OT: Spring Turkey Season

I know I'm not the only one about to go chase our beloved gobbler mascot around on saturday who else is pumped for the season to start up?

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Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I was about to start a thread but figured there'd only be like three of us talking about it lol. Thanks for starting.

I'm more pumped than ever. I've walked 30+ (mountain) miles in the last three weeks and have 9 gobblers located. This last week of waiting has been torture.

Good luck to all, be safe, and can't wait to virtually celebrate (or commiserate)

Good luck to you all. We hunt Deep South Texas and don't have any gobblers on our place. I was supposed to go to Kentucky this year. We are going to have next year for those delicious fried wild turkey breast nuggets.

Hmm, is hunting an essential activity? 🤔😊

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"


Yup if not good luck finding me in the woods.

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

friend of mine has been scouting all week; very hit or miss on the gobbles. they are either gobbling their heads off or nothing.

The weather forecast for saturday morning is going to be interesting. 34 for where I'll be. Something to be said to watch the gobblers on the roost when you can see their breath.

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

my friend and i often debate whether colder mornings are more productive for hearing them gobble or not, this week will be a perfect week for seeing early season results. We've had some success in the past on colder mornings, almost killing one opening day in the snow a few years ago. i'm just excited to get to go again.

I killed one in Loudoun County on opening day in the snow and sleet a few years back. Interesting experience. Even more fun having my Dad with me.

Regarding weather impacts to gobbling, I've always heard, and my field notes concur, that gobbling increases on high pressure days. Who really knows though.

I 100% agree with that. same can be said about deer movement as well. the place i went to today had three on fire this morning, gobbled until i left at 645 and were still going strong.

I'm going and I'm stoked. Picked up another property this year that I've been trying to get on for some time and it's always held lots of birds. This season kinda snuck up on my with everything going on, but I'm gonna shake it off tomorrow afternoon.

I went out last weekend with my son for youth day and had some mixed results. Lots of gobbling on the roost but nothing when they hit the ground. Got on another bird about 9:30 but bumped a hen trying to get set up. Finally moved and saw some birds strutting in a field with hens around 10:30 and hoofed it to get set up. Watched a gobbler mate a hen (or possibly a rock?) for about 15 minutes before he worked down to us at 35 yds. My son took the shot but looked like a clean miss with the 20ga. He was excited and it was nice to get out. I hope he doesn't get hooked as bad as me.

VDGIF data shows numbers to be down but I've been seeing lots of birds. Most have been spending a lot of time with hens, so late morning may be your best bet. Hang in there and the opportunities will come. Everyone stay safe and good luck! Post some pictures of your success.

I'm pretty much hosed this year.

I primarily hunt Fort Belvoir but they have closed the spring season. I have a buddy with access in King George, and my father in law has a friend with 500+ acres in Southampton.

Unfortunately I just don't know that I'll have the opportunity to get out much this year, since I have to be invited to both.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

My brother and I hunt Belvior too. He is hunting Quantico. He got one a couple of days ago.

#Let's Go - Hokies

Nice. I had no idea Quantico was still open. Wondering how it's still open with DoD guidance?

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

Went out last Saturday. Went with my bud who had never shot one to a spot I saw probably 300 during deer season.

heard 5 gobble right off the roost. Got 4 interested, hung at about 70 and shut up for 5-10 minutes. I started giving them really light purs. That drove this tom up the wall he let out an earth shaker at about 30 behind this tree and came strutting around to his demise. Unfortunately my bud got a little too thrilled and jumped up screaming. There were 2 jakes and another good Tom right behind him that I should have had an opportunity on but his ruckus scared them off.

Still finished up by 7:15 on the first hunt of the year.

(add if applicable) /s

Golden rule with gobblers in groups, the biggest one is never the first to show up. Rookie lesson everyone needs to learn early on the old bird always lets the dumb youngins go strutting in first. Always try to setup so if one comes in first you can wait out for the big boy.

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

Yeah he did that well. The two jakes actually circled around the decoys to the and came out in the clearing first and I told him not to shoot either of those, then they ran back towards the tom and the Tom came out after. The bigger Tom skirted the whole edge didn't even see it till he shot it never made a sound. The one he shot was a solid bird especially for a first turkey, 10.5" beard just shy of 1" spurs and it did it perfectly, gave me a lot more confidence in my calling.

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Most people learn it the first time or two and then slowly adapt and get better at setting up so the decoys are either to the far side to force them to move across and keep a following bird closer. Once you miss on a giant because of that tact youll never make the mistake again. Sometimes when you blast the first bird the second will come up and try to fight the dead bird as well which makes for a tricky shot but can be a good way of doubling up.

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

I am not a turkey hunter, but this guy keeps coming to the backyard to steal my mom's bird feed and peck at his reflection in the mirror. There is a bigger one I have seen once or twice.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You should be a turkey hunter. I know where one's at you could have a good opportunity at.

Did I just watch a video of a turkey taking a crap at 650 am?

Due to the damn coronavirus, I won't be able to hunt on my family's land this year. I just don't want to risk exposing my 84 year old grandfather who had tuberculosis back when he was in the Navy. So I'll be nomading around the National Forest up and down the western part of the state this year. Fortunately, due to my job flexibility, I am able to hunt every day if I can manage. I'm going to see how far I can get into the season with waking up around 3 every morning.

Does anyone video their hunts? I have a lot of gopro footage from past seasons, but last year upped my game and bought a Cannon XA11 and tripod. I've got some good footage but I'm a novice at best. I'm more of a run and gun hunter also so it makes it tough, however good footage of a successful hunt is what gets me through the winter. Wanted to see if anyone had any tips on setup and thought it would be cool to share some videos.

Been tempted to bring my gopro with me on my turkey hunts but I have a bad feeling itll beep or flash or something and mess up a hunt so I just keep it simple. What setup did you use to film with your gopro?

