OT: 2018 spring gobbler season

Time to hunt the mascot.

For those of you not attending the spring game, is anyone going to hit the woods this Saturday? Turkey numbers appear a bit down in far southwest Virginia this spring, but there's still plenty of birds around. I got to get out a bit last weekend and the birds were very active well up into the morning. Weather looks to be nice on Saturday and it should make for a good opening day.

Good luck to anyone heading out, and remember to be safe. Hope to have one hanging by the spurs while I listen to the Hokies on 105.3. Share some stories and input if you have it.

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Are there any other fans that kill and eat their own mascots? Happy Hunting!

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I heard Saban eats the crimson tide

Recruit Prosim

Earned those red wings, eh?

Danny Coale Caught That Ball!!!

Chem PhD '16

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I'd imagine Texas' mascot would be pretty damn delicious.

That's a pretty easy kill though.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Oregon State???

But can they fill their cup up with wild mascot!

I'm a man! I'm 44! Hokie thru and thru.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Is this a 2 girls one cup joke?

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

forgot the can... can they...
wild mascot...wild turkey.
no, not that kinda joke.

I'm a man! I'm 44! Hokie thru and thru.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Florida.

Montana.

Illinois.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Illinois eats Indians?

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Colorado, SDST, Delaware, Marshall, Syracuse, Minnesota, Arkansas, USF, Oregon, Florida, Texas, Baylor, UVA

I'll be hunting with my Dad Saturday and Sunday of the first two weekends. Really looking forward to the season. Good luck everyone!

I was planning on setting my normal opening day camp tomorrow until I looked at the weather... so this will be an interesting "Spring" turkey opener

So, I'm thinking you bag it?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Only two days I have to hunt. Got the camper set last night. Now just have to figure out how to get down there in these conditions. If anyone has any tips on going after them in 10-30 degree weather let me know they were all over earlier this week when the highs were pushing 70

I admire your fortitude and dedication. I would definitely not be out there. My tips would include a bottle of whiskey and a deck of cards. Good luck!

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Oh for sure. Its a trip my buds and I take every year there are usually 3-5 of us in camp with plenty of bourbon and beer, unfortunately this year winter won't go away and I can't take any days off work this year so I'm working with what I've got. Gonna definitely be hard to make those longer sets, last year I found a spot that just looked perfect and I couldn't get myself to leave, sat for 6.5 hours before I got two to come in.

It'll be interesting to see how the birds react to snow blowing 50+ mph.

I don't know your layout for land youre on but in the past when I've hunted when winter won't go away I've had good luck in the snow actually best advice is look for any cover that will hold the snow up and give them the easiest least amount of snow to dig to get to the ground to eat also and hedge rows on the downwind side are gold mines on bad weather days they still gotta eat regardless of the weather
I'd argue bad weather makes for better hunting in a sense that they're easier to predict where they'll be making a planned set up in advance the golden ticket

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Yeah that's the idea. It takes away all of my open prairie spot and stalk though. A lot of the turkeys we see are out in the wide open picking the grassland clean of grasshoppers but I'm hoping this plays to my spots more in the cover the wind is swirling all day today so I have no idea where the most open sides of the tree rows are going to be.

Dunno if you have any lespedeza out there but back here that's a magnet early in the year if they haven't already cleared them out I plant hedge rows of bicolor just for the quail and turkeys to help them get through winter's

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Well looks like camp is going to have to wait. I haven't seen snow like this in a long time. Took off work early to try to beat it, doesn't matter how good your snow tires and 4wd are can't do anything when I can't see more than a car length in front of my hood.

I will be giving it a shot

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Going to hunt Saturday morning then head up to Blacksburg for the spring game. The forecast looks like a great morning to notch a tag. I hope the turkeys cooperate. Good luck everyone.

When I lived in SWVA, I would often go hunting for morels after the spring game.

Brings back the memories of 35 years living in the mountains. Used to love to take morels and fresh asparagus (occasionally the wild asparagus would coincide with the morels) and tempura them. We'd stuff the morel cap with a spear of asparagus, then add in a sliver of Jack cheese, dip it in the tempura batter, then fry them up in peanut oil. We'd make a ginger/garlic soy dip. MMMM MMMM good. Turkey hunting was a good time to scout for morels, and vice versa.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Bird numbers are way down this spring in King and queen so I'll be going Monday as my sister's getting married Saturday ..... Sigh
But instead of turkeys I'll be going to call in some yotes they've done a number this last year on our turkey population

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

They haven't hit the turkeys too bad yet in my part of James City County. But the little bastages have hit my neighbor's chickens. We're definitely "shoot on sight" on them yotes.

