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Author Topic: Turkeys & Dust  (Read 1524 times)

Offline wheelz

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Turkeys & Dust
« on: April 29, 2011, 07:39:20 PM »
Leave it to a drought to teach me some new lessons in turkey hunting. The thought certainly never occurred to me before this year that a turkey hen might refuse to nest, or that the older toms would go silent during the breeding season. That’s exactly what happened though because of this throat choking drought that’s been gripping the bottom half of the state.

The first morning out, I noticed some things that seemed a little odd, like hens moving around alone, and only small groups of jakes doing the gobbling. Nobody was interested in our decys. It was like the bigger toms were in hiding for some reason. And that’s exactly what I learned later after I did some research on the subject.

Apparently, when faced with severe drought conditions, most hens will go into survival mode by refusing to produce eggs, breed or nest. A lack of vegetation means not much food for turkey chicks, and more importantly, not much cover for mom on the nest. That’s easy to understand. What I never would’ve figured out was that this would send the longbeards into hiding. With very few hens being receptive, the gangs of jakes will zero in on a lone gobbler and bully him.

That all made perfect sense when we were hunting in the hill country two weeks later where the country was even drier. There was hardly any gobbling at all, and what few toms we saw were skirting around quietly trying to avoid the bands of jakes. That left us with the lone option of setting up near the food sources and waiting for a tom to pass through. We never even opened the decoy bag.

That first afternoon was a stifler. I had my buddy Galen with me, who had the first shot at a bird with his bow. The temp spiked to almost 90 inside the pop up blind about as soon as we zipped up the door. I knew this was going to be ‘one of those’ sits. “When did satan show up?” I said as we sat in a mott of oak trees that had been killed by the wilt. It didn’t occur to me that without their leaves we’d be in the sun until almost sundown.

When that group of jakes came rolling in two hours later, there were two of us ready for him to shoot. Galen quickly singled one out and passed an arrow through his wing. That was enough to end his gang-banging days.

The next morning was a lot better. At least it was cooler. What was neat was that the morning before, an older tom came in and barely gave a little gobble before we saw him. Galen never got a shot, but the same thing happened the next day. We barely heard this whisper gobble and then a this big old tom suddenly appeared 15 yards away. They were sneaking around trying to be undetected. Not this time though. I lined him up and tagged the biggest boy on the place, a 24 pounder!

"All the greatest accomplishments, at first, seemed impossible."

Offline John Andrews

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Re: Turkeys & Dust
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 08:17:58 AM »
 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 O0 Right on, wheelz! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!
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Offline Gutpiles

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Re: Turkeys & Dust
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011, 05:55:05 PM »
Nice bird!   :twisted:
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