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

I have an older model, I think a hero 3+. I just used a head strap and blacked out all the lights. I used the app on my phone to turn it off and on. It worked well but a turkey at 40yds looks like an ant. I still use one that I place facing back to me or on a decoy. Plan is to catch the action from different angles and edit into a decent video. Still working on that part.

Me and dad the past few years have seen large gangs almost every time either one of us went deer hunting on the land. This past season I didn't see the first damn one...I'm a little worried about tomorrow morning.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I'm going to give Powhatan and Amelia WMAs a go, probably on weekdays though. I've never been so this is mostly for learning experience and to get a chance to hangout in the woods for a few hours. Maybe I'll get lucky but I know I'll be happy to just be out.

I haven't gone since before I went to college. Seems like a good year to give it a try again.
Found my mouth calls a while back... they had totally disintegrated.

If you decide to buy more, and assuming your wife will let you, keep them in the frig. I have some mouth calls close to 10 years old that I still use. Good luck tomorrow.

Leaving Bristol Tn at 3:30a.m., driving up to the national forest in Wytheville. Looks like its gonna be a little chilly at daybreak. Im thinking/hoping that the birds will be vocal...not just on the roost.


If you're in Bristol you need to get permission to hunt the fields beside 11w almond Reedy creek. Loaded with birds and a lot closer to home. Youd be surprised at how receptive some landowners are to hunting, particularly turkeys in the spring.

So I have never been turkey hunting in my life but my family owns 30 acres in Fauquier County that is surrounded by 2800 other acres run by a hunt club. Our 30 acres has so many turkeys on it that I've chased flocks of them around with my dirt bike.

Thinking of going up there one morning with the 12 gauge and waiting around for one to show up.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

That sounds like a solid way to spend a morning during all this. I even considered heading back to my parents and hitting up the neighbor's 40 acres behind the house but am not trying to interact with the rents since they're mid 50s smokers and both my roommates are going in and out of work still dealing with the public.

Got a turkey fan? Post it out in the field and wait for a gobbler to come running they're not thinking with their heads right now it's an easy decoyless trick

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

No but I think I can get one pretty easily

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Talked with a lot of turkeys this morning, just never saw any.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

What a fucked up first morning. Huge black coyote comes up on me in the dark about when they should gobble. Just out of range. Then no gobbles all morning. Then a novice hunter walks up on me carrying a decoy out in the open. He must want to get shot.

Oh well. Time to drown the memory of this opening day with a few Busch Lattes.

Hope yall had better luck than me.

Looks like a lot of hunters had good luck today hunting private land turkeys today. Good for them.

We had three talking til 8, saw one gobbler fly down but immediately went to the neighbors. Saw a few hens and heard a piss pile of gobbles. Fun hunt esp since it was dads first time going with me. Always next time. Had a few friends connect including a buddy get his first one

Welp lucked out big time saturday morning. Get in and setup early early. Perfect positioning on roosted birds and looking to be a mint opening morning till the farmer who farms our land showed up promptly at 6:30 am to spray and fertilize the field I was setup in. Had plenty gobbling on the roost till then but once he showed up they all shot out and spooked. Decided to cut my losses and head back into the woods and swampy area with no fields and hope I could find something going on away from the farmers. On my way sneaking back into the swamp I heard a loud stick pop and looked over and this boy was walking through the woods feeding in some freshly disced woods road. He somehow didnt even notice me strolling down the road in the open with two decoys so I dropped to my knees silently waited till he stepped out in the open and took the shot. First time I've ever had a brid not see me first in a situation like that. The birds legs were all dinged up had green shit all in the leg meat and skin was rotting in a bad way. Was also missing a toe the old guy mustve been fighting his ass off the last week or so. Looked to be an older bird that simply had become too old. Anyone got any good thigh recipes for a grill/smoker?

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

Nice bird - how long were the spurs? Awesome you were able to sneak around on him like that. Sounds like he'd had a rough go at it over the last few weeks. I saw a bird a few years back that had most of the feathers gone off his breast and a lot of nasty wounds like the ones you'd mentioned. I also had another friend years ago pick up a bird that was flopping and stuck one of the spurs clean through the web of his thumb, so those things can do some damage. That one required some stitches.

As for good thigh recipes - I'd be interested as well. The last few times I've tried to cook thighs and legs they were so tough it was almost inedible. I'd love to have some good recipes to go along with a bunch of easy ones for breasts, which are tough to screw up I guess.

Its the one piece of game meat I'm nearly certain can only be cooked in a crock pot. I usually throw it in with some beer and beef broth, add vegetable for the last couple hours.

They're significantly tougher than a farm raised turkey so to even consider trying to do it on the smoker it would need a full 24 hours of brine + a load of injection and even then you still have a crazy amount of tendons to deal with.

Wild turkey breast on the pellet grill is fantastic.

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I'm thinking either crock pot but kinda leaning slicing them up in thin pieces and marinading in teriyaki jerky sauce for a day or so then slow smoking like you would jerky and seeing if that makes them more edible. Always had a tough time with thigh meat in the past. I let my buddy whos a master at smoking have the breast he is brining them for a day then gonna smoke em should be awesome.

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

Y'all have had vastly different experiences to the ones i have had, we just throw ours on the grill with S&P and a lemon slice and its perfect. Awesome kill tho!!! Congrats!!

Spurs were just over 3/4 inches and beard was 10 inches. The spurs were incredibly heavily rounded and worn though not a fresh spike like most 3 year olds so I'm thinking this guy may have been older than he looked. The birds on that farm always are dinged up the last few I've killed on that place have been scarred hard so I'm thinking a few more may need to be culled.

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

Had an up and down weekend. The birds certainly aren't acting like they did last year at this time and things appear a bit tougher, which is likely due to less 2 year old toms being in the mix according to VDGIF.

