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Old 01-20-2008, 11:35 AM
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Default turkey hunting???

I have decided to try turkey hunting this year, so any info on this would be great. I know next to nothing about hunting them.
Im thinking that I may take the shotgun with so what type of choke and load should I use? The gun is a Remington 12ga 26”barrel. And if my son goes I’ll be getting him a Mossberg 20 ga 20”barrel.
Next is calls and decoys how and when do you use them? What are good ones? Any good DVD to learn calling?
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:26 PM
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I have decided to try turkey hunting this year, so any info on this would be great. I know next to nothing about hunting them.
Im thinking that I may take the shotgun with so what type of choke and load should I use? The gun is a Remington 12ga 26”barrel. And if my son goes I’ll be getting him a Mossberg 20 ga 20”barrel.
Next is calls and decoys how and when do you use them? What are good ones? Any good DVD to learn calling?
Well for chokes it seems like the H.S. Undertaker always patterns out of every gun. You want to use an extra full or turkey choke. You can experiment with different chokes. For load the winchester supremes 3 inch usually pattern well out of anything. Again you can experiment with different shells. I prefer 4 or 5 shot. The larger the shot the more knock down power at longer ranges. The easiest calls for a beginner to learn is the box or a slate type call. Decoys I like the delta. You definitely want at least one hen in your arsenal and place them about 15 yards from you. If you would be bowhunting them out of a blind place them about 5 feet. I think H.S. make a call video. I know Quaker Boy does. Hope this helps. If you have anymore questions ask away.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:21 PM
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get the bobble head hen....i'm telling ya , she is the best....she even keeps you on your toes, lol.....i'll be getting sleepy, all of a sudden i see movement out of the corner of my eye, it'll wake ya up, lol.... and the turkeys seem to be more willing to come in to a moving decoy...IMO
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:10 PM
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Tom's are beautiful, hens are not.

Tom's have a iradescent (sp?) color in their feathers...kind of a rainbow effect like water and gasoline - their feathers are shiny. Hen head are gray/blue, Jakes heads (toms under 2 yrs) are also gray/blue maybe with red, Toms have a lot of red in their head and a nasty little dangly thing that appears to be completely useless. If the grass is low you can see spurs but I always look for the beard. The beard will stick out like a sore thumb if it's a mature tom. It it's just barely poking out up to a few inches it's a jake. Another way to tell a jake is that the center 1/3 or so of the fan feathers are raised an inch or so higher than the fan feathers to the left or right. Bottom line - long beard (6" + will be a tom). If you see hens and no tom, many times it's because the tom is there but he's hanging back...even if there is a tom in the group a lot of times there's a boss tom hanging back. Since you've never taken a turkey don't be embarrassed to take a jake - getting a shot on your first turkey is tough enough.

It's been said that if a turkey had the ability to smell they'd be nearly impossible to hunt. They hear decent but they can see you blink at 50 yards. I've taken one step at 100 yards behind a tree before and gotten busted. Camo and stillness are key. Camo head to toe and move as little as possible no matter how much your butt hurts!

If you hunt later in the season in my experience the toms aren't vocalizing, but that doesn't mean they aren't coming so keep calling. I have killed the last couple of toms because they came into my call but never made a sound.

When you think your morning hunt is over give it another 30 minutes

Wear snake boots.

Bow - use the pics above
Shotgun - head shots - wait til he's in range and raises his head
Rifle - top of the leg or head shot will do the trick

If your in a blind keep the back windows closed, wear dark clothes (black or camo) and stay back away from the windows as much as possible - they won't see you. Plant your decoys 15 yards or so out in front of a tree line. Turkeys love to strut their stuff as soon as the sun hit's the tree line. So try to be on a tree line that will be lit first thing in the AM. Or close to one and start calling. A CD for calling can usually be purchased with a call of some sort. I prefer mouth calls - they keep my hands free. I can even yelp while drawing a bead on him with a mouth call.

Turkeys have terrible memories, if you take a shot and miss, settle down for a few minutes, start calling again slowly. After a bit you can start calling normal again. I've seen turkeys come back as soon as 15 minutes after I've shot one. They have NO long term memory. Especially if you're over a feeder -if they're hungry and haven't forgotten where the feeder is they're coming back.

If there is more than one tom and you take the biggest, quickly get ready for another shot. Many times a subordinate tom will jumb on the back of a dying or dead boss tom to establish dominance - might be an excellent opportunity to pull a double!

Best of luck! Once you start turkey hunting you'll have a new addiction!
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:09 PM
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Great White Hunter- Great post, that answers some more of my questions. I'll have to find some pictures of the Jake/Tom thing, so I can see what your talking about.


Any one else like to add any thing feel free, all info appreciated!
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Arrowmike View Post
Great White Hunter- Great post, that answers some more of my questions. I'll have to find some pictures of the Jake/Tom thing, so I can see what your talking about.


