Poults gobbling!? I had never heard or seen this before my buddy Shane Simpson at Calling all Turkeys brought this my attention.
Turkeys continue to amaze.
Poults gobbling!? I had never heard or seen this before my buddy Shane Simpson at Calling all Turkeys brought this my attention.
Turkeys continue to amaze.
It’s July 7, 2017, the turkey books say mating is done by now. Consider, this feathered lady already has thirteen kids.
There were 13 from this one hen, 2 days ago. Don’t know how they manage, between the cars, the weather and all the predators. There are a few stragglers in the bunch, so keep watching.
Note by charlie: Make sure to click the AWTHDA link above to check out more information on wild turkeys and while you’re there consider joining.
Courtesy of American Wild Turkey Hunting Dog Association
Accidentally got too close to a hen turkey with poults and she didn’t like it. Flew at my head twice before the video started. Then she acted like a Killdeer with a broken wing, so I’d follow her and get away from where she told her babies to hide. She was indignant and fearless, determined to make me leave – I did! She had a slight stubble of a beard – don’t ever shoot bearded hens. Wisconsin – June 2017
Stunning. The old saying “no good deed goes unpunished” is more accurate than we’d like to admit.
Why would anyone who hunts destroy signs like these?
Come on there are shooting ranges all over Wisconsin with much better targets than this. As my rage subsided and my brain begins to work it came up with other possibilities. Perhaps it was not hunters, rather some other entity whose cause would be advanced by bad Hunter P.R.
Maybe some rabid anti-hunters. Sobering to think they might have taken up arms. But then I remember members of the Human Society of The United States advocating vandalism on hunting lands to make hunters look bad. A few years ago I some found alcoholic beverage containers strewn about the parking areas of a WMA during a fall hunting season. Being a concerned hunter and good citizen, picked up the litter on my way out. A few days later I returned and found the same type of litter. On my fourth hunt, there was more of this litter. Clearly, this problem was not random, reporting it would be a waste of time without more evidence of the identity. However, being it was hunting season I did not want to waste time. In a discreet location, up went an old trail camera. A week later more bottles were dumped along with several beer cans. I recovered the camera for review after my hunt.
A few years ago I some found alcoholic beverage containers strewn about the parking areas of a WMA during a fall hunting season. Being a concerned hunter and good citizen, picked up the litter on my way out. A few days later I returned and found the same type of litter. On my fourth hunt, there was more of this litter. Clearly, this problem was not random, reporting it would be a waste of time without more evidence of the identity. However, being it was hunting season I did not want to waste time. In a discreet location, up went an old trail camera. A week later more bottles were dumped along with several beer cans. I recovered the camera for review after my hunt.
After getting my turkeys cleaned and my dog settled in it was time to check out the camera images. The camera caught the culprits including their license plate number. Called the sheriff to report and emailed the photos. Each of the four litters were fined $700 and asked the judge for leniency because they were trying to help get the area closed to hunting so that animals would no longer live in fear. Turned out these creeps wanted to stop hunting and figured if hunters were made to look dangerous more people would become activists on their side.
My mission on Saturday was not finding a bunch of shot up signs rather find turkeys, in particular, turkey poults and make notes of the type crops planted or not planted. I found plenty of deer, many does had twins and triplets in tow! The hen turkeys had 4-7 poults each with many hens still sitting on nests. The extra nest setting is probably due to all the rain washing out their first nesting attempts.
On Monday I will be contacting the nice lady in charge of Wisconsin’s voluntary access program to find out where I can purchase some replacement VPA signs to put up. The very last thing we need are landowners who are considering signing up their lands for public access seeing what they will most likely assume are unappreciative hunters.
I don’t think hunters vandalized those signs. What is your opinion?
I have been in contact with WDNR and found out these signs had been replaced previously and now they have been shot up again, outside of any hunting season. Makes me suspect it might not be someone who hunts. Also, I did not make clear in the post street signs were shot all the way to the location of the NWTF sign obliteration.
