Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category

That’s ‘5’ as in ‘5 years now, and counting.’  I’m not done this year, but at this point, I’ve started thinking about turkey hunting more in terms of ‘how far am I going to hike with my Remington 1100 today?’

I hit Paulding Forest both days last weekend, Saturday I hunted north of highway 278, Sunday I headed south of the highway.  I didn’t hear a bird on Saturday, but I did find a couple of sets of tracks and dust wallows.  I also  practiced with my handheld GPS: I’ve had the unit for years (it’s a Garmin eTrex about eight years old,) but never really used it or studied how to use it properly, so shame on me for not learning how to use a good piece of gear.  I also took my Remington 1100, a pair of VERY CHEAP decoys, a slate-style call and water.

Saturday, I followed the WMA ranger road for roughly a mile, calling softly every few minutes to see if I could get a gobble, with no luck.  At the end of that particular road, I hiked out to a point where I could sit and call into the bottom.

Nothing.

After an hour and a half, I used the GPS to navigate back to the truck using the most direct route.  I had started my fitness app on the phone when I left the truck, and paused it every time I stopped, at the end of going up and down all of those hollows, my fitness app told me I burned 2,190 calories.  My legs told me they wanted a divorce. (If you don’t know me personally, I look like the result of Sasquatch going on an all pizza diet for a decade. Yes, I can probably curl an economy car, but anyone who can sprint would easily get away if I was chasing them. 🙂 )

So, I consulted with my Paulding Forest WMA expert, and he said ‘you look tired.’ *insert drumroll here* – Just kidding, he said to scout SOUTH of 278 because the hunting pressure is much lighter on that side of the highway.   So Sunday, that’s where I hunted.

After finding a WMA marker (which is somewhat difficult in places), near a small power line, I decided to pop out of the truck and walk into the woods for a bit.

I would like to point out, both days I entered the woods after dawn – I like to get into the woods an hour BEFORE dawn, but when I don’t know a location, I don’t like taking the risk of an injury, or screwing up somebody else’s hunt, or even ending up on the wrong side of a property line.  Being safe, courteous, and legal is more important to me than what time I get in the woods.

So the power line was a small one, single pole, maybe three actual cables, it doesn’t show up on the WMA maps I printed, and it wasn’t what we think of as a power line cut here in Georgia, which are usually large enough to park an aircraft carrier inside of without touching the trees on either side.  I started walking down the hill, and immediately found wildlife.

Turtle_Paulding_forest

Just after taking the photograph, I heard a gobble, and my heart started thumping.  Working quickly and quietly, I moved to a bend in the cut and set up my hen and jake decoys, then found a patch of thorn bushes to sit behind where I could see and shoot if I had the opportunity.

I hit my slate call with a few clucks, and three gobblers responded.  Three.  One across the road behind the strip of woods behind me, one down the hollow that was a fair distance away, and one that sounded remarkably close.  I waited forever (three or four minutes) and hit the call again, more aggressively this time, and again, three gobblers responded immediately.  I should point out that my skill at using a turkey call is minimal.  As in ‘I can get it to make noises that sound turkey-like.’  For all I know, what the gobblers were hearing is ‘Bug water tree rock! Fat leaf dirt dirt!’ instead of ‘Hey big boys!’

Based on an hour and a half of calling, and an hour and fifteen minutes of gobblers responding, I’m pretty sure I confused all three of the birds to no end.  Yes, I’m sure these weren’t other hunters, the chances of three other hunters ONLY using gobble calls, in those three directions, are very slight.

An hour after the gobblers stopped responding, I decided to pick up the decoys and wander down the hollow to see if I could either tease a gobble after moving a few hundred yards, or locate some tracks or other game sign for information.  I did find some interesting spots in the little creek bottom, but no sign of turkey or other critters.

But there’s always next week.

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Well, I finally managed to get in the woods during turkey season.  I planned to go to Paulding Forest WMA (the closest WMA to my home) last Saturday, and the plan was simple – get up at the same time I get up for work (4:50 am or so), jump in the truck and head to an area of the WMA that I know well enough to walk in with just a headlamp and set up my decoys.

Life happened, and I had to stay at the house until 8 am.  By the time I drove up to Paulding, there was a truck everywhere I wanted to park, so I thought ‘why not go on to JL Lester WMA?’  I had never been there, it’s not that far away from Paulding Forest, and may not have as many hunters.

So I drove the extra half hour or so, found the WMA, spent another fifteen minutes explaining to a nice older man that ‘open to fishing’ meant ‘open to fishing,’ then headed into the WMA.  I found an area that looked good, set up my decoys and called, but never did hear or see anything.

