Try to match wits with a spring longbeard while using archery equipment is a very challenging feat. To start with you must hunt from a blind of some sort. I prefer a double bull blind now owned by the primo gang. The ground blind I like the best is a matrix 360. This blind offers unobscured shooting in all directions by using a shoot through mesh netting that hangs from the top fabric. When archery hunting and using the mesh fixed blade broadheads are mandatory and range is limited because you will loose some kinetic energy when the broadhead passes through the netting. Some archers modify the netting by adding perminant shooting holes By cutting the netting and hemming to opening to keep the mesh from freying. The holes you cut also allow the use of mechanical broadheads. “Do not shoot mechanical broadheads through the mesh”. It will deploy your broadheads an distort the arrow flight. I also will set the blind so the sun never shines into the blind creating shadows that will give your moment away.
When getting dressed for your hunt you want to wear a color that matches the inside color of the ground blind you are going to hunting from. You will be suprised how much movement you can get by with if you dress to match the color of your blind. I use a camouflaged scent lock pullover because I can kill two birds with one stone. I can wear the camouflage “out” while going to and from my blind then turn it “inside out” when I am in the blind. I also use my Scentlock facemask, it is black on the inside because of the carbon layer. For me, wearing black is the best color to match the inside canvas of the blind
Practice, Practice, Practice!!
Practice, Practice, Practice if you are going to turkey hunt with you bow. Don’t think that going to the archery range and shooting is going to prepare you for a they hunt with a bow. You need to practice sitting in a chair and in a kneeling position. Selecting a ground blind that is not large enough to to draw a compound or recurve bow unwilling cost you a wild turkey dinner.
Patience is a virtue! You are more restricted when you bow hunt turkey than carrying a gun so stand placement is a huge factor. Several things to consider when placing blinds and calling turkeys for archery. Morning fly down areas, morning strut zones and afternoon strut zone/feeding area.
Morning fly down area is very productive early season because the longbeards are somewhat predictable. As the season wears on the gobbler will be roosting in several different locations making it harder to pinpoint where to set up and hens will be leading them in different directions. My philosophy, Don’t get to close! Try to set up in a travel area between fly down and there strut zone. You will have more success by doing this.
“Strut Zones” can be just about anywhere!
Strut zones can be just about anywhere! I firmly believe a gobbler strut zone is a place where he feels safe, it could be an open wooded ridge, creek bottom, pond levy. I’ve even seen them strutting next to a busy interstate. When you hunt a strut zone you may have long sits ahead of you but watching a longbeard work his way to you decoy setup is both awesome and rewarding because generally when he comes in his focus is on the decoys not a ground blind.
Get yourself ready for a new adventure!
There you have it! This valuable information comes from turkey hunting more than thirty five years and a success rate of over 75%. My phylosiphy in turkey hunting is the fun part, harvesting an adult gobbler consistently is the reward of hard work planning , scouting and setting up in the right place.
Every spring residents and non residents flock to the wood to hunt wild turkeys. The state of Kansas is home to more than 500,000 Eastern and Rio-Grande wild turkeys. Unlike many other states Kansas hunters are allowed to hunt from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset, basically all day. Most other states regulations allow spring turkey hunting from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm.
Youth and Disability Season: April 1 -April 12, 2011. for kids the age of 15 or less to try their luck at harvesting a bearded bird. The shotgun season opens this year on April 13 and runs through May 31, 2011
Archery Only Season: April 1 -April 12, 2011 Regular Season: April 13 -May 31, 2011
Kansas is home to 2 breeds of wild turkey, Eastern and Rio Grande. The Easterns are found in the eastern half of the state and pockets extending over the half way point in the state. The Eastern Wild Turkey population is the largest of the two in the state giving the eastern the bird of choice to hunt . The range of the Rio Grande is just the opposite with pockets extending from central to the east. Predominately the Eastern wild turkey is larger in size than the Rio Grande wild turkey. Not to say you won’t find a Rio That weighs more and has longer spurs than an Eastern but the average size is bigger. Check out Kansas turkey trophy records and see for yourself.
Go After “Eastern” or “Rio Grande” Long-beards!
