Turkey Hunting Successes and Pics Please

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Nameless Hunter

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I’ve hunted wild pheasant in South Dakota and had so much fun. It was a driven hunt as described by an earlier poster, in a corn field with blockers at the end as walkers move toward the blockers through the field. As the walkers get closer to the end of the field the pheasant start to flush. All parties call out the sex of the bird because hens aren’t legal to shoot. Like,”hen hen hen ROOOSTERRRR!” And whoever has the best shot goes. It was great sport loved being out with family and the dogs. The pheasant are beautiful and great to eat. There’s a big family feast after cleaning the birds.

Turkey hunting is a different sport, I can actually see Feltwads point because of the brutality of turkey hunting. I acknowledge using an Excalibur or X-out is more sporting from a fair chase standpoint, but I personally find it distasteful. When you get down to it though, hunting is fairly brutal no matter how you slice it and ritual makes it culturally less gruesome. Unless you’ve lived a particular culture, you can’t judge harshly. I can say for certain that wild turkey, especially pressured birds on public land are a very worthy game and I would encourage any hunter to give it a try. It is both very challenging and a lot of fun.
Turkey hunting is a different sport? Why yes it is. It requires a lot more skill than just shooting at a bird flying by. A more in-depth knowledge of your prey is a must, in addition to a well developed skill in proper turkey calling. There are no dogs or blockers around to flush out a bird - it's just you and your ability to call in a bird - who will just as likely think your calling efforts are lacking and head in the opposite direction. You imply that only public land turkeys are any sort of challenge. Maybe that's true where you turkey hunt. I have never had an easy turkey hunt on private land. In fact, it's been quite the opposite - virtually all have been very cagey, and have required a lot of effort (and patience) to get one to come within shotgun range. I'm afraid I also don't get your comparison of turkey hunting being "brutal" while pheasant hunting is apparently just plain fun (and not brutal). A dead bird is a dead bird - and both taste good to me.
 

Ponderosaman

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I would submit that a harder hunt isn’t necessarily a better hunt. I used the X-out example because it is perfectly sportsmanlike and yet quite aesthetically displeasing to me. I think it is fair to say lopping a birds head off and hitting a bird with unseen shot are night and day aesthetically. If all we hunted for was the taste we could just buy our turkey or pheasant from the butcher. Concerning private land hunts, your response is the first time anyone I’ve spoken to or read that says private land hunts are harder, but I can’t share my experience about that since I’ve only ever hunted public land for turkey. Concerning your comments about what turkey hunting is i.e. good calling, knowledge of the animal etc. I agree with all of that. It seems strange to me that we would argue online about which hunt is better, more ethical, or more challenging. These are aspects of the hunt that would attract one hunter to the sport and repel another depending on their resources, personality or personal aesthetics and culture. Certain things bother me a great deal like if someone wants to shoot my tag or, as someone mentioned, shooting birds on the roost, or killing songbirds, but I’m not down on Feltwad for his pheasant drive hunt. Fact is, if I was in the UK I would love to experience first hand both Feltwad’s brand of hunting and Britsmoothy’s brand of hunting and am sure that both would be a journey and a learning experience. I genuinely feel that if Feltwad gave turkey hunting a fair shake, he might see the value in it, but if he didn’t I would respect that, it won’t change my experience of it any.
 

TGJaeger

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My Pedersoli Fowler. 20 gauge. 80 grains of FFg, 1 3/4 oz of #5 Head shot. Patterns great out to 35+ yards. Spot and stalk. about 20-25 yards
Just love taking a bird using spot and stalk! Especially when using a flintlock fowler...good job!

Is the barrel choked? How do you construct the load?
 

Ponderosaman

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Man, I got chewed a new one on here for even suggesting that stalking a turkey was a viable option without even advocating it.

Editing to say that I’m not bitter about it 🥲.
 
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Ponderosaman, like you I hunted pheasant's also in South Dakota on our back home from a Wyoming Antelope hunt. It was O.K. but nothing I would brag about, Four of the guys are die hard bird harvester's (notice I did not say hunters) and wanted to go. I always volunteered for the blocking position, I also hunt a quail preserve every February with the same group of fiends, is it sporting, I do not think so but I enjoy watching the dogs work and the commaradie amongst friends that I only get too see most of perhaps once or twice a year. I have hunted right near 55 years and never once looked at the taking of a animal as brutal, always respected the animal and try to be the best hunter I can. Guess it is all in the way one was raised and perceives the notion of what the real meaning of the hunt is.
 

