Fall vs Spring

Tominator

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Do you feel that you learn more about turkeys and turkey hunting during the spring or the fall? I've never hunted them in fall, so I'm curious. Also, how do you hunt them in fall, do you specifically target turkeys or take them while deer hunting if they happen by in range?
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Lankyman

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Tominator,

From the few years that I got to hunt them in the fall back in the 1980's, I feel that from the vocalization standpoint, you can learn a lot more general turkey sounds in the fall.  With the young birds & hens flocked together, the birds call between each other all during the day.  I have heard a wider variety of calls in the fall.  Not only do you get to hear the kee-kee, you can hear the assembly calls of the ol' boss hens.  Within the past 5 or 10 years, I have had a couple of fall deer seasons where I have heard more birds gobble in October, November & December than I heard the previous April.  

The times that I have been able to hunt fall turkeys, I have only pursued the birds, not anything else at the same time.  I wish that SC would allow fall hunting again.  It is an awesome experience to get on a flock of 30 or 40+ birds & just listen to them plowing through the oaks like a noisy herd of elephants.  They can make enough racket to almost give you a headache; but, that is a good problem to have.  :bgaqua:

During the previous fall seasons in SC, you could use your time deer hunting in October & November to kind of scout out places that have turkeys flocked-up in there.  Often they will check stands of hardwoods & oaks.  If you can find some good acorns that are still on the ground during the fall season, you have found a gold mine as far as I am concerned.  Because the turkeys will find them & repeatedly come to the area until all of the acorns are gone or someone runs them off.  Even if someone spooks them, they can't stay away from the oaks for long.  I have noticed SC that they do not stay in the bottoms as much during the fall as in the spring.  I think that has a lot to do with in the fall, there is not any fresh green grass for them to eat & the fall swamp grass does not hold as many insects as in the spring.  

I have taken 2 hens in the fall.  Both were taken the same afternoon in the fall of 1986, I think.  My dad found the flock of birds earlier in the week & got a long beard & a jake.  We over slept on Saturday morning & didn't leave the house in Greenville until 10 or 11 AM.  It was after lunch once we got down to Newberry County.  I eased out the old logging road to where my dad got his birds earlier in the week & I didn't hear or see any birds.  I eased on down the edge of the clear cut to an oak hump above the swamp bottom.  I was set-up about 1:30 or 2 PM.  I called off & on for over an hour.  At about 3:15 PM, I started hearing something in the leaves.  The closer it got, the further up my throat my heart climbed.  It was beating a hundred miles an hour.  I could feel each heart beat in each eardrum.  They were feeding up the edge of the oak hump.  In the direction that they were coming from, I could only see about 20 yards.  I knew that once they popped into view that I had to be ready.  Well up popped two heads at the same time at 20 yards, one was angled to the left of the hump & one was angled to the right of the hump.  Unfortunately, I had the gun pointed in between them.  They stood there for about 15 seconds & knew that something was not right.  Both of them dropped their heads & turned back down the ridge & took off.  Once they took to flight, the rest of the flock started spooking.  One hen flew straight up & away from me.  I took the safety off & fired once & missed.  I ready the gun again & fired a second time.  She dropped like a ton of bricks.  I was amazed that I had gotten her & I didn't think about shooting again.  You could take two in one day in SC.  When I fired the second time, the sky turned black with wings.  Just over the hump below me was a flock of at least 40 - 50 birds.  I had never seen that many wild birds in one place at the same time.  Birds were flying in every direction.  Some of them only went about 100 yards & lit in trees & watched me as I walked up & retrieved my first hen.  Once I calmed down from almost hyperventilating, I picked her up & got back to my tree quickly.  I still had about 2:30 minutes before my dad and brother were coming back to get me.  I started giving the long series of the assembly calls.  After about the third or fourth series, I finally started getting some responses.  There were birds all around me answering me.  There was one bird that was fairly close to me, within 150 yards.  Every time it would call, I would answer it with the exact series that it did before.  I could tell that the bird was coming in.  I got ready but noticed that I had a decent sized cedar tree that was blown down on the edge of the ridge about 30 yards away from me.  The bird was coming up directly on the other side of it so I got ready for it to come around it on one end or the other of the tree.  But NO!!!!  That would be too simple.  The bird gets to the cedar tree & I can tell that it is close.  It calls & I know that it is standing on the other side of the tree.  Suddenly, I catch movement.  The bird thinks that it was General George S. Patton crossing the Rhine in WWII or something.  The bird just plowed right over the cedar tree like it was not even there.  It was a hen.  She popped out over the tree & stopped at 25 yards, looking right at me.  She could tell that something was not like it should be.  She slowly walked away at 45 degrees to my left clucking softly as she went.  When she went behind a large pine tree, I pulled my gun around & took off the safety.  When she eased out from behind it, she was met with a load of Federal Premium #6s.  She went down right there.  I went & picked her up & walked back to my tree.  I sat there admiring the beauty of both birds while I waited for my dad & brother.  Not bad for a 14 year-old.  They came to get me about 30 minutes before dark.  They walked up to the top of the hill & there were still birds calling around them from when I had busted the flock earlier in the afternoon.  It was awesome hunt, especially because I got both of them with the first shotgun that I bought with money that I earned.  It is a small artillery piece - a Marlin Model 55 Bolt-Action Goose Gun with a 36" full choked barrel.  The magazine holds 2 rounds with one in the chamber.  It is an awesome gun with a great tight pattern, but it is a handful to try to navigate through the woods with a 36" barrel.  It is like taking a telephone pole with you in the woods.  

