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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to turkey hunting. I have hunted everything there is to hunt around Winona. Last year a buddy and I decided we were going to go turkey hunting. We got up before sunrise and walked the ridges hitting an owl call before daylight. Then a crow call as soon as the sun was coming up. Is that the correct thing to do? As y'all already know Winona is full of ridges and valleys. What is the best way to approach the birds? Should you start hitting locaters at the tops of ridges or start at the bottom and figure out where to go from there. I know the first key to it is to get far away from everyone as possible. I am just not sure how all the tricks work (or supposed to work)? I am ready to take my first bird, and yes I understand the elousive booger could take me a decade to get. Just wanted to not start out turkey hunting the wrong way. During deer season I could have popped a ton of them. I know about being still and try not to over call the birds. I have 2 hen decoys. Should I put a strutting tom in the spread? I would really like to learn by going with someone but since I dont know anyone personally I guess I will learn on my own just like everything else. Your help is greatly appreciated!
 

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As some of us have stated in other posts, I'd be awful leary about putting any decoy out on public land and that's especially true for a gobbler decoy.
 

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JJarvis I by far aint no expert still learning myself! But the last time I hunted Winona when I returned to my truck 2 more trucks were parked behind me and I couldnt even get out:smack: I have a seen a huge increase in turkey hunting the last 5 years so I have had to change tactics- them gobblers know what it means when that gravel starts popping under them truck tires and I think they react different- 1st get to practice using your calls and get comfortable with it, then go out before season dont call to em- that will edumacate them but try to locate yourself several birds I like to roost a few myself before season so as I know where a few are- if you aint afraid of walking get you a map and get as far off those gravel roads as you can and then do your scouting a vocal bird on a ridge next to a road want do you any good if 10 different folks are after the same bird and believe in Winona that happens allot if you are near any road:smack: I have seen ole Toms hightail it away to some mighty fine calling and I have seen em come running in to some terrible calling so allot depends on that ole toms mood I guess- get back in there locate you a few birds- better yet find a strut zone and come spring we will see you on here posing with a longbeard:thumb: Good luck and most of all Be SAFE! And as Arkie said leave them decoys in the truck you can do just fine without em!
 

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I remember a golfing movie. Dont remeber the name. But a guy in it asked this golf pro if he could give him some pointers on how to improve his game.
The golf pro looked at him and simply said: "yes, take two weeks off from the game, and then quit.":biggrin:

Seriously. You will do better if you throw the locator calls away and wait for a real owl, crow, wooduck, whatever to make them gobble for you. If you are on public land, they have already heard all the locator calls they need to.
Cant beat the real thing. Well, you can. I can call up owls with my voice, but hey, Im gifted! :thumb:

That is the only secret I will give up. :wink:
 

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First off go listen before season, like bruin said just let them gobble naturally, and like bubba said theres no need to concentrate on the close to the road turkeys.

Staying on top of the ridges will allow you to hear more. Look for scratching and strutt zones.

The best adivce I can give you is not to give up, Winona is heavily hunted and them turkeys get smart quick, but that don't mean they can't be killed.

Good luck
 

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There is some good advice on here but i might add you might try those high pressured turkeys mid day from like 10-3 when most hunters are not in the woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well it looks like Im leaving the dekes in the truck. I have 2 different maps of Winona that have been helpful for years. I dont mind walking. Thats about the only way to take anything out of there! I like to go where you cant hear the trucks on gravel or atvs! I know what the scratches look like but what would be considered a strut zone? Guess thats my next research project. Thanks for the help!
 

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Well it looks like Im leaving the dekes in the truck. I have 2 different maps of Winona that have been helpful for years. I dont mind walking. Thats about the only way to take anything out of there! I like to go where you cant hear the trucks on gravel or atvs! I know what the scratches look like but what would be considered a strut zone? Guess thats my next research project. Thanks for the help!
A strut zone could be anywhere, but typically in an open area. Most gobblers have certain places they go to each day in hopes of finding hens. Typical strut zones would be a old unused road, fields, a small mound that is clear, ridge tops, etc...What you are looking for is a place that has Strut marks which are made from the wing tips of the gobbler. It will almost look like where someone has taken a hard rake and ran it across the ground.
 

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I know turkey hunters who've been hunting a long time and don't want to stay out after about nine (peak gobbling's over by then). I don't hunt public land much if at all, but I kill more turkeys between 10 am and 3pm than any other time of day. Gobbling turkeys that are working to a call. Folks get all fuzzed up cause it's not "classic" turkey hunting cause of the time of day, but I'd bet if you'll chase them till 2 and kill a gobbling turkey you'll be OK with that. Stay with them, walk a lot, don't be afraid to screw it all up cause you'll learn from that. GO BY YOURSELF. You don't need somebody walking along telling you what to do. You'll just repeat their mistakes. That's unless you get somebody that really know's what they're doing. Figuring out the difference between somebody that knows and a know it all is tough. One other thing...learn what a hens cadence sounds like when she's yelping. They're all a little different, but there's definitely a rhythm to it and if you'll listen most hunters have no cadence at all. Just a bunch of fine yelps but no cadence. All this and 25 cents will get you...nothing.
 

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I grew up hunting in Winona and know the hunting pressure it receives. As some have stated, I agree that locator calls, etc. should be used at a minimun if at all. This early would be ok, but the closer season comes I would abandon them.

Think unconventional sometimes when it comes to hunting the Ouachitas. Don't overlook those taller pine thickets and frailed areas. Alot of people pass those up because they don't look like prestine hardwood habitat. However, those turkeys can find all the bugs, etc. and the nesting cover is prime.

If I could give any advice on calling to public land turkeys, even in Winona, from my experiences it would be as follows: Err on the side of caution. Call softly for the most part (less is more). Think about what you intend to say with your call & don't just follow the same routine for hours. Thus said, don't be afraid to call aggressive (when the time is right!!!!) Don't think this is a contradiction to the sentences above, because it is not. I have killed quite a few turkeys and seen quite a few turkeys killed that WOULD NOT have been killed had we not cutt, etc. at. It is something probably only experience will teach, but you will get the sense on when the time is right to get aggressive, and it can be derived on how the turkey is responding and the mood he seems to be in. Silence can be the deadliest call to make sometimes. If I get a turkey gobbling that won't seem to budge, I will shut the calling off and not make a call, sometimes scratch and the leaves and sometimes I don't. Often times it will be more than the gobbler can take.

The good thing about hunting the mountains is the opportunity to use the terrain. Don't be afraid to move on a turkey if it is safe and many times those sharp legs that drop off of a mountain will allow you to do that. I have moved and set up as many as 8 different times to call in and kill a turkey. Just use the woodsmanship you do when deer hunting and you should be fine.

As far as scouting goes, I try to cover more ground earlier in the year and hear more turkeys. On public you can never have too many back up places. Then as the season nears figure out where you intend to hunt and spend the majority of your time listening in that area and get a feel for what the turkeys are doing. But, don't be suprised to see very few people scout and opening day be a madhouse. Some people never scout, which for me is ALMOST as much fun as the hunting.

Hope my .02 cents helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks fellas! Just as good or maybe better then reading a book or magazine about turkey hunting. I am all stoked about going. I am going up there this weekend to camp out and do some hard walking. As usual. Winona is a little ways from my house but it has always been considered my home since I was a little kid! Thanks!! :thumb: :thumb:
 
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