Nameless Hunter

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I would submit that a harder hunt isn’t necessarily a better hunt. I used the X-out example because it is perfectly sportsmanlike and yet quite aesthetically displeasing to me. I think it is fair to say lopping a birds head off and hitting a bird with unseen shot are night and day aesthetically. If all we hunted for was the taste we could just buy our turkey or pheasant from the butcher. Concerning private land hunts, your response is the first time anyone I’ve spoken to or read that says private land hunts are harder, but I can’t share my experience about that since I’ve only ever hunted public land for turkey. Concerning your comments about what turkey hunting is i.e. good calling, knowledge of the animal etc. I agree with all of that. It seems strange to me that we would argue online about which hunt is better, more ethical, or more challenging. These are aspects of the hunt that would attract one hunter to the sport and repel another depending on their resources, personality or personal aesthetics and culture. Certain things bother me a great deal like if someone wants to shoot my tag or, as someone mentioned, shooting birds on the roost, or killing songbirds, but I’m not down on Feltwad for his pheasant drive hunt. Fact is, if I was in the UK I would love to experience first hand both Feltwad’s brand of hunting and Britsmoothy’s brand of hunting and am sure that both would be a journey and a learning experience. I genuinely feel that if Feltwad gave turkey hunting a fair shake, he might see the value in it, but if he didn’t I would respect that, it won’t change my experience of it any.
Never said hunting private land was harder. Just said it's not always easy. As far as one bird vs another, it's all good to me. Have to say that dove shoots are my absolute favorite for bird hunting with a group of friends.
 

Ponderosaman

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I came into hunting later in life. I quit smoking and my life felt banal and empty. My dad had a bad experience with deer hunting as a kid and so never really had positive feelings about it. After doing some trap shooting, it seemed natural to translate the fun of shooting into hunting. Formed during my childhood never having hunted, I’m sure I see it differently than someone who grew up hunting. When I kill something, I feel profoundly sad for the animal, extremely grateful for the sacrifice and exhilarated in the kill. The exhilaration a deep primal feeling. If there’s an abundance of animals, I feel perfectly fine with “harvesting” but do feel like it’s still hunting. It’s super important to me that the animal is not wasted though and there should be some ethics to be a good hunter as in not an evil hunter. The whole thing is such a privilege, but not a privilege from a government, but rather a privilege from the universe or God or Spaghetti Monster or whatever one believes. I know a lot of people don’t take it as seriously as I do, but that’s ok, so long as they are following the law. I also like dove hunting but do the majority of hunting by myself or with one friend.
 

THBailey

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"TH, that is a major bird! Did you get a weight on him?"

Did not. These Rio Grand turkeys max out at about 20 pounds or so. Carrying this guy out he seemed to be every bit of that.
 

Sparkitoff

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Posted this story elsewhere, but here's the photo for this thread. 20 Bore Pedersoli double, 1 ounce scoop FFFg, card wad, fibre wad, 1 ounce scoop of #5 shot and 7 BB's, over-shot card. Left barrel (says its M). Less than 10 feet from me. You see that little hole in the brush? I was in there and he walked right down the edge of that first shadow. I moved him into the sun for the photo.
Turkey 2021_Edit.jpg
 

dhaverstick

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Flintlock Heartbreak

Probably the best turkey hunting experience I've ever had resulted in ole Tom walking away to gobble another day. It happened during the spring of 2017. There was historic flooding in the Midwest that April and the excess water was partly the cause of my debacle.

I was hunting on our family farm in northern Shannon County, Missouri - a fine representation of Ozarks topography. Steep hills and deep hollers with hardwood forest all around. It was about 8:00 am and I was standing one the east side of our upper hay field trying to figure out what to do next. I had heard a few birds at daybreak but they shut up after flying down and I couldn't get anyone fired up enough to play with. I was about to walk back to my truck for a water break when I heard a tom gobble at the far south end of our middle field. Even though I couldn't see him, I knew exactly where he was. In the southeast corner of that field there is a little place that is surrounded by woods on three sides. Turkeys just love to do turkey things there and I knew he was there strutting his stuff for whoever was watching.

So I hiked the few hundred yards to my truck to hydrate and plan a course of action. Tom was still gobbling and I was pretty sure I could sneak down the east side of the field through the woods to get close enough to set up on him. That plan was changed about 20 yards from the truck when I encountered rice paddy conditions on that side of the field. Not wanting to swim to the bird, I decided to, instead, sneak all the way across to the west side of the field and then crawl out through some brush that sticks out on that side to within a hundred yards of my quarry.

I was able to crab walk the 200 yards across the field and stay low enough to not be seen but when I got to the brush over there I commenced to belly crawl the final 50 yards to my destination. It wasn't quite as wet on that side of the field but plenty enough so that when I got to the end of my cover, I was soaked through and Sweet Rachael, my 62 smoothbore, was covered in mud.

Of course, by the time I finally got to where I was going, the longbeard was gone but I knew he hadn't went far. On the east side of the field there is a tree covered hill that leads up to our neighbor's hay field. I knew he was up there trying to impress the ladies so I put some decoys out in our field and humped up under a cedar tree about 20 yards from them. My plan was to call him back down that hill and put an end to his day.

