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Thread: Where are the Turkeys?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    18

    Default Where are the Turkeys?

    First time hunting WMA land for Turkeys. Have not heard a single bird yet. Area we knew there were some birds got burned a couple days before we could hunt it. Have covered miles of land. Only seen 2 hens. Have hunted Turkeys for 3 years since moving here (about 20 years hunting Turkey), and have only heard 2 gobbles. One of them died. Do they not gobble much down here in SC? Do they need to be hunted more like deer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Greenville
    Posts
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    Default

    ...used to be easy...used to gobble more...coyotes...coyotes...coyotes...we had a chance opening day...didn't pull the trigger and should have...thought they would come closer. This past Wednesday AM - gobbled their brains out - UNTIL THEY FLEW DOWN...then quiet city...coyotes coyotes coyotes...

    I'm not even interested in debating anyone nor do I care how coyotes arrived in South Carolina but mark my word, turkey hunting in South Carolina will no longer produce hunters, revenue for conservation nor a wonderful exciting hunting experience like it used to be. Our camp is void of turkey hunters - three guys this weekend showed up - used to be like a State Fair the 1st two Saturdays of Turkey Season.

    We didn't hear a bird today (were they there? sure...but turkey hunting has always been so much fun because they let you know where they are - my youngest son loved turkey season - not so anymore - no one enjoys deer hunting them - have we? sure...will I much anymore...can't say I will - will just go fishing instead.

    Coyotes...coyotes...coyotes...they did what PETA and other organizations could not...in a VERY SHORT fashion...

    P.S. - my pals are starting to "deer hunt" them...I'm afraid that will be the future...and with the old-timers aging out, younger folks just aren't going to invest the time to "deer hunt" turkeys when they can be fishing instead...unfortunately, after the last two walkabouts scouting for future "deer spots"...I am seriously considering giving up on turkey hunting...shame really...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Ash, NC (hunting Horry County, SC)
    Posts
    892

    Default

    You have to know where they are and where they want to go next. Keep hunting them like deer until you figure out where they like to roost, where they cross at what hour of the day, etc. South Carolina turkeys gobble plenty. I once spent an entire season of Saturdays and an Easter Weekend in thick with gobblers on less than 150 acres of tall pines and various logging decks. We killed two of them about a week apart and saw and heard gobblers ever trip to the woods.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Under the Roost
    Posts
    1,472

    Default

    You do not have to deer hunt turkeys. Turkeys will do what turkeys will do and gobble, collect hens and be sexually driven during the spring. Saying otherwise is nonsense.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    18

    Default

    My worry is my son and daughter seem to be losing interest. If they have to be hunted like deer then we might as well throw away our calls. All the time spent trying to talk turkey would be a waste. It is also tough only being able to hunt Saturday when the kids are in school m-f and I have to work.

    There are a lot of trout to be caught too.

    Enough complaining, its not suppose to be easy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Lowcountry
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    1,059

    Default

    They arenít suppose to gobble all the time. Or even most of the time. Thatís why they call it hunting folks! I get a thrill out of hunting nongobbling turkeys because I know hard smart hunting will yield results at some point. Go kill some coons and coyotes, get mad at them and start trapping. I get mad at nongobbling turkeys...so mad that I wait em out and kill them all the same.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also problem ain’t the birds. It’s the generation. I hunted years before my first bird. Years. And hunted harder when I killed him then when I started.
    Infamous Beard Buster

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    upstate sc
    Posts
    298

    Default

    Plenty of birds in SC, and plenty of gobbling, just not all the time. So many coyotes definitely have an affect of the amount of gobbling. What affects them more is peoples lack of woodsmanship in general. (Not pointing the finger at the OP) Riding 4 wheelers to and from blinds, running around in circles checking cameras on every other tree. Then multiply that by however many turkey hunters in the area. A lot of people don't/wont or can't put the time or leg work in to be more successful. I have always walked in and tried to go roost birds in the evening, stay till late enough they cant see me leave, and return the next morning well before daylight to set up close. But roosted aint roasted. But its alot LESS pressure. Many of times I have stood there before daylight waiting on that first gobble and had a 4 wheeler go right past me and not hear a gobble where I had heard 3 or 4 the evening before. People walking thru fields to get to a spot, trucks shining in the sun, all equal pressure. As far as WMA land, I've killed a bunch of birds on it. A place either has turkeys on it or it doesn't. If I don't hear any gobbling, I scout every inch of it I can. If fresh sign is there, the birds are there, maybe just not gobbling at the time. Predation has alot to do with the population. Coons and possums are nest raiders and kill many more turkey eggs than any coyote will. Something to think about if your on a club that wont let people coon hunt. Trappers cost money...coon hunters will pay you money. Turkey hunters used to have the strongest of ethics, don't shoot them off a limb (ever), don't shoot jakes (unless a kid or 1st bird), no crawling on a bird, don't kill doubles, don't bushwhack birds, no blinds, tree stands or condo's. Call them in fair and square and kill them. Peoples hunting habits have changed and so have the birds. But they are there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Indian Land, SC
    Posts
    320

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    Where I hunt the turkeys are still gobbling early then after fly down for a bit. Problem right now is they are all henned up. They are there just strutting all day following hens around Iíve watched them and couldnít buy a gobble from them. Mid April is always a tough hunt at my club.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Pickens SC
    Posts
    322

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    I don't turkey hunt anymore,but I see turkeys almost every day in pastures and fields.A utilities company dug up someones yard down the road and hydro seeded the grass.Next day there was a big tom scratching through it, I assume eating the grass seed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Ash, NC (hunting Horry County, SC)
    Posts
    892

    Default

    When I say deer hunt birds, I don't mean set up and wait from a tree stand or ground blind. I mean do a classic still hunt. I see absolutely nothing wrong with killing a gobbler in this manner. If you can beat their eyes while being mobile without being seen, that is no small feat. I know some folks see that as not sporting. To each his own. But if a hunter doesn't know their patterns, a slip/still hunt is the best way to learn where they are on a property. Or if they aren't gobbling for whatever reason.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    18

    Default

    I really like to call them in. Still hunting them with my son or both him and my daughter along would be near impossible. Seems the birds on WMA land dont have very fixed patterns, or at least the ones we have observed. Maybe the hunting pressure? We wont give up, just trying to up the odds by adapting our tactics to public land birds. Always had better luck hunting hened up birds in the afternoon. Usually with a call sequence, walk a bit, call sequence, walk a bit........then after a bit last call sequence then sit down and be quiet. Trying to simulate the hen that is looking for a gobbler or lost her nest. A lot of times he will follow your path/direction right to your last spot where you are waiting. Of course, you can always slip in right under the roost and hope he flys down in range.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Lowcountry
    Posts
    1,059

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    Get a stake blind that is adjustable.
    Infamous Beard Buster

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    29680
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    Every year two to three weeks in we hear this......just keep at them
    I never lose, either I win or I learn.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl4...KYrd6gYeMvlnbw

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    In the middle of the Carolinas
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    1,397

    Default

    Friday morning I heard 6 total and 3 close enough to get excited but again I managed to have no luck. Saturday I had one respond from the roost about 75 yards away after I had been set up for 30 minutes before first light. I never heard him fly down but heard him gobble constantly in the opposite direction.
    I could give up at this rate.
    Formerly Bill SC Hunter from the SCDNR Forums

    Got military surplus weapons you want to get rid of? Lemme know!

    Owner/webmaster
    Milsurpshooter.Net

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