Saturday heard one gobbling on the roost but after fly down nothing. Trying to call to him a little bit and decided to hit another spot to find a hot bird. Walked to the edge of another field around 8:30 and one answered a yelp immediately. Got set up with the camera and he came to the other edge of the field before we were even ready at about 100 yds. We had a jake and hen decoy out and he closed to about 75 yards and just stood there and gobbled. We watched and videoed him for an hour and he probably didn't move 5 yards. Finally another gobbler started sounding off and entered the field to the right, and when this happened the bird we'd been watching took off towards him and ran him off. He went back to the same spot he was at and stood for another hour. We tried everything we could to get him to commit but he finally walked off after a total of 2 hours. Head scratcher.

Yesterday morning we got to go and hit a new farm. I've never hunted this place and it's big - about 500 acres of pasture with wooded ridges throughout. We were late getting in as it was a long walk and tried to set up on a bird in the head of a hollow. Watched some hens fly off the roost but never heard a peep from the tom we set up on after flydown. Lots of gobbling a ridge or two behind us so we headed over that way and got set up looking across a small hay field with a single hen decoy out. Bird was answering good and sounded like he was on a rope headed our way. He answered some cuts and sounded like he was right at the edge of the field and I told my buddy to get ready he's coming. Then nothing. Not another gobble, nothing. There was a fencline at the bottom of the field that likely could have held him up, but I would think he would have walked it or gobbled a few times at least to try to get us to come to him. We figured either a hen made it down to him or a coyote scared him off, but who knows.

Walking back out we came over the top of a hill and saw a gobbler strutting on a knob about 300 yds away. We contoured the ridges out of sight and worked to set up on the wooded slope below him. Heard a few gobblers up the drainage from us on the way, so we set up on a tractor path with a decoy out. Had another gobbler answering good and working our way towards the path when all of a sudden the original bird we set up on hammered behind us at 30 yds. My buddy was facing up the hill behind me and I heard a shot go off. Dropped him at about 35 yds. He was a good bird with a nice thick beard and 1.25" spurs. Was really stoked to close the deal after so many close calls. I'll try to post some pictures and video links if I can get some time today.

All in all the birds seem to be acting a lot different than last year. Haven't seen them commit to the call like they typically do and last year a jake decoy was money, as we had several different groups rush the decoy and flog it. It appears they may be a bit farther along in the cycle so we'll adjust accordingly. I won't get to go again until Friday morning but I should have 3 mornings in a row to hunt if the weather cooperates. Stay safe out there everyone.

Edit to add pics. Real nice bird.

'04, you mention that you think they're further on in the cycle. Still sort of new at this, but does that mean they've already henned up and the ladies will be on the nest sooner (making calling/hen decoys more effective)? My experience on opening day was similar to a lot of what I'm reading here. Not a ton, but some gobbling which promptly shut down at about 8AM. I did get all juiced up when the closest gobble to me sounded like he was getting the crowd fired up for 3rd and long in Lane.

Typically in a given year, there's a peak in early gobbling and activity by toms as they look for hens that are receptive. During this time, they gobble much more on the ground and can generally be seen more together than spread out as they look for receptive hens to breed. This usually involves a lot of sparring and competition for mating as few hens are available, and generally coincides with favorable hunting. A half strut jake decoy and hen can be money at this time, as they are typically aggressive and really looking for those few chances to find a receptive hen. The beat up tom that hokienator killed probably dealt with this a couple of weeks ago.

As the spring progresses, the hens become receptive and begin to breed and go on the nest. Once this happens, there's usually a lot of gobbling on the roost to let the hens know where to be, then once flydown happens the hens and gobblers usually get together and do their thing. This can be a hard time to get on a bird, as there's no reason for a tom to come looking when he's got receptive hens all around him. The hens during this time want to breed too, so they go to the toms and can actually lead them away from you if they hear you calling. I think this is what we're seeing now, as opposed to early last season when I think we were behind a few weeks. Toms aren't as receptive and want you to come to them (just like the real hens are doing), and they gobble less as the hens are typically around them. This is a good time to lay low if there's no action after flydown and see if you can get on a bird once the other hens go to nest. Typically the action picks up a bit after around 9:30 and can be good until noon if you can find a hot bird.

Later in the season is a mixed bag, there can sometimes be another bump in activity as some of the hens have laid out and are on the nest. This again makes for more competition and can lead to more active birds, however that is countered by hunting pressure, increasingly dense vegetation, temperatures etc. A few years back on the last day of the season I watched a gobbler feed with two hens and he paid absolutely no attention to my yelps or acted like he cared about the hens around him.

Long and short you need to adjust your approach to what the birds are telling you IMHO. After what I saw Saturday I think a single hen decoy is a good bet if you want to pack it, as they appear to be past the sparring stage. I also think you need to focus on getting where the bird wants to be and either cut them off or have them pop into range once you see them, as it's hard to call them across open ground or obstacles (creeks, fences, hollows, thickets) when they're used to the hens coming to them. Hope this helps - main thing to do is to get where the turkeys are at and hang in there. Anything can happen at anytime.

Wow, thanks for the response. That's a lot of good info to take on board, especially the last two sentences. I can see how this becomes yet another obsession. It's awesome being out there when nature is waking up.

Hunted a few hours this morning before getting to work. Heard nothing. Pretty morning but ended up just being a hike while carrying a gun.

After a few VERY close calls I finally got it done this morning. A work buddy (first time going after spring gobblers) and I got set up on the edge of a field I had heard a few gobbles yesterday evening. Had a few hammering it this morning but as soon as they flew the roost they shut up on us. Around 8am he punches me and points out a long beard entering the field in full strut about 120 yards from us. Due to the commitment issues the birds have had the past few days I threw the flock at them, a feeding hen, standing hen, and a jake. Ol boy started working his way to us and he was followed by 2 more stutters and 5 hens. The other birds dropped anchor around 65 yards and the lead bird crept up on the Jake and pounced, when he did the others came running. My first double, and his first bird on his first ever spring hunt. Awesome morning. Oh, they were 2 year olds, mine had a 10inch beard and 3/4 spurs and his had a 9 inch beard and 3/4 spurs.