Glen, I hope that helps some.  They are a lot of fun to hunt in the fall.  I am kind of torn as to which I would prefer to hunt, Spring or Fall.  Both of them are great hunting experiences.  I hope that SC has both soon again.  
 

Mailman

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Hen vocalizations fill the woods in the fall in PA.I have learned more in the fall about food sources and travel routes of the turkey.It is not hard to follow the scrathings of 20 or more turkeys.I have also tracked turkeys many of times in the snows of the north.Turkeys would generally hit several food sources in a day in a fresh snow.The flock would travel from the oak ridges to the open fields and to the thickets and vines scratching most of the day.Flocks would often circle back to these spots several times during the day.Also,break up a flock of birds and within minutes,turkeys are calling throughout the woods.There is nothing like spring hunting and I would never give it up but much can be taken from the fall season.
 

Mossy Beard

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Living in Pa. and hunting turkeys both Spring and Fall since the late 60's , Spring and Fall are great experiences.
In the Fall , turkeys can be patterned much like deer. If you do your homework,you'll find them.
Always love bustin' some late in the eve, spending a restless nite, then heading to that spot in the am.Usually, there's no better place in the state to be than right there...
You can hear every sound , at times, a turkey makes in the fall. (and some you didn't know they make )

Mossy Beard
 

Team Turpin

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Tennessee has only had a fall season now for the last 4 years and I am beginning to love it more than the spring. I have killed some nice birds and some young ones too but there is something about that time of year and busting up a big flock and pulling that turpin yelper out and kee keeing them back together.
 

GobbleGig

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When the Fall turkey season rolls around here in PA, I put away the deer bow and break out the turkey shotgun. I hunt strictly for turkey until I get one or run out of season. The turkey populations in northern PA have been as good in recent years as I can remember so I usally can get into some birds each Fall. In simple terms, I rely on my eyes in the Fall and my ears in the Spring as far as locating birds goes. Calling them in can be as much fun in the Fall as it is in the Spring.
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spectr17

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I'd say I learn more in the fall. They seem to talk more and to me it's a more laid back time of hunting. There is no pressure to get a gobbler roosted or call him in before someone else gets on him.

Lankyman, does that big ole gun have wheels.
I hunted with a little short guy for a time in Missouri and he had this big Ithaca 10 ga he called his artillery gun too. The gun was taller than he was.

Tominator, you need to get out for a fall hunt, you'd be hooked. Check out what your air fares are to Las Vegas NV. From there you're 3 hours from some of the best Merriams fall hunting on the north rim of the Grand Canyon AZ. Tag is $113. You get to Vegas and we can pick you up on the way.
 


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