Keep in mind: it was probably 10am by the time I put decoys out, my expectations were not high.  So after an hour and a half, I picked up my decoys and just started hiking the WMA to take a look around.  I probably spent an hour to an hour and a half meandering around slowly and quietly, looking at deer tracks (many), looking for turkey sign (none in the bit I walked), and in general just scouting about.

It was a nice relaxing afternoon.

Map

The red circle is the area I scouted – lots of deer sign, almost no turkey sign that morning.

Next time, I think I’ll follow the creek up to the bigger lake to the east.

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**Update** And 2016 claims Carrie Fisher as well.

So.. my 2016 goal was to get back to being an outdoorsman, and the only way to chalk that up as a win is to compare 2016 to 2015 and 2014, in which case I succeeded.  I still didn’t get out nearly as much as I wanted to or expected to, not once did I go fishing, so far no small game hunting (though if I hadn’t fallen ill over the holiday week, I would have spent yesterday squirrel hunting with Gretchen and Cinders.  I wouldn’t have actually expected to get any squirrels, or if I did get them, manage to get them INTACT, since Gretchen thinks ‘all squirrels are mine,’ but it would have been fun.)

pic_0001

Gretchen and Cinders when they were young.  Cinders played with toys, Gretchen would tackle him.

I did get a nice hog in January, and managed to see a nice number of deer this November,  including a stunning buck, the deer just happened to be where I can’t hunt them.   I managed three or four hikes, but that was my goal per month, not for the whole year.

We lost my father-in-law, unexpectedly young (early 60’s), which was devastating to the family: Dennis was so cool, whenever the wife and I would dream out loud about taking a vacation across Canada by train, or going to Yellowstone, Ireland, wherever, we were always including how much Dennis would enjoy it.

The world lost a vast number of celebrities of various types this year, and since George Michael passed away Christmas Day, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed for the next few days to get out of 2016 with what the world has now.

So, back to the outdoors: once again, I’m going to try to ramp up my outdoor activities in 2017.  I have six points saved for an alligator tag here in Georgia, so that should come to fruition this year, and I look forward to figuring out how that will work.  I finally have a camper shell on my truck, so taking the Woofs to outdoor adventures should be easily accomplished, and my daughter is 18 and driving, so that’s no longer on my plate.

The property in south Georgia is covered in turkey, so in a few short months, I should be able to, once again, be totally frustrated and skunked by the antics of the mighty Thunder Chicken.  For me, turkey hunting feels like those old comedy gags where there is a chase scene in a long hallway with doors everywhere, and people are going into and out of doors in a random sequence where they can never catch who they are chasing, but the people being chased can never seem to quite get away either.

Fishing will happen, even if I just have to go find a public lake and put a worm on a hook.

I also need to find property where I can fossil hunt – I haven’t done that since I was a kid, and it might be a way to lure the reclusive Wife out of the house.   She still thinks armadillos are these flat things on the side of highways.  I told her the fastest way to find an armadillo is to go deer hunting near hardwoods, where the leaves are good and crunchy, but she doesn’t believe me.

So, all in all, farewell 2016.  Here is to hoping 2017 is a better place for everyone, everywhere.

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Went back to the hogs-only property for a few hours yesterday to scout a new area. Saw more deer (4-6, they were a couple of hundred yards away in high grass) and thunder chickens, an actually saw some decent hog sign, but I didn’t spot any hogs.

For 2016 – the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is instituting a game check system: all turkey and deer MUST be entered on your harvest record and checked through the Game Check system within 72 hours.

 

I also see two new Wildlife Management Areas and a new Outdoors Georgia app.

The new WMA’s are Altama Plantation, “The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently announced the opening of a 3,986-acre tract in Glynn County along I-95 and the Altamaha River, known as Altama Plantation WMA.” (GON.com, Jan 7 2016 )and Buck Shoals WMA. (The only ‘good’ information on Buck Shoals that I can find is above in the PDF.)

 

 

(Sorry I’ve been absent lately, much to do and little time to do it in.)

It’s that time of year again: time to put in for quota hunts or add to your preference points!

GeorgiaDNR

Click to go to the Georgia DNR Quota Hunt page

Remember – if you just want to build preference points, select a quota hunt, but don’t select a hunt choice – the system will automatically add a preference point to your account after the close of open registration.