That's awesome - glad you guys could double up. Sounds like you had a hell of a morning. And sounds like you just ruined a work buddy!

It was definitely a good one. He's been a life long deer hunter of 30+ years and has never chased turkeys, after all that this morning I asked him which he preferred now. He said turkey hunting was fun but he doesn't know if it beats shooting a big buck. That's when I asked him why he jumped up, through the blind across the field and screamed a few obscenity's and took off running to the birds. He won't admit it but I'd say he's bit.

Had lots of gobbling on the roost. The instant they came down, they went silent. Ended up seeing five hens. No toms in sight.

Sweet. I didn't go. Hearing some, even though you didn't see any, is better than sitting here and arguing about the Covid response on TKP like I seem to have done all morning. I swear I've typed a dozen responses and said nope, not even worth arguing about it.

I'd take your dad up on that offer, BTW. It'll still eat good, regardless.

So I've been within 150 yards of two at least 3 year olds, on two different occasions since Friday. One never gobbles at all. The other gobbles great on the roost then not another gobble after 7 am. I mean not a single gobble at anything from turkey calls to real crows. They're hanging together with a group of hens. Been fun to watch them go through their routine in my binos, but damn if it isn't frustrating too.

my buddies and i are having the exact same issue as y'all, tons of gobbles on the roost and then dead silence afterwards

Yeah it's frustrating but I guess it's the natural order of things.

Since I've enjoyed watching this flock twice, from on the limb to an hour or two after fly down, it's easy to imagine lots of turkeys doing the same routine. Gobble up some hens, then strut around in silence all morning, no need to gobble when the girls are right there.

My plan is to stick with this flock until the hens finally leave and hopefully I'll be there the morning the gobblers are finally lonesome.

My theory remains coyotes plain and simple. They know not to gobble on the ground its a definite change I have observed in the last 5 years I never hear any gobbling from the ground anymore except for right at first light when they come off the roost for a second then they go silent and the only ones talking will be the odd hen. By then anyway if you can hear them putting and purring theyre right in your lap by that point.

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

Was able to go out Friday, Saturday and Sunday but haven't been able to post. Friday hit a spot early morning around 8:00 and as soon as we got in the woods we could hear birds gobbling everywhere. We set up several times on some distant gobblers and finally got in position where one appeared to be coming to the call. It gobbled up the ridge from us across a grown up field, so we moved below an old road looking up the hill thinking this would be where he would come in. Of course he came from our left out the road we were under. After hearing him spitting and drumming like he was in our lap, I finally saw him through a blowdown at about 10 yards. I tried to move my gun up to get a shot but he saw me and putted, but kept gobbling all around us. We could never coax him back to us though and finally gave up after 20 minutes. Rookie mistake on the setup as we knew we were in a bad position as soon as we sat down.

Just a few minutes later set up on some other birds that we had been hearing - answered our calls and gobbled well but wouldn't get closer than 80 yards or so. We snuck around and tried several setups, even having one of us move back and try to call to get them to close the last 10 yards. I've never been that close to that many gobbling birds in my life and not had a shot opportunity. We played cat and mouse until noon and had to get out of there. Very frustrating, had a golden opportunity that we blew and probably heard 200 gobbles with no tags punched.

Saturday heard some gobbling on the roost but after a late flydown due to rain things went silent. Moved to another area and prepared to set up - so I let out a series of yelps to try and locate one. A gobbler hammered not 50 yards from us down a small field in front. We hastily set up and called, but nothing. All of a sudden I caught movement to my right, and a jake had worked to us from behind. He came to about 10 yards, clucked and gobbled for about 10 minutes, and finally fed off. We wanted to move on some birds we'd heard across the ridge, and as we were about to do so we saw 5 white heads headed up the hill 100 yards away. Sat back down and called and sure enough it was 5 jakes. They got to within 20 yards and I told my buddy we need to get these guys outta here and move on those other birds. He took his hat off and flapped it and they moved closer. We threw two sticks at them from 10 yards and they sat there. Finally I stood up and ran them off. I think I could have killed all 5 in one shot a couple of different times.

Moved on the other gobblers, got set up with a hen decoy and called. They immediately answered on the other ridge. Called for a few minutes and noticed a hen enter the field - she saw the decoy and came running. Once she got up to the decoy she peeled off to the right, and then I noticed another hen running up the hill to the decoy. About this time one of the gobblers we'd been hearing stepped out and worked his way up the hill. Once he got to 35 yards I wasn't taking a chance and put the bead on his head and pulled the trigger. He dropped cleanly - average 2 year old with decent beard and short spurs. Felt good to have success after so many close calls.

Sunday I went back to the place we had all the action on Friday and heard nothing on the entire side of the mountain I was on. Nothing. For 5 hours. I know there were at least 6 gobblers in there on Friday but they were either silent now or moved on. I did hear some birds across the road on the other ridge, but didn't have permission to hunt there. Ended up finding a good mess of morels and decided to call it a weekend.

I'm still in a bit of a fog as to how this season is playing out so far. Gobblers are just acting strange. The predominant pattern seems to be fly off the roost and hen up, with some action after those hens get serviced, however this isn't holding true across the board. Best bet is just to get out there and give it a try. Opportunities exist, just have to capitalize. And be ready for silent birds - you hear spitting and drumming he's in range somewhere! Hope everyone is staying safe, I'll try to post some pics later.

Edit to add pic:

Nice report and good advice.

Hypothetically speaking, if you knew the relatively precise location of two three year olds with constant company from hens, would you continue to go in that area and try to get lucky? Or just give them a week or so and see if they are by themselves later? I can't decide how to play it. I could go someplace else but don't have any specific turkeys located. All public land by the way.