Good luck.

Coyotes are a pain in the ass hunting them doesn't really hurt the population at all unless you're taking out whole packs. Once they lose a member the breeding cycle starts and now you have a new litter of coyotes to fill the void of the one missing coyote.

Yep, that's the truth. If you trim the pack, the momma has more pups. I know they're a pest, but one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen in my life was a huge almost black coyote I saw on a snowy day out of the window of my farmhouse in Giles County. Truly magnificent. But then again, he didn't eat my little dogs (he was welcome to the darned cats) nor did I have any yard birds so I was glad I got a look at him. Like most of them I've seen, he was not sticking around for pictures or bullets anyway. They are wary beasts.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Some of the packs around here are getting pretty ballsy since they don't have any natural competition. Too many planned neighborhoods with plenty to eat. (trash, critters, yappy dogs, etc.)

Out where I live, the critters go up the trees or can outrun them. It's the small farm animals that usually make the easiest pickings.

About an hour left. Gobble gobble, bitches.

Had a good morning. Got set up over decoys before the sun came up and there were gobbles coming from everywhere. Sounded promising but it got quiet after flydown and all we managed to call in were 4 jakes by 8:30. Moved around and worked on a few birds but no dice. Finally changed locations and got on a hot bird. He came in over decoys and my friend dropped him at about 35 yds. Beautiful 2 yr old with a wide beard. Bout to crack a beer to celebrate and usher in the culmination of spring football.

Hunted with my dad. Worked three gobblers throughout the morning. Two crossed a corner of the clearing but too far away at about 75 yards. Later had one about 20 steps but too thick brush and never offered a shot. Great morning. Warm. Lots of gobbling right up til about 11.

Got set up over decoys in a blind with 2 buddies. Song birds came to life and with the first crow we had 3 different birds answer him. Watched a flock around 200 yards away with a massive strutter and 10 hens. Got them to come our way around 11:15 and got the hens to come out but the Tom stayed back and strutted his ass off in the thickets behind us. To many eyes to make a move and then 12 rolled around. Not an ideal day but I'll take it.

This blizzard ended up being one of the worst we had in years. I heard reports of hundred car pile ups, state patrol said there were hundreds of stranded cars, closed the interstate for an more than 24 hours (parts of lanes are still closed from drifts), all highways were closed, there was no way for me to get to turkey camp. Glad I decided not to drive.

When the highways opened back up I got out there ended up at the camper around 9pm. Set up in the morning in my trusty spot it was 12 degrees so that sucked. About an hour into my set I got up to pee, just as I sinshed up I look around and there's a Tom about 85 yards. I got my pot call out of my vest and he instantly perked up displayed his fan and started a jog towards me. I attempted to reach around the tree to get my gun, when I looked back up he was full sprint away.

Lesson: NEVER DROP YOUR GUN TO PEE

Bummer

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Man that sucks. Turkeys always have a way of showing up at the most inopportune times. At least you were fortunate enough to see a bird, and it sounds like you made a good call on the weather. Plus you got to relieve yourself and watch a turkey strut. That's gotta count for something.

Are you guys hunting eastern's out there or another subspecies? I've seen some Merriam's during a fall antelope/deer hunt in Wyoming and it got me wanting to get out and pursue some different subspecies. Unfortunately there's a lot of things that I'd like to do that will have to sit in the hopper for now. Maybe we can start a TKP Grand Slam crowd source fund.

Mostly Merriams where we hunt. Nebraska is a really cool place to hunt turkeys. Our out of state licensing for them is relatively cheap, we have tons of turkeys, and 3 sub species. Merriam being the most prevalent out west, Eastern out east and along the Kansas border, and Rio Grande sprinkled in there every now and then. There's a farm turkey/merriam hybrid that just look like jumbo merriam. http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2018/03/114254/

Nebraska, especially western Nebraska offers so much awesome hunting and they do a pretty good job of management. Turkeys were a reintroduction, the pheasant population is outrageous, waterfowl, elk, pronghorn, whitetail, mule deer. Would definitely recommend a trip out here for hunting at some point.

Sounds pretty awesome. I've driven through Nebraska and stayed in Scott's Bluff overnight a couple of times on trips out west. Beautiful state. I've never hunted turkey outside of Virginia but I'd love to get the opportunity to do so. Maybe a spring Nebraska trip is in store.