Georgia Outdoor News

click to go to GON.com

By Daryl Kirby
Posted Thursday May 28 2015, 8:47 AM

Sportsmen are being asked to support efforts to raise hunting and fishing license fees. DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) has cut services to sportsmen over the years because of mandated budget cuts, and WRD says more money would allow the agency to return those services and also enhance and start new efforts.

Georgia’s resident license fees haven’t increased since 1992, and Georgia’s current fees are either the least expensive or close to it in every category among 16 Southeastern states.

So far there are no specific details on what programs WRD might implement to help hunters and anglers, but sportsmen are encouraged to give their opinions on a license-fee increase and what they’d like to see WRD do with additional funding.

Seven open meetings are being held this month. Sportsmen should certainly attend. It’s your money.

Read the rest of the article at GON.com

(Here are the meetings scheduled)

WRD License-Fee Open Meetings

All meetings 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

June 15: Gainesville Civic Center
Chattahoochee Room, 830 Green Street NE, Gainesville, GA 30501

June 16: Baxley City Hall
City Council Meeting Room, 282 East Parker Street, Baxley, GA 31513

June 17: Richmond Hill City Center
520 Cedar Street (in J.F. Gregory Park), Richmond Hill, GA 31324

June 22: Grace Fellowship Church
1971 South Main Street, Greensboro, GA 30642

June 23: Red Top Mtn State Park
Group Shelter #1, 50 Lodge Road SE, Cartersville, GA 30121

June 24: Darton College
Room J121-123, 2400 Gillionville Road, Albany, GA 31707

June 25: Miller-Murphy-Howard Building Conference Room, Georgia National Fairgrounds
401 Larry Walker Parkway, (Exit 135 off I-75), Perry, GA 31069

From the Winchester Blog

By MELISSA BACHMAN |

Click to view the Winchester Blog article

Click to view the Winchester Blog article

I’ll be the first to admit that I usually carry too much gear whether I’m turkey hunting or deer hunting. Over the years, however, I’ve learned having a few essential items in the vest at all times can make a hunt not only more enjoyable, but more successful as well. This is all subjective, but here are the items I can’t live without when hitting the turkey woods each spring.

  1. Predator Call- One item I never leave home without is a predator call. I absolutely love to predator hunt as well, and I can’t count the number of coyotes I’ve spotted while turkey hunting. For this reason, my predator call is never far away and I get just as excited about calling in a coyote as I do a turkey
  2. Permetherin Spray- If there is one thing I can count on throughout the spring turkey season, has to be the presence of ticks. I don’t have much of a problem with snakes or spiders or many other critters, but ticks I hate. In my opinion, they invade my space plus they’re absolutely full of disease. Permethrin_with_BottleThere are many things you can do to try and prevent getting ticks on you, but I’ve found spraying my clothing with Permetherin Spray prior to my hunt is a huge help. The important thing is to just spray your clothes and not get it on your skin, but it is truly amazing how well it works.
  3. LongBeard XR- Winchester has always been known for their innovative products. But with Longbeard XR they truly put their time, effort and research into creating one of the most effective turkey hunting loads on the market. For long range shooting it’s second to none.This is all possible because of the Shot-Lok technology that protects the shot during the in-bore acceleration, which in turn
    gives you tight long-range patterns. For example, at 60-yards you’ll get twice the number of pellets in a 10-inch circle, which makes this one impressive load!

For the rest of the list – visit the Winchester Blog

 

Sorry, I’ve been in the woods or on the road the last few days, hunting turkey with some friends.

We’ve seen three, one decent gobbler and two unknowns.   Yesterday morning, we spread out on a powerline south of Douglasville, with one decoy out on a hilltop, and started calling.  Immediately, a bird gobbled back at us.  Just after first light, he flew down about eighty yards from my buddy’s son, stretched, and *POOF* started strutting.   Then he calmly walked away.   About fifteen minutes later, I saw two birds on my side of the hill, about a hundred yards away, leave the woods and slowly walk across the hill into the woods on the other side, but the sun was coming up in that direction, so I could only see their silhouettes.  We called for a bit, moved, called, moved called, but we couldn’t get the gobbler to respond again, and the two that walked across didn’t step anywhere where we could check the tracks.

But we had a good time.

We’re going to hit that same spot in a few days, adjusting our position to see if we can ambush the gobbler when he comes off of the roost.

Hope everybody is having a fun, SAFE turkey season!

hni-turkey-decoys

Image property of Hunting.net

I was at Gable Sporting Goods this morning to talk to Clay about archery (shocking, I know) and we had several folks show up to get their birds measured for the West Georgia Longbeard Challenge, so I snapped a few photos:

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