Patience my friend, patience is key. Dont go and try and seal team 6 em let them come to you. Three years and older are smart little swamp chickens and they are not to be fooled more than once. When I know for a fact I'm playing an older bird I always play the waiting game. Slow down the calling and tone it back a little. Move very very rarely and plan for a long sit. If youre decent at calling and sitting still eventually with a decent setup you can coax him in. Best bet is observe them watch their hens and where they drop off their hens in the morning and try to setup on or near said route and just be patient. Trying to sneak into their roosting area can pay off beautifully but it can also backfire as well. My advice would be setup near their hens nest route that they walk to check them and bring a strutting jake decoy and hen decoy and just wait never try to stalk them. If you do spook them drop the current decoy setup and switch it up they will remember the setup and spook if they see it again or will simply not come close for a while after.

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

Thanks. Good tips. That's my usual approach but this flock is not on a set pattern it seems. One morning they're on ridge #1, then next morning #4, then #2, then #5, then #7 lol.

I think I'm going to try to set up in the middle of all that in a burn area they seem to frequent, try the decoys, and just sit til noon.

Patience is always the key. Just frustrating as lately the hens take the gobblers straight away from me regardless if my calling is aggressive or just a few clucks. And without a pattern I can't ambush them.

But damn they both have really good beards and spurs (love my Leitz binoculars Dad gave me at my college graduation). I hope I get a chance to pull the trigger. Nothing tops an old public land mountain gobbler in my book.

Burn areas are awesome in spring due to visibility and they really like feeding in those places so that would be a good spot to do a long sit. My general rule of thumb is I always plan 2 sets for the day and no more. One for first light/fly down, then if unsuccessful I go to plan b, usually around 7-8ish and make a move to go wherever that plan takes me and do that. The second set is always add-libbed but I tend to always base it around where I know birds like to feed and main paths/food plots/old logging roads. I call very seldom after 8 unless working a specific bird ie every 15-20 minutes since you dont want much movement and you simply want to be like a stray hen wandering and grazing they dont yelp constantly so mimic that. Purr and putt some but not alot and take a nap or two, youd be surprised how many times you'll have a 3 year old tom stroll in near noon just minding his own and offer an easy shot. Old birds have old habits as scatterbrained as they are right now they still have a simple pattern learn the roost areas and find the grazing areas most frequented and itll all come together.
What brand binocs do you have its one thing I have never gotten but I find myself needing them more and more these days. That all said I hunt heavy woods mostly so rarely need them once the leaves are on the trees.

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

Thanks for the tips. Looking forward to giving it another shot.

My binos are Leitz Trinovids. I honestly would rather leave my boots at camp than my binos, that's how important they are to the success, and my enjoyment, of a hunt.

If there's not a lot of pressure in the area you have more options. As hokienator stated patience is a key tool in your box. Try to get where the turkeys want to be. An old bird with hens isn't going to get pulled away no matter how good your calling is, and in my experience if hens want to breed they will pull the gobbler away from aggressive calling. Try to find his strut zone or a drop-off area where the hens are as stated. Try some soft calling and see if you can talk to the hens and get them coaxed into your setup. I certainly wouldn't overly pressure them as there's plenty of season left. They will certainly change their behavior in the days and weeks ahead, though it's hard to know how much that will affect your luck. You also may want to look at some afternoon hunting where you can get between where they are and where they want to roost. Save the risky approaches as the season drags on. If you're in there and they're not doing what you want, get in a good comfortable spot and try and wait them out. I've killed a lot of birds late morning once everything plays out. Try changing your calling up as well. You never know - one day they may just come in on a rope. Be there when they do. If they're still not cooperating at the end of the season pull out all the stops. Good luck - those old birds are definitely worth the work and are few and far between.

Any morel reports from you mountain guys?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Ugh. I've walked close to 50 miles in the mountains around Blacksburg since mid March. Haven't found the first one. My sister is cleaning up on our property in Northern Virginia. The Blue Ridge is on fire right now. She's had several 70+ morel days. I don't seem to know the trick in SWVA. Back home it's just go find ash, poplar, sycamore (sometimes), and elm (especially those which died recently and still have the bark). Around here I think I could find a unicorn first...

Old guy told me once when I asked where to find them, "Ya findem where they grow." I asked him well then, where do they grow. He answered "They grow where ya findem."
I've found them in Giles county and Nelson County, mainly. Abandoned apple orchards as they deteriorate and mature poplar stands have provided the most luck for me, but I've found them in anomalous places as well. Power lines sometimes are good, I believe because the woods cut down for the lines have gone through poplar stands or existing patches. They grow near water some places, I've found them in Highland Co. along the Jackson River. They'll also grow under mature apple trees, but I've not done very well there. I know they grow in a lot of places I haven't mentioned, and you seem to know of several, but that's where I found them in those counties. I believe a lot of turkey hunters don't notice the morels unless they're sticking up like a wedding dick in a clearing or something, mostly because that's not why they're in the woods. As you know, morel hunting takes some serious concentration to go along with all that walking. I miss it. They ain't got them down here in the flatland.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

That's good advice. Admittedly, I was paying a lot more attention before the shotgun was in my hands. I may take an afternoon and give it another honest effort. They are worth the effort once they're in the frying pan.

They're up - I picked a good mess on Saturday. Lot's of locals have been finding them, but the cold frosty mornings have made things a bit spotty. Areas above 2500' here still haven't leafed out so I hope we have a few more weeks in the hopper.

Thanks. Just heard from Giles County and Pulaski County friends that they've found some nice ones, but that they weren't widespread. Dave in Giles got 37 from one patch and they were nice big white ones.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Usually in my area of Wise County we find the smaller dark ones first and the big white ones come up later in the season. It's been a mixed bag so far, though most of my knowledge is second hand. The spot I was in this weekend was in Lee County in a young poplar stand with plenty of light hitting the ground. It's a spot that I've found them in for years, which is typically the case for most places I find them. They were smaller white ones which I prefer to the big ones. One of my friends found a mess around an old rock quarry last week and some were huge - see pic below. Nothing better in the spring than what I call the hillbilly surf and turf - turkey breast and dry land fish (which is what the locals call morels here). Good eating.