The two breeds have very distinguishable color traits to identify each species. The Eastern has Chestnut brown-tipped tail feathers and dark-buff or chocolate-brown tail tips. The gobbler’s breast feathers are tipped in black, while other body feathers are colored with copper or bronze metallic iridescence. Rio Grande which is typically a very light to medium brown in color over the body. The feathers are tipped with a lighter color of buff or yellowish buff colors. The head of a Gobbler/Tom weather an eastern or a Rio is white and the waddle is very dark red and highly visible and has fleshy growths called “caruncles”. When males are excited, a fleshy flap on the bill expands, and this, the wattles and the bare skin of the head and neck all rapidly fill with blood, almost concealing the eyes and bill. The long fleshy object over a male’s beak is called a snood. When a male turkey’s excited, its head turns blue; when ready to fight, it turns red.
More Gobbling activity in the Spring!
Turkeys are very “Vocal” during the spring of the year, why? It is breeding season! Why do they gobble? To show dominance for breeding rights and to attract females. That is what I love most about spring turkey hunting. The adult male turkey will start gobbling in the morning on the roost consistently around mid March in central US. Earlier south and later as you move north. The reason they gobble is to let the female “hen” know where he is located so she can find him to be breed. When the season opens the time usually gobbble while on the roost and quit gobbling shortly after hitting the ground. As the season progresses they will gobble longer after coming off their roost unless hens show up from the gobbling immediately. Hens will stay with a tom most of the day in the early part of the season until they start laying eggs Late morning then becomes the better time to call one in because the hen will leave and the gobbler gets lonesome and will respond better to hen calling.
Buy your Tags and “Get Out There” and Hunt!
Spring Turkey hunting in Kansas is challenging! It is also very exciting and fun. Getting outdoors to watch the sunrise and pinpoint and setup in a gobbling Tom to match wits with him and then wrap a tag on his leg and be able to say “Mission Accomplished!”
I just read a story of 2 men from Chester Maine that were hunting together for spring turkey and one shot the other. Accidents like this happen oh to often and there is no reason for this type of ignorance. As I researched farther into this accident I found another similar mishap as the hunters viewed the accident.
In the first story the 2 hunters spotted a turkey and split up to cover more area. Awhile later after stalking to the spot they had seen the turkey they didn’t realize how close together they ended up and one hunter saw something move and shot. The ISSUE I have with this story is YOU HAVE TO IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEFORE YOU SHOOT, PERIOD. I have been hunting for 32 years and have yet to see how someone can mistake the animal for a human being. A turkey looks nothing like a human!
In the second accident the sheriff department stated one man was stalking and calling with a mouth call and a slate call when he saw what he thought was a tom turkey about 70 feet away and fired, according to the sheriff’s office. Seventy feet is less than 24 yards maybe this guy needs an eye exam. At 24 yards couldn’t the guy see that his partner didn’t have a visible beard
Another way to process your turkey is to scald and pluck the turkey feathers. After this process is completed your turkey looks like a turkey you would get from the store. But, there is no sport in going to the store and buying a butterball.
First the head must be removed, this is accomplished by laying the head and neck across a block of wood and taking a hatchet to chop off the head, generally at the base of the neck. A big pot of water is warmed to 145 degrees and you must submerge the turkey for 45 seconds to loosen the feathers so they can be pulled by hand or use a motorized feather removing machine to remove the feathers from the turkey. The feet are cut off after the bird has been submerged in the hot water. Do not cut the feet off until after dipping the turkey in the hot water because they serve as a handle to keep from burning your hands.
When I turkey hunt locally I prefer this method of cleaning my turkeys. There is a person who cleans turkeys for people for a small fee. She has been doing this for years. The butchering area is set up for efficiency. When they butcher everything you saw on the video is done here except for the motorized plucker, it is done by hand.
After a successful turkey hunt and properly checking your harvest with your states DNR or conservation department it is now time to butcher your turkey. There are several options to accomplish cleaning your turkey. The fastest way to butcher your turkey is called ‘breasting out’. It is less work to butcher this way but you will waste some meat doing it this way. this video shows proper technique on how to breast out a turkey.
When hunting outside of my home range I use this method of butchering because it is fast to breast out my turkey. Remember a good Sharp knife is a must to do the job efficiently. Butchering by scalding and plucking is not practical to pack the necessary equipment. The turkey breast is the best part of the tukey to eat so I don’t feel like I am wasting any valuable meat.