Scottsbluff is a good place to stay if you're wanting to hunt the Panhandle, you're not far from the river and for a whole different kind of hunting you can test out the Sandhills (great for Mule Deer, way less of a turkey population). I'd look at some western areas right off the panhandle though. McCook, Imperial, Enders all really close to water systems and the rare Nebraska trees.

It's definitely an aspect of Nebraska that I'm going to miss. You can hunt in Timber and walk a mile and be in prairie walk another mile and be in rough terrain bluffs. Truly an underestimated beauty to a lot of this state, glad I got to live out here for a few years. If you do plan a trip out here let shoot me an email I've got a ton of outdoors contacts out here that I can put you in touch with (assuming they stay around, the town Cabela's was based in is now collapsing fairly quickly). heuple.kevin at gmail dot com

Got it done this morning right at about 8am. Came in on a rope and got to within 40 yards behind us and at the same time had 2 hens come from the other side. Kept him from coming into the field but he stayed tore up enough strutting behind a rock pile that allowed me to sneak up on him and got a shot off at around 20 yards. Didn't even flop. Nice little 2 year old, about 18 pounds 9 inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs.

Good work! Just got the go ahead to hunt a friends private ground while he's out of town this week, hoping i can have similar results.

Heck yeah man!! Congrats!! I went before work this morning and had 5 gobbling like crazy, but we're still on the roost at 7:30 when I had to leave to get to work (boss man let me come in a little late). Idk why they were still on the roost so late; may have been bc it was 30 degrees still. On that note, does anyone know how to coax them off the roost? Calling more clearly did not do the trick lol. We only did that to try to get them to fly down bc of the time constraint I was facing, def didn't do the trick...

Thanks man. I'd dare say any strange behavior including hanging out on the roost longer is caused by the weather this morning, but that's just my guess.

It's hard to make them do something they don't want to. My best luck getting them to come off the roost in bad weather is to kinda catch them off guard and then hit them with some aggressive calling. If I've called to them all morning from the same spot they tend to stay put. Maybe try a flydown cackle and move a bit to make them think you're a chic looking to party. If you don't have a lot of time and it's a spot you hunt often, may be best to not bump them and wait for a better day.

Thanks for the advice y'all, def will put into practice.

Today was gonna be a good day to be a bit late to work so some co-workers and I decided to give it a try. Set up in a spot that had been good in the past but did not even hear a gobble. We did manage to call some coyotes into our spread and didn't really know what to do at first as I think we were all a little reluctant to shoot. We ended up squeaking them in - I happened to look to my left just in time to see one charging in at 30 yards. By the time I got my gun up and shot the coyote made it to 9 paces but no more. If I'd waited any longer it would have gotten real interesting. It always amazed me how reluctant a coyote is to come to a call in the fall and winter when I'm hunting them, but in the spring they seem to be on a rope. Eventful morning even thought the turkeys were MIA.

Song dog down, good job.

These days I'm happier to put a coyote in the dirt instead of a turkey and they'll always come in this time of year since this is when turkeys are easy to hunt

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Ventured out in the cold yesterday. 34 degrees and 25 mph gusts at sun up. Big gobbler came strutting in at 7:25. 20 lbs 4 oz. 10" beard. 1" and 1-1/8" spurs.

So... catch and release?
Or you have any proof?

Went yesterday morning with a friend and heard birds all around us early. Did some soft calling and had two coming in across a big field where we could see them from several hundred yards. They were fired up, strutting gobbling and even running at one point. I was going through the victory scenario in my mind when some hens started calling back to our left. They met up and the whole group hung up at 80 yds. I was so cold that I could barely even call and my gun barrel was visibly shaking. The group ended up moving on after a good show. That was probably the coldest I have ever been while turkey hunting, and it was worse because I had no way to even try to combat it given the two gobblers strutting and gobbling 30 yds out of range.

We didn't hear another gobble until 11:00. We were fortunate to call one up from a fairly good distance away, and I pulled the trigger at about 30 yds. It got a bit ugly after that, but I did manage to get him down for good after he pulled out half his fan and beard. Eventful and good ending to a beautiful morning.

Never and I repeat NEVER EVER do a victory dance when calling in turkeys until the swamp chicken is taking a dirt nap they always have a trick up their sleeve and always prepare for the worst hens love to come in silently and always the opposite way the gobbler is coming I've sat in a field and watched a hen circle all the way then sneak in the back side it's just what they do either that or my favorite is when the real big bird comes in the back door silently to steal the hen and always being the guide/ caller I'm always watching the rear so I get some very nice birds like that every year

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Got lucky on another bird this morning. Set up blind in a spot where I've seen one strut and heard one gobbling on the roost about 75 yards above me. I had anticipated them coming down in front of me, but where he was roosted it looked like he would work down the ridge behind me so I rotated around in that direction. I watched him fly down with several hens and work back to my right towards the direction I was originally set up. By this time I didn't want to risk moving again, so I switched the shotgun over to my left hand. I could hear him coming, spitting and drumming, and by the time he was in view he was only about 15 yards from me. I've often thought about having to shoot one off hand, but this morning was the first time I've ever done so. Pretty cool, and a nice 2 year old bird with a thick beard.