Now that's a merkle, man. Never found one that big. We used to stuff them with an asparagus spear, a sliver of pepper jack cheese, then tempura those suckers, dipping them in a garlic ginger soy sauce. I'm not sure what I'd do with that monster.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

We've been finding them for a couple weeks. The big white ones are just starting to show up.

Me and my dad got one apiece this morning. Could hear a few way off in the distance but never could get one to talk to us, but these two just crept up on us. Dad was just down the hill from me, I shot first then he spun around the tree he was at and popped the other. Pretty neat way to get my first turkey.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

Congratulations! Always awesome to make those memories with your dad and a hell of a way to get your first bird.

Report from this past weekend:

Saturday morning hit some public land with a couple of friends where one had killed a bird the week before. Did not hear a peep other than a hen putting on the roost. Hit another private farm that is usually money and heard absolutely nothing. After talking with another friend who had killed a bird earlier that morning and had several more in the area, we headed to meet up with him around 10 am. We made our way onto the property a bit and yelped, and sure enough birds sounded off on opposing ridges. We split up in pairs and worked for the next two hours but things eventually went silent. I was able to watch one of the gobblers work around the ridge with some hens and was able to call one of the hens back about an hour later, but no dice. Bit of a head scratcher but we were out of the woods at noon. Did get some cool video of a very close hen that I'll try to post later.

Sunday morning brought some rain and wind while we tried the same area we were in the day before. A jake on the roost right on us and some distant gobbles was as close as we came. We did call in another hen that came in alone but realized by 8:30 we needed to move.

We headed to another farm about 15 minutes away and saw birds everywhere strutting in the fields while on the road. With high hopes we walked across the pastures and hollows without seeing or hearing anything for the next hour. As we came to the edge of the property in a 10 acre hayfield I made one last desperation yelp before calling it quits. Immediately gobbles rang out and I made out 4 toms in a depression right in the middle of the field we were in. We quickly huddled around the lone walnut tree in the entire field and tried to make a plan as we knew they weren't going to cover 100 yds of open ground. We kept them talking and the birds headed down the hill through an opening to the lower end where things opened back up, giving us a chance to move. We quickly creeped down the hill parallel to them by about 100yds with a thicket in between us to try and head them off. As we got to the top end of the lower field we cut back towards them along the wood line, hoping we were ahead of them and could catch them as they came into view. We set up and called a couple of times to check position and were able to crawl to where we could see the open passage they were coming down. Soaked, contorted and laying on my side we called and called and they crept closer, with 4 gobblers sounding off in unison echoing across the ridges. Truly an awesome sound. They finally worked to the open edge just within range and once I verified my buddy and I both had a shot, we took it. Boom boom - two gobblers down! I was elated as I could not have sat in that position another minute. What a great ending to a tough morning. The wet walk back was about all I could handle but it was also all smiles.

The birds are still acting very strange and it's been tough sledding. I think the cold mornings and drawn out early spring are playing a role, along with fewer birds in the mix. This weekend is supposed to be beautiful and warm for the first time of the season here, so we will see if this changes things. I'm going to focus more on video the next few weekends if the weather holds, as I've yet to fully record a successful hunt this spring. Stay safe out there everyone and keep at it.

Does everyone elses' turkeys currently have lockjaw too?

They're definitely not setting the world on fire. Seem to gobble on the roost real well just before flydown, maybe a bit on the ground, and then nothing. I've had good luck this year hunting late morning when some birds seem to be getting back in the groove. The weather this weekend is supposed to be the best it's been since youth day, so that may help things a bit but who knows. It's definitely been an odd season thus far and it's hard to tell how the last few weeks are gonna play out. If you're in an area with birds hang tight and be ready.

I agree. Im gonna try to get on one quickly if they're gobbling on the roost and set up; if not, just gonna go to an area that i have seen some before and setup and call intermittently. Good luck to all this weekend!!

Need some help guys, had a bird come in hot and heavy Saturday only to get hung up on a fence line and start clucking at the decoys. Sunday we set up on the other side of the fence like feeling good. Bastard hung up on a laurel thicket about 65 yards out for over a hour, he proceeds to finally make his was almost to 50 and sees the decoy and starts clucking. I seen the bird Saturday and know he's a older bird, is he just decoy shy? Been shot at? Or is he just gonna be a gigantic pain? Any tips would be great.

Have you seen his beard by chance? Does the fan have a squarish kind of top notch either? Could be a jake thats simply scared by any male decoy. Best guess is hes been shot at or simply was spooked by your decoy setup. Best bet is leave the decoys at home next hunt or change it up and use different ones. Sounds like hes spooked and is going to be tough. Best bet figure out his typical path where he has any hens and setup along that and just wait it out and dont go crazy on the calling and wait him out.

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

I have seen his beard, he has a rope on him. As for his typical path his roost is on a tall point of the mountain over looking the wood lot that leads into the field. Now that being said there's 2 valleys that run a "V" shape leading to the field, Saturday he went to the left, Sunday to the right. I don't get to go out again until Saturday so I'm going to try no decoys and as mentioned below shut up on him and see what happens.