I finally got everything set up the way I wanted and starting calling. I had taken extra time to dry off Sweet Rachael the best I could. I had wiped the frizzen pan clean, picked the vent hole, and poured new powder in the pan. It would either go off or it wouldn't.

After my first series of calls, the bird answered but he wasn't that enthusiastic about it. I waited 20 minutes, called again, and this time I was answered, not by him, but by a tom so far away he might as well have phoned it in. All the way on the west side of the field, about 300 yards, is Barren Fork Creek, and across that creek is a ridge that is steep as a horse's face and right on top that ridge was that turkey. I nodded to him and said, "Yeah, I hear you." and didn't think much about it.

I continued to call in hopes of firing up the tom close to me but he had shut down. Meanwhile, that ridge top bird was going crazy so I started messing with him, more out of boredom than anything else. However, after about 30 minutes, I realized that, hey, that bird is getting closer. He had come off the ridge and was now close to the creek. I figured the odds of me calling him across that creek were slim to none but he was the only game in town so I kept calling to him.

After another 15 minutes or so of me and him going back and forth, I finally saw his blue head sticking up above the grass on the far side of the field. I couldn't believe it! I had called him a hundred yards and across a creek! The wind was picking up now so it was hard for him to course me so I started smacking my box call as hard as I could to get his attention.

Wouldn't you know it, he started walking the wrong way. Tom had walked probably 75 yards along the road on that side of the field before he finally figured out that his soon-to-be girlfriend was on the other side of the field. After another excruciating 10 minutes, he started crossing the field towards me. He wouldn't be able to see my decoys until he was about 50 yards out so I just kept calling and he kept answering. The whole time I'm thinking that I'm probably the greatest turkey caller that has ever lived to get this longbeard to come as far as he had. It's a wonder I didn't throw my arm out of socket what with all the back patting I was doing.

He went down in a little dip in the field and when he got on my side of it, he saw the decoys. Now he goes into full strut and starts doing that slow turkey shuffle towards my setup. It seemed like it took 3 hours for him to get within range but it couldn't have been more than 5 minutes. He showed off for my ladies a bit and then, suddenly, had that look on his face that something wasn't right. I knew he was fixing to bolt so as soon as he gave me a shot, I was taking it.

I had a bead on his neck the whole time he was strutting and as soon as he dropped out of strut and turned to run, I pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, only half of what I wanted to happen actually happened. The powder in the pan went "POOF!" but the barrel did not respond with the "BOOM!" it should have. The bird is still standing out there, looking around, and I am frantically trying to find my priming flask and dump more powder in the pan. I finally succeed at this task but now I am so rattled that I could not have hit that tom if he was 10 feet tall. My second trigger pull makes the gun go off but I did not touch a feather on that bird. He ran across the field the way he had come and I sat there dumbfounded about what had just transpired.

At first, I was just plain mad! I had worked so hard to get that gobbler within range only to be let down by my equipment. I couldn't believe it! And then, after another couple of minutes, I settled down and realized that I was looking at this all wrong. No one forced me to hunt with a primitive firearm. I have a perfectly good Benelli Nova in my gun cabinet that I could have used. No, I had made the choice to make things a bit more challenging and suffered the consequences of that choice. And besides, right up until my gun didn't go off, I had experienced the best turkey hunt of my life. If anything, that tidbit just made the story I was going to tell just that much better. Regardless of whether there was a dead turkey at the end of it, I still had accomplished an amazing feat.

Darren
 

McClura

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Great photos and stories. Wish I had some stories with my smoke poles but have only hunted with my home made Osage Selfbows and longbow lately.
I didn't know if those photos would be appropriate on this site.
Keep on posting your stories. I might have to dust off my 12 gauge side x side that I built from a kit in 1981. It really likes 80 grains of 2F, over powder card, felt wad, over wad card, and I cut the top from a 3" Remington Turkey load and pour the #5's in the barrel and a over shot wad. Great patterns out to 20 or so yards.
Mike
 

Ponderosaman

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Lot of flowery virtue signaling going on. PFFT!
Robby
Virtue signaling describes a coin that has two heads. The real flip side of the coin is when someone on social media posts looking for validation, they are equally likely to have their “virtue” challenged. Flowery or not.
 

Robby

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Well, it certainly hit its' mark now, didn't it.
Robby
 

dhaverstick

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A couple of trophy photos with Sweet Rachael. 42" Colerain turkey choked barrel in 62 caliber, left-handed large Siler lock. I used 75 grains FFF, one overpowder card, 1/4" lubed wad, 1.5 oz. #6 chilled lead shot, 1 overshot card.





Here's one with Ole Betsy. 42" Colerain cylinder bore barrel in .72 caliber, left-handed large Siler lock. I used 80 grains FFF, one overpowder card, 1/4" lubed wad, 1.5 oz. #6 chilled lead shot in a paper shot cup, 1 overshot card.



Darren
 
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