Had another good morning Saturday. Birds were acting a bit funny early but we kept changing locations to try and find a hot one. Ending up setting up on a gobbler about 10:30 that was on a ridge in front of us across a grown over pasture. He quit answering but there were a couple of distant gobbles behind us that sounded like they were moving our way. We decided to stay put instead of setting up in the other direction. They worked their way to us, gobbling all the way. I heard some spitting and drumming and finally saw a fan come into view with the head of another looking hard in my direction. At this point they were 20 yards away, and we had a decoy back behind us set up for the other bird. They finally circled around to our left and I told my buddy to take the shot if he had it as we weren't in the best position. He anchored the lead bird at about 20 yards, and I could have killed the other but for some reason I was reluctant to shoot. When we got to his bird I was kicking myself, because it was an absolute monster and the other bird likely was too. Longest spur would probably tape 1 3/8" and he sported 3 beards. An absolute stud and gorgeous colors. We later took a look at the video and you can see that the one that got away looked every bit as big. Would've been a great double but wasn't meant to be I guess. I'm holding on to my last tag too tight.

Anyone hearing anything? The birds have been quiet near Blacksburg for a few days.

As someone who lives in the flatland now, my 40 years in the mountains are behind me now. This time of year, though, I wonder who's finding morels? Good year? Bad year?
Reason I ask is that many of my old turkey hunting friends and I kept a sharp eye out for them this time of year. I'll admit that I've gotten distracted on a slow day in the turkey woods when I ran up on a patch. Cost me one bird that I know of.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Agree with you on that. I haven't found any yet but haven't given much effort. Would be nice to find some. Maybe this rain we're supposedly getting will help.

I haven't found as many morels this year as I have in the past few years.

Temperatures have been all over the place. Then we are dry, then wet. Not overly great morel conditions.

I think you are right. I typically like to see lots of rain and nights in the upper 50s. Seems we've had either rain and colder or warmer but dry so far. Hopefully we get a week or two of decent conditions.

Yep, warm nights and rain'll often do it, but it's usually in April when I'd start getting the black ones, with the white ones showing up by now. I figured the chilly spring could be a problem, and when they don't come up when they should, they seem to just not show up that year.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Unfortunately I think you are right. Might just not be in the cards this year due to the crazy weather we've had.

Just curious why do people pick morels?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'd rather eat morrels than venison, turkey, trout, or catfish. Pretty much my favorite wild food to eat.

Morels are considered gourmet fare, sell for hundreds of dollars per pound in some quarters, and are a ton of fun to hunt. Yeah, they're just mushrooms, but so are truffles, and while they can be vexing to find, or to see sometimes even when you're in a big patch, you don't need a pig or dog or shovel to harvest them. About the most identifiable wild mushroom out there, it's hard to pass them up...if you like mushrooms. If you don't, they're just another fungi.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

As stated above, morels are delicious, and given that there is typically only a few week window when they can be harvested, they have a cult following. Where I'm from people call them "dry land fish" as they kind of favor fish when fried in cornmeal and flour. Around here, we call a hillbilly surf and turf a meal of fresh fried turkey breast and morels given their moniker. I've also heard them called hickory chickens and miracles depending on the locale. Any way you look at it, they're delicious and really fun to hunt.

100% accurate on all counts. That's probably my favorite meal. Add in a couple grilled venison tenderloins and fried trout, and it definitely would be.

We should have a TKP wild game tailgate sometime...

As someone who cant stand eating regular mushrooms i cant get the hoo haw over them then I guess never tried one but I've never been much for anything mushroomy.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I hate mushrooms. I love morels. Give them a shot.

Ended the season yesterday by sneaking up to one in a rainstorm with the help of one of those turkey fan umbrellas. I ended up taking the shot at around 15 yards. Pretty cool but my thighs are absolutely killing me today from all the crouching and crawling. My GoPro got jossled to the side on my head so unfortunately the footage wasn't that good. Great way to end the season nonetheless.

I hope everyone had a good spring to help offset some of the recent recruiting ailments. Time to move over to fishing full time.