Due to a rather “brisk” discussion on another blog about turkey ammo, I could think of no other way to prove that #8 shot IS adequate for turkeys than xX-rays of harvested birds.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank Dr. Kerri D’Arbonne, DVM and her husband (both avid hunters!) of Chisholm Trail Vet Clinic, Duncan, Oklahoma for the use of their equipment for this endeavor.
My apologies for the mess I had to clean up afterward! LOL! Secondly! This project was my maiden voyage to the “Sea of Xray.” These shots aren’t “exactly” what I had in mind, but hope they help!
Let’s go with “layout” first.
(Told you I were no expert! LOL!)
Plain Jane Remington 870 12 gauge with an aftermarket “extra full” choke tube.
The “brisk” discussion was mostly over whether #8 shot would maintain enough kinetic energy to penetrate deeply enough to break bones (vertebrae) out to 40 yards.
Note on bird #1, the two #8 shot that appears to be behind the right eye. Those two shot HAD to transect the entire head to reach their position.
I believe “turkey specific” ammo is overrated and over priced. Why buy 5 to 10 rounds for $2 or so per round when I can get a box of 25 for 5 to 7 bucks?(depending on sales. I AM a tightwad! LOL! )
I also believe that the 3 and 3.5-inch ammo tends to cause otherwise good hunters to attempt shots well beyond the 40-yard mark, resulting in wounded and unrecovered birds.
Therefore, I shoot 2.75-inch ammo and call birds in as close as possible. I believe “pattern density” kills, not shot size. The more pellets you deliver to the target, the higher your chances of delivering a fatal pellet strike. Therefore, I shoot #8’s to deliver as thick a pattern as possible.
I’ve burned lot’s of ammo at sheets of newspaper and butcher paper to get an idea of “pattern density,” but what REALLY happens when you pull that trigger? A specific percentage of pellets in a ten-inch circle at 30 yards?…40 yards? Guess what guys; A turkey head ain’t that big!!
I’m hoping these X-rays give others a look at what happens that the patterning board just doesn’t tell you.
IF you are comfortable with the ammo you shoot, the range you shoot and the pellet size you prefer, DO NOT change because of my beliefs! I’m not suggesting everyone change ammo, but if you’re looking for different ammo options, here is one!
If you have a hunter friendly vet in your area, talk to them. Xrays reveal a lot about pellet performance!
As I sit in turkey setups I ponder “How Many Syllables are in a Gobble? Thanks to a text I received the other day from my buddy treerooster. Just what I needed as if I didn’t pay close enough attention to gobbling before this question was planted in my inquiring mind. Now the old ears are trying to feed every note upstairs for analysis. And it seems to be a depends on what the gobbler is seeking to communicate or how aggressive he is feeling. Some gobbles are short with few notes or syllables, while others are quite complex with short and long notes and syllables.
It’s a real legitimate question to which nearly all other turkey hunters have not thought about very much.
Please list your thoughts and observations in the comment section.
It sounded almost like a breeze moving dead leaves on the tree branches, but I don’t remember there being any leaves on the early spring cottonwoods. As another wave of the fluttering sound reached my ears I realized the sound was not the trees or any leaves; it was a flock of turkeys rustling their feathers, and there must be a lot them to make that much noise at little after 4:00 am. A few minutes later the first yelps of the morning started. Apparently, Colorado turkeys wake up much earlier than those sleepy eastern birds in Wisconsin. Sure enough by 4:30 the first crescendo of gobbling cascaded down from their roosts, each like a wave crashing on a rocky beach. Each time the audio wave began it gained volume as if urging the sun to rise early. My shivering intensified, surprised I was that cold, then I became acutely aware it was maximum exhilaration that had no relationship to the temperature, this is what turkey nirvana is all about, like being drunk on wild turkey, the non-alcoholic kind.
Six years ago, on a now defunct turkey forum, Treerooster and charlie elk recognized each other as fellow turkey nerds. We discussed things like the length of the turkey’s memory, how they find food, the effect of ground temperatures on behavior, what the snood means, why two- dimensional sight works, techniques for tree-roosting all night with turkeys; OK you get the idea. Fortunately, the forum had a private message option allowing treerooster and charlie could make hunting plans. And when charlie got enough preference points to draw a spring license he was on his way to treerooster’s hunting turf in Colorado.
