can see some colors.

In low light (early morning and dusk), they can see the blue glow coming from some hunter’s garb.  It’s a longish issue.  You can read more here:

~

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

 

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 2:22 am  Comments Off on Turkey Hunting: Getting Ready  
Tags: , ,

Just Wondering: Would You Use Any of These Techniques to Snare a Wild Turkey?

Some Unique Ways of Snaring a Wild Turkey! **

While trolling around the Internet, I chanced upon this article:  How to Turkey Hunt Effectively – Clever Techniques to Lure Turkeys Into Compromising Situations.”

The title was so interesting, I had to read it.

The Author’s Ideas for Turkey Hunting

The author,  Bill M Murphy, advocates using the following:

  • Using baits (food, fruit, worms, etc.)
  • Adding “small amounts of benzodiazepines and other barbiturates” to the food,
  • Using smoke bombs to swell the eye membranes of the turkey,
  • Using flashes or strong lights that would have “large amounts of gun powder …. This would produce a very bright light that would easily impair the eyes of the turkey.”

The Author’s Credentials

Mr. Murphy is a “Platinum Level” author for Ezine Articles. At the end of his article, he suggests: “If you would like more tips on how to turkey hunt and separate yourself from the usual results obtain by amateur turkey hunters, please visit http://www.howtohuntturkey.com

My Questions

After reading the article, I called MDH * at work, and read the article to him.   Before I tell you my thoughts, or what MDH said, I’d like to throw the questions out to you:

What do you think about these ideas?

Have you every tried any of these?  Results?

Are they legal in your state?

Inquiring minds would like to know!  Please comment.

~

* MDH = My Dear Husband

** Rear Window Graphic used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

~^~

This is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on August 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm  Comments Off on Just Wondering: Would You Use Any of These Techniques to Snare a Wild Turkey?  
Tags:

Scopes & Turkey Hunting

Taking Aim at a Gobbler 

 

The "Kill Zone" on a Turkey is Very Small!

Although the wild turkey is North America’s largest game bird, the best “kill zone” is rather small.  The best place to kill a young turk is in the head-neck region. Why?

Because one well placed #4 or #6 pellet in the turkey’s brain or neck will kill him instantly. He will not suffer and there will be no loss in food-value.

Actually, you can shoot a young turk wherever you want. However, that doesn’t mean he will keel over.  Gobblers have some interesting ways to frustrate your plan — of taking a ‘wild one’ home to eat.

Obviously, a gobbler uses his wings to fly (for example: to and from his roost).  However, the wings and feathers are very dense and can repel or deflect pellets.  With turkeys, you rarely get a second shot.

Lots of hunters aim for the wattle; however, it is recommended that you shoot when you see the turkey’s head in the cross-hairs.  By aiming higher, you are less likely to spoil the meat. Remember that a breast shot does not necessarily kill your prey.

Using a Scope While Turkey Hunting

Until recently, I was unfamiliar with using a scope while hunting gobblers. Some hunters seem to value using a 1.5 to 2.0 power scope.  Why?

First, a scope helps hunters zero in on that vital head and neck region. Second, a low powered scope is a useful ally for those with poor eyesight.

Third, it allows a hunter to get a shot at a gobbler from a greater distance, which can be an important consideration in the waning weeks of turkey season.

Those turkeys that avoid a hunter’s aim in the opening days of the season are a whole bunch smarter by the end of the season. They are even more skittish than in the opening days and are harder to stalk.

~

I’ll be back soon with more tips on hunting turkeys!

~~~

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

Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags:

Turkeys: The Best Time to Hunt

This article is written on the premise that you are hunting on public lands.

First Day

It’s a given that  public lands will be busy on opening day of turkey season –particularly if the season starts on a weekend. 

 

Avoid Shooting Gobblers In or Near Their Roosts!

 

If you are on public lands, you need to outsmart turkeys and other hunters!  This requires planning before the opening hours of turkey season.

Pre-Season Activities

Generally, topographical maps are available for national forests and other public lands.  This is an  important ally in your quest for a gobbler.

Before hunting season starts, you need to know where water is located and scout the trails on this land. Young turks like to have their roosts near water.

Listen for gobbling, look for roosts (in trees) and the strutting zones of gobblers. (There’s more info in Turkey Hunting : Pre-Season Work for Hunters).

MDH* recommends shooting a turkey no closer than 200 yards to where he roosts!  Watch where gobblers go after they jump down from their roosts and set-up in a likely spot for him to travel past you.

Remember, avoid shooting turkeys at or in their roosts!  Why? Turkeys will move elsewhere – permanently!

Hunting Pressure and Turkeys

“Hunting pressure” is an odd phrase but it is important to understand how turkeys respond to hunting pressure.

When there are lots of hunters trying their luck in a particular place, this ‘hunting pressure’ causes turkeys to become hard to kill. When turkeys have lots of exposure to hunters in a short period of time, they learn from those encounters.

Lots of hunters come to public hunting places in the early morning and are gone by 7:30 or so. By letting the turkeys settle back down for a couple of hours, many hunters are successful at 10 am (late morning)!

For more info, go to Not Bagging Your Turkey Limit? Maybe You Need to Sleep Later!”

~

* MDH = My Dear Husband

~~

 

My “new” favorite bumper sticker:

“I’ll keep my money and my guns, and you can keep the CHANGE!”

(I love subtle digs!)

~

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




Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 9:58 pm  Comments Off on Turkeys: The Best Time to Hunt  
Tags: , , ,