As hokienator said, if the common variable in spooking the bird is your decoys, I'd try leaving them behind and see if it changes your success. You mention that you've seen the bird - is he coming in alone? Any way that he's seeing you? I would try the following:

  • As stated, leave the decoys at home. It sounds like that's the common link and may make you successful in and of itself.
  • Be on the right side of the fence. Turkeys are notorious for hanging up due to a fence/thicket/creek and want and easy path to your setup.
  • It sounds like you're hunting an open field. Try to get your setup so that when you can see the bird you can shoot it. He wants the hen to come to him and is shy anyway. Make it so once he can survey the situation it's too late.
  • In a variation of the above, try some changes to your calling. Have a partner setup behind you and place yourself closer to the bird, while having them do that calling. When he hangs up 50-75 yards from the call, put yourself where he's 15-40 yards from you. Dig in, stay concealed and be quiet. This may or may not be an option based on your setup.
  • Play a little hard to get with your calling. If he's coming in and committed, stop calling as soon as you know he's on his way. When he gets to his normal position, those last few calls may be telling him you're close and he's banking on you to come the last 25 yards. You can also call as you work your way to him making him think you're on the move, then go silent after closing the last stretch. This may push him over the top and get him looking for you, since in the past he's known where you should be once he can see the area you're in. Make him buy those last 20-25 yards.
  • Throw him a curveball and try some ki-ki runs if all else fails and he's still hung up out of range. Ghost cut diaphragms work good for this. Practice some in the truck or at home. I've had this push them over the edge before.
  • Given that he's shy of decoys, "reaping" may not be an option, but it could work if he doesn't take off running. I'd use this as a last ditch effort, and only if you're on private land and certain other hunters aren't in the area
  • Hope this helps. He may change his mind and come charging the next time, but I'd alter your approach on what best fits your scenario to try and improve your odds and avoid hanging up in the same areas as past hunts. Good luck!

Another idea if he wont come into a spread but wont come to just calling put the decoys a good 50 yards behind you and call a little mostly purrs and putts and see if the decoys behind or further down the field edge will draw him in. Also make sure if you have to decoy dont use a male decoy unless hes the dominant bird. Alot of 2 year olds and even some 3s will spook from seeing a male in fear of a fight. That said if its a dominant bird nothing beats a male decoy to agitate and get them close.

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

I initially said he hung up on the Laurels but they line the top of the hill coming from the small creek. I believe he seen the decoy because he was right on top of us and that's when he started clucking. Saturday he made it to the fence line and wasn't but about 20 yards from the decoys and that's when he started clucking. My property runs alongside National Forest and the best I can figure is he's a old shot up bird that's weary to leave cover.

Saturday had the same bird I've been after for three weeks fly out of the tree he was in, which was 80 yards from me, land at 64 yards, then proceed to strut directly away from me up the ridge. He never gobbled after he flew down. Today he was within 150 yards and for the first time was hammering on the ground after fly down. Would not come any closer and finally shut up and that was that. I waited an hour, no sign of him, and I had to leave for work.

I think he has hens still. I've seen him within 100-110 yards 4 times and he's had hens every time. I think I'm going to stick with this flock for the rest of the season. It's been too much fun to leave them alone and try to find a more willing two year old bird.

Why can't I ever find a two year old the first week on public land before I get involved with a testy old bird like this? Every year...

Old birds are worth it. Sounds like you're close to closing the deal, I'd hang with it. They've really slowed their gobbling down in my area after flydown and I would have bet they were moving out of the breeding phase, but Sunday I got to watch a tom work 4 hens for an hour and breed at least one. I tried to get the boss hen pissed off, but I was set up too far out and couldn't close the distance. He was glued to the hens and didn't show any interest in my calls - and why would he? I gotta think that the hens will be mostly bred out and laying on the nest soon, which usually equals some opportunities with older birds that typically work a flock. Tough to say for sure, but after what I saw Sunday I know the game's not over yet.

If he's roosting in the same area daily, you may try to set up near his roost tree and bag him in the afternoon. I don't have a ton of experience with afternoon hunts but I've called a few in. Getting between where he is and where he wants to go is an advantage you don't always have in the morning. It's a bit risky but may pay off. Good luck and keep us posted.

This is the first year I have tried spring gobbler. The birds have been quiet for me but I have only been able to go the last 2 weeks. First hunt had a bird fly into a tree 40 yards from me then eventually go into my future back yard rather than the clearing down by the swamp. 2nd hunt had no action. I am going in the AM before this weather hits so I hope for some activity even if it is just some gobbling

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

Well the season has come to a bittersweet close. I only have public land access due to Covid and not wanting to risk visiting my family land and my grandfather. I had 31 days to hunt, and was able to get out 15 mornings and 1 evening.

Out of those 16 outings, I heard or saw turkeys 14 days. I located a pair of at least three year olds on the first Friday, and stuck with them all season. Had them within 120 yards 7 times, saw them 5 times, and ended the season this morning having one gobbling hard at 30 yards just on the other side of a little knoll for 15 minutes. I don't think a hunter alive had more close calls without sealing the deal than I did this year.

But I had a ton of fun, learned a lot, and really enjoyed my first public land only season. I saw turkeys, deer, bear, coyotes, a fox, tons of owls, and an assortment of other cool creatures. Watched a 8" lizard climb up and down an oak tree for an hour. Saw two different Scarlet Tanager pairs. And had a huge jet black coyote at 65 yards or so.

Never got a shot at a gobbler but honestly it was just a great spring all in all.

Glad to be able to sleep in for a while but looking forward to summer fishing and fall hunting.

It has been one of the stranger years I've experienced in recent memory. We had a real warm late winter and then a very cold spring which had to play a part. I also think there's just not that good of a population base of 2 yr old birds this year that had a big factor. I never could seem to get on a consistent pattern but like you really enjoyed my time out. And yes, I'm looking forward to being able to sleep in some on the weekends! I'm absolutely wore out from the grind but it's always worth it. Glad you enjoyed the season, it's always bittersweet at the end for me as well.

Pretty successful season for my son and I, somehow. He tagged out and I shot 2, 10 total hunts. Was planning on going some more but then the transmission on the jeep went out. Weather was not good most of the time as I imagine it was for everybody else, more like deer season than turkey season. In fact that's what we ended up doing, hunting them more like deer, put out cameras everywhere and set up on fields and plots that were showing some action. I can think of really only a few hours of decent spring weather in fact. Not much gobbling, at least I think so between all the gusty winds. It was fun though, came and went awful fast like it always does, and was really proud of how my son did, he's 15 now and has 5 gobblers to his credit, far better than I was by that age (just 1).