Any one else like to add any thing feel free, all info appreciated!
Take notice with the picture of the small flock. Their fan isnt well rounded. Look at the lone strutter of the tom. You can see how the fan is even the whole way around. Hope this helps!
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:23 PM
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That sure is a nice group of Jakes! Thanks for giving Mike a visual. That's a great shooter Tom too! That fan would look great on my wall!
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:21 AM
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Thanks for the pictures. That did help a lot. I hate to sound pushy but do you have a picture of a hen too. That way I can see the differences between it the Jake and Tom.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:08 PM
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I found this for you at the Georgia Fish and Game website and the Realtree website. This should be pretty clear for you. The different species look pretty similar but telling the difference between a tom, a jake, and a hen are pretty simple following all the tips in this thread. Enjoy:

IDENTIFICATION
Identification of the sexes is important because only male turkeys may be legally harvested in Georgia. Gobblers, on average, weigh 17-21 pounds and posses black-tipped breast feathers giving the bird a dark, polished appearance. The tom's featherless head is white-crowned with varying amounts of blue and red coloration dependent on sexual excitement. Male turkey droppings are straighter and have a larger diameter than hen's and are J-shaped. Gobblers have a projection of hair-like bristles, termed a beard, on their breast and spurs on their lower legs. Beards grow continuously, about 3-5 inches per year, throughout the life of a tom, but the excess is worn off by abrasion when it drags the ground. On the other hand, spurs can obtain a maximum length of over 2 inches. Toms can have multiple beards and most have spurs. Spur length and beard length are somewhat related to age.

Adult males can be distinguished from juvenile males by several physical attributes. Beards on adult males are usually longer than 6 inches, whereas on juvenile males they are less than 6 inches (see photo to right). Jakes have rounded, blunt-pointed spurs less than 0.5 inch long and adults have curved, sharp-pointed spurs greater than 0.5 inch. Legs on adult males are usually pink in color and on juvenile males are usually grayish brown in color (see photo to left).

Beards.jpg Spurs.jpg
Click to enlarge pictures

The best way to distinguish gobblers from jakes is to simply observe the tail feathers when the bird is strutting. An adult's tail feathers are equal in length and form a smooth, rounded edge when fanned (photo below left). In contrast, the 4-6 central feathers on a jake's tail fan will be longer that the others forming an uneven edge when fanned (photo below right). Using all these criteria in combination can aid a turkey hunter in the decision to harvest a mature tom.

Tom Fan.jpg Jake Fan.jpg
Click to enlarge pictures

Hens usually weigh 8-11 pounds, about half the size of gobblers, and possess rounded, buff-tipped breast feathers giving them a brown or tan coloration. The female turkey's head lacks the white crown of the gobbler and is a dull gray-blue with feathers extending up the neck and back of head. Hen droppings are smaller than those of toms and are spiral or loop-shaped. Female turkeys can possess beards, usually less than 7 inches, but this only occurs in less than 30 percent of the population. Unlike toms, hens usually do not have spurs.

Hens.jpg
Click to enlarge picture
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Great White Hunter View Post
I found this for you at the Georgia Fish and Game website and the Realtree website. This should be pretty clear for you. The different species look pretty similar but telling the difference between a tom, a jake, and a hen are pretty simple following all the tips in this thread. Enjoy:

IDENTIFICATION
Identification of the sexes is important because only male turkeys may be legally harvested in Georgia. Gobblers, on average, weigh 17-21 pounds and posses black-tipped breast feathers giving the bird a dark, polished appearance. The tom's featherless head is white-crowned with varying amounts of blue and red coloration dependent on sexual excitement. Male turkey droppings are straighter and have a larger diameter than hen's and are J-shaped. Gobblers have a projection of hair-like bristles, termed a beard, on their breast and spurs on their lower legs. Beards grow continuously, about 3-5 inches per year, throughout the life of a tom, but the excess is worn off by abrasion when it drags the ground. On the other hand, spurs can obtain a maximum length of over 2 inches. Toms can have multiple beards and most have spurs. Spur length and beard length are somewhat related to age.

Adult males can be distinguished from juvenile males by several physical attributes. Beards on adult males are usually longer than 6 inches, whereas on juvenile males they are less than 6 inches (see photo to right). Jakes have rounded, blunt-pointed spurs less than 0.5 inch long and adults have curved, sharp-pointed spurs greater than 0.5 inch. Legs on adult males are usually pink in color and on juvenile males are usually grayish brown in color (see photo to left).

Attachment 230 Attachment 233
Click to enlarge pictures

The best way to distinguish gobblers from jakes is to simply observe the tail feathers when the bird is strutting. An adult's tail feathers are equal in length and form a smooth, rounded edge when fanned (photo below left). In contrast, the 4-6 central feathers on a jake's tail fan will be longer that the others forming an uneven edge when fanned (photo below right). Using all these criteria in combination can aid a turkey hunter in the decision to harvest a mature tom.

Attachment 234 Attachment 232
Click to enlarge pictures

Hens usually weigh 8-11 pounds, about half the size of gobblers, and possess rounded, buff-tipped breast feathers giving them a brown or tan coloration. The female turkey's head lacks the white crown of the gobbler and is a dull gray-blue with feathers extending up the neck and back of head. Hen droppings are smaller than those of toms and are spiral or loop-shaped. Female turkeys can possess beards, usually less than 7 inches, but this only occurs in less than 30 percent of the population. Unlike toms, hens usually do not have spurs.

Attachment 231
Click to enlarge picture
GWH Great post!!
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