Our optimism was high we waded across the dark river back to the truck. We had roosted at least 15 toms and jakes on this eve of Colorado’s opening day of spring wild turkey season. Wake up was scheduled for 3:00 am to make sure we could take our place among the roosted turkeys well before sunrise. A treerooster nugget of wisdom – “Turkey hunting extends your life, each day of turkey hunting is the equivalent of 2 or 3 days of “normal life.”
There’s something about 15 or so roosted gobblers that make the lack of sleep and morning grogginess recede into the background of one’s conscious mind. Gazing up at a half dozen roosted turkeys highlighted against the moonlit sky I wanted to give treerooster
two thumbs up for his accuracy last night casting the correct GPS coordinates. Clearly, he has done this many times, and that is why I told him that I would hunt the way he hunts. And he is a one of a kind tree-roosting aficionado, sometimes he actually sleeps in the tree with the turkeys; Prefers to setup, not 200, 100 or even 50 yards from roosted birds, rather, right in the middle of them.
There was a certain surrealness sitting under roosted turkeys expecting the morning light to brighten and instead, it became quite dark after the moon set as we waited for the first glimmers of sunrise. However, the turkeys had no inhibition and continued to call and gobble to each other. They did not seem to care there were coyotes on the prowl, raccoons screaming out their mating calls; every sound caused all those anxious roosted birds to turn up the volume. Treerooster was supposed to do the calling but any calls we’d have made would be the equivalent of spitting in the ocean due to all the actual turkey noise.
Is there such a thing as sonic boom gobbling? Had anyone asked me this question before my first-morning hunt in Colorado I would have thought them crazy. But, not now. A couple of mallards came flying through the trees, and one of them quacked, this caused such loud gobbling that it caused the ducks so much turbulence they almost fell out of the air. Laughter would have erupted from me had my ears not hurt so bad, never before did I wish to turn down or remove my hearing aids on a turkey hunt. What had been 15 roosted gobblers was now apparently 50-70 raucous male turkeys surrounding us on all sides. In almost 40 years of turkey hunting, I have never experienced anything like this.
When the hens snuck up from behind on my five, I became concerned if I didn’t get a tom out this huge group I’d have egg on my face and some explaining to do. Hen turkeys are notorious for messing up a well-planned gobbler killing strategy. One of those hens got so close she could have rested her beak on my shoulder when she yelped. I swear I felt her spittle on my cheek. If she putted, no one here noticed and none of the turkeys noticed the deer that almost tripped over my boot. Thankfully, the deer did not notice me, perhaps due to all the ruckus from turkeys.
More gobblers flew down; it was quickly getting crowded here on the ground. Finally, the one who had strutted back and forth from one end of the limb to the other launched and sailed in. Lesser turkeys scrambled out of his way, for a brief moment he disappeared in the dawn’s light. As his head came around the other side of some wispy brush I made a quick check for any other turkeys in the area, the roar of the Benelli caused a literal explosion of turkey wings clawing at the air and every sound these large birds can make filled the woods and the surrounding grassland.
In almost forty years of turkey hunting, I’d never experienced anything like that Colorado morning. We ended the
hunt intoxicated by overdosing on a whole lot of wild turkey. The non-alcoholic kind.
Spring 2017 is going to be good turkey hunting. After all, this is Wisconsin, home of 500,000+wild turkeys the only thing that keeps Wisconsin turkey hunters from harvesting more turkeys than any other state is the licensing scheme. The licensing process here is exclusionary by design it prevents a large number of its hunters from taking part in the spring hunt during the first 3 weeks of the season when the toms are most actively gobbling. In any case, for those with tags in their pocket hunting will good and the harvest will be in the Wisconsin average range.
During my pre-spring wanderings, I have found turkeys in some really unlikely areas such as this-
There are a lot of wild turkeys in Wisconsin, it’s all good, bring on the spring hunt.