It’s also hard to forecast success rates this spring, considering the terrible nesting season we had last year. Spring 2009 had far too much rain, diminishing hatching success and chick survival. Second-year jakes — males born last year — could be in shorter supply, though, making the hunt far more challenging. Wild Turkeys need a relatively dry nesting season for optimum reproduction. Hopefully they’ll get that this spring. Enough said!
I had my doubts about the spring season as well, listening to everyone make their predictions of this spring’s wild turkey population. I was hearing a good amount of early morning gobbling. This past Monday morning I put the accusations to rest as daylight approached and started to set up on a roosted gobbling tom. Before I ever set up I received a text from a friend who had a big bird on the ground already(21lbs). Less than 5 minutes after that another text, this one from one of my sons he too had a long beard on the ground(22lbs) .
I continued to my setup zone and got ready to call. The first call I made the big bird answered along with several hens cutting back at me. Less than 15 minutes later he and the hens were standing in range of my 870 and my hunt was over(24lbs).
I than sent out my own text of a successful hunt to my buddies and started to pack my bird out of the woods when received another text from my hunting partner hunting the same farm I was on, he had just dropped a big Missouri long beard sporting 5 beards. This bird would have probably been close to record book scoring but it had no Spurs!! What is up with this I thought? He just never grew any spurs, but he did weigh over 25 1/2lbs.
I guess mother nature wasn’t that bad on the Wild Turkey flock in our part of Missouri. We headed to the house, boiled the water, sharpened up the knives and butchered all of the birds.
I have been turkey hunting now for 37 years and every year is an anticipated high for me as the first blossoms start to appear. I make many trips afield to
hear the first gobbles of the morning in early spring as the sun is just starting to rise. For me turkey hunting has become an obsession to get outdoors and chase the infamous long beard around. In the last few years I have even challenged myself to hunt with archery equipment, that’s a whole new ballgame.
When daylight is breaking and the birds start gobbling I make my move to get as close as I dare staying in the shadows and close the wood lines avoiding my silhouette to be seen by a roosting tom. I set up in relatively open woods to allow the turkeys feel comfortable. After several minutes I will give a fly down sound to imitate the hen that I am trying to mock and do nothing more than purr and cluck to sound like I am feeding and scratching in the leaves for breakfast. Hunting turkeys is challenge in the sense they can see 90 percent around them without turning their head. not to mention their head is always moving. Start calling softly to get the big guys attention. if he answers, great I still call softly to get him more excited.This makes bow hunting extremely tough when they get close enough to shoot, which for me is inside of thirty yards. Hunting from a portable blind gives a slight edge to drawing my bow when the long beard struts into range.
I’ve found out the hard way that is close to impossible to sneak up on gobblers. Watch the way the birds are constantly moving their heads around, ever alert, and you will understand why stalking a gobbler rarely works.
Turkey hunting has long been among my favorite of the hunting sports because there are few things as thrilling as hearing a big tom gobbling away in the woods on a quiet, sunny morning. Especially if you can tell it is getting closer to you every time it he gobbles.
When a gobbler does start coming in, slow down your calling and make it softer, not louder or even quit calling so they come looking for you. You want to play hard to get for that tom, and sounding like you are too eager sends the wrong message and can get a mature bird too nervous and he will want the impatient hen to come to him.
Big gobblers don’t get to be old birds by being reckless.
Late winter brings makes for a dull time of year for most hunters, me included. I surf the net looking for places to hunt in the upcoming season. This map that shows the different species of the wild turkey and where they live. Doing this helps decide where to start looking for property to hunt on.
Several organizations are also preparing to have annual banquets to raise money for there cause. The “NWTF” National Wild Turkey Federation has been doing this for years. I am a firm supporter of the NWTF. They do alot for conservation and habitat for wild turkeys.
They are boasting they have helped increase the national turkey population from 1.5 million birds to more than 7 million. The NWTF website offers tons of information to review for anyone wanting to increase their knowledge of the wild turkey.
The ultimate goal of avid turkey hunters is to complete the Grand Slam of turkey hunting , which means harvesting all 5 species of wild turkeys. Chasing the Grand Slam starts in Florida with the Osceola moves north and east going after the Eastern which is typically the largest species of the five. The Rio Grande starts its population in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The Merriam turkey is sparsely spread through the Rocky Mountains. The last of the five North American Grand Slam is the Gould which is located in Mexico in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Use this time of year to do your research for your upcoming hunting season and remember the NWTF is stating the wild turkey population is at an all time high so you should be able to find a good place to hunt this spring.