The first 2017 spring hunt season is starting about a week later than usual so late start could hamper the harvest of hunters who must hear gobbling in order to be successful. If the later start causes hunter effort to drop off then the harvest will be lower perhaps in the low 40 thousand range.
This forecast is not, in any way related to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources rather it is based on charlie elk’s experience, observations and fellow turkey spies across the great turkey state of Wisconsin. The first charlie turkey forecast was done in 2014 and was the opposite of WDNR dire forecast, they had forecast bad spring turkey hunting with low harvest due to the worst winter severity index ever. WDNR even cut permits by 25% at the last minute. In spite of the spring permit reductions, charlie took an opposing view and predicted a higher than average harvest. This was based on the incredible number of turkeys across the landscape during the fall of 2012 and even considering the tough 2013 winter there were very few dead turkeys reported. Turkeys are not deer so you can not apply deer management theory to turkeys. The winter severity index was developed for deer managers, not turkey managers. Turkeys have wings and when local conditions get bad they fly out of the locale for better areas.
On Sunday, Vic and I were out for a woodland stroll during the lunch hour. Of course, our ultimate goal is to locate turkeys and check on the local flock dynamics. There are so many deer across the landscape these days that most of the time they just blend into the background, but then on occasion, a few standout.
This smallish velvet buck was eating small burning nettles, as Vic and I approached he lifted his head and walked over to get a better look at us. Fortunately, I had my camera and was able to get out and turned on.
As the deer approached, Vic sat near my left leg, so I was able to snap this picture of a beautiful public land buck. After spending the better part of a half a century pursuing trophies like this, I marvel at how at home they are around dogs. I wrote about deer and dogs here. I know what some readers are thinking, “Oh, well, that’s just a summertime buck.” Wrong, this happens in the fall while wild turkey hunting, pheasant, grouse, or woodcock hunting. At that time of year, a shotgun is in my hands, and the camera is in a waterproof, cushioned pocket so getting a picture like this is more challenging. Interestingly the deer will tolerate my dog even if he growls or barks at them, but they will not stand around when I start digging in my pockets.
My passion these days, fall turkey hunting, so now the question I ponder; Should I go out this season and take him or should I give the GPS coordinates to some other deserving hunter?
Deer can’t be reliably saved for future years because there are too many hazards in the wild that most likely will take their lives. In Wisconsin, a buck deer like this has about a 50% CWD infection rate. There is a 50/50 chance that any buck you encounter will look like this next year.
Somewhere along the line this fall I’ll meet a deerhunter who’d like a crack at a nice buck and I’ll give them the coordinates. Perhaps, they’ll tip me off as to where all those turkeys I’ve been seeing went.
Ever wonder if wild deer meat, venison, has a different taste and or meat quality during the year? Which is better table fare; a buck, doe or fawn? Many a deer hunting camp have hotly debated the second question, but it seems no one talks about or even thinks about the first question. Perhaps, this is because due to work and family commitments most deer hunters have a limited window of time to hunt and as a result hunt during their state’s firearm season. Most gun seasons are open later in the fall, so without a thought of hunting any other time they go out to fill freezer when they can.
Deer killed in November and December are good to eat and for many outdoor folks, some very excellent eats indeed.
Whitetail deer numbers have grown significantly since the late 1960’s, and early 70’s when some states had to close deer season due to the small numbers or in some areas where there were no deer. Nowadays, deer are found all over the country with very liberal deer hunting seasons.
Here in Wisconsin farm country, deer season starts with archery mid-September continuing with a variety of seasons into January. The long season structures give deer hunters the chance to shoot, eat and compare table venison each month of the fall.
I have killed deer throughout all of the seasons, in many years I have taken deer during each month of the open hunting periods and found early season (mid-September to mid-October) venison is the best eating. Here’s why:
Several times when I have had dinner guests we dined on venison from each month, and there has not been a single guest who did not prefer the early season deer over the later season. All the venison is delicious no matter when it’s taken so continue hunting and enjoying yours. Just, if you get the chance at a September deer, take it and see what you think.