What a strange year. I've been out a few times without reporting but there hasn't been much consistency to write about. Such an up and down year. I had a lot of hen activity the last couple of weeks, including having one flog my decoy last Saturday as well as have one come in Thursday afternoon that looked to be "strutting". She came in very aggressive making clucks and what sounded almost like a kee-kee run, and when she saw my decoy she fuzzed up and walked all around it. She never flogged it but she did peck it and certainly didn't like the competition. I snapped a few pictures with my phone - I've seen hens act weird but never puff up like this one. Hens seemed to be uber aggressive at the tail end of the season.

Saturday morning I ventured out alone to close out the season and didn't have a lot of confidence. Had a couple gobbling on the roost and had a hen call to me aggressively before flydown. The hen made it's way out into the field and we called back and forth to each other but she never came much closer than 80 yards or so. As we were trading calls a gobbler started hammering answering everything we were throwing at him about 200 yards up the hill at the edge of the field. I could see him strutting and gobbling but he would not budge. I went silent to try and let the hen feed off and planned to get behind my umbrella and work up to within range of the gobbler. I'd done this only once before on this same farm and thought there wasn't much to lose as it was the last day and this guy wasn't moving. As I got ready to start stalking the hen popped back out in the field and saw me, running off putting the whole way. The gobbler got spooked and went over the hill, so in a last ditch effort I moved to the edge of the woods to try to call him back. When I got up there the neighbors dog came running over barking and wanting me to throw him sticks. Perfect. Walked back to the truck and headed for greener pastures.

Decided to hit our property on the mountain above my house so I threw my gear in the side by side and headed up. It was about 9:45 and I planned to call the same field I had seen the aggressive hen on Thursday as I knew there were gobblers working the area. My Spypoint camera sent a picture of one to me around 8:15 and I was hoping he was within earshot. Parked my vehicle just off the edge of the field, put on my gear and made a series of yelps. Boom - two gobbles rang out, one down the hollow from the field and one straight away from me, both within 100yds. I quicly sat down against a tree below the water bar I had just parked in and hit another call. Both answered and had cut the distance in half. There's no better feeling than knowing a gobbler is working your way and committed, and you're just waiting to see that head come bobbing in or that fan crest a ridge. One last call and they answered again, this time just around the bend from where I could see. A few seconds later a hen came running by and she didn't look happy. I flipped the safety off knowing the gobbler was behind her, and a few seconds later out popped a thick bearded tom. With the hen somewhere behind me and within 15 yards I didn't want to chance waiting on the second bird, so I put my dot on his head and pulled the trigger, dropping him at about 30 yards. I got a glimpse of the second gobbler as I stood up but couldn't tell what much about him. I walked over, sat my gun down and laid beside the bird and took a nap for a few minutes. It was a great ending to a frustrating season, and while I hated to see it end I was glad to be able to sleep in and focus on some fishing and a long list of stuff that needed done.

Bird had a nice thick beard just over 9", but the spurs were very short and he only weighed about 16 pounds. Probably would have been a monster in a year or two. I smoked the breasts that afternoon and washed them down with a few too many beers. It's been taxing and I've got a lot of catching up to do on things turkey season has trumped, but I truly love it and am already looking forward to next year. Hope everyone had a memorable season!

I'm interested in getting a bow and doing some bow hunting. I am aware that getting one this late likely means I won't be proficient enough to use it this upcoming season. Is Green Top the best place to go in the Richmond area for getting everything setup and leave without getting boned over? I literally know nothing about bows but already have a climbing stand for deer season and have always thought it would be fun and means I get more days in the woods to get after deer. I know there is a Pat's Sporting Goods in Chester that seems to be geared towards bow hunters but have never been there. Does anyone have any experience there?
Edit: Hey everyone thanks for the advice. I'm going to give HNS a call tomorrow since I won't have time after work today to do anything for it. Y'all are great.

Have you thought about a crossbow? The learning curve is much easier to overcome than with a bow. I recommend talking to some local shops and hunters and getting some knowledge and preferably some shooting experience before you buy. It's a big commitment in time and resources and to make decisions flat footed may put you down a rocky road.

The crossbow point is a good idea for those who succomb to buck fever but honestly the technology on compound bows makes them super accurate and easy to shoot.
To the OP I have nothing but glowing reviews of using HNS Archery over in Richmond I bought mine from them and they're staff are super knowledgeable and they'll get you in their range and let you shoot and even help teach you as part of a sale. Prices are great and they'll help you get turn key ready to hunt with a bow.

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

I looked up HNS Archery and they seem to be out of Goochland, maybe they moved if they were previously in Richmond, but I will give them a call Saturday.

HNS Archery was a great place to buy and practice for me, if you can find an open one (the one near me closed). The owner didn't much like humans, but he knew his stuff and would set you up well. I was in similar situation a few years back and they showed me the basics of the bow, got the draw length right, taught me how to adjust sights, as well as the proper mechanics (it came w/ a month of free sessions). No regrets from my end.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I shoot a custom recurve built by Paul Schafer in the 80s, look him up (really interesting dude), so I doubt any advice I would offer would be helpful. I just wanted to say welcome to the sport, be safe, and have fun.

I went to a stick and string several years ago after getting fed up with the arms race and $$$ involved with modern compounds. Couldn't be happier. I currently hunt with a Black Widow SAG and love it. Hunted for a few years with a laminated longbow I made but a longbow in a treestand cost me several deer. I have more fun shooting judo points at squirrels and leaves than I do waiting for deer. I got to thinking if I'm gonna be a shitty bow hunter I'm gonna do it the hard way and with style. Love it.

Agree completely. I was fortunate to be raised from the beginning shooting traditional, my Dad taught me well. I can honestly say I've never shot at an animal with a compound, and have never even shot a crossbow at a target. I don't feel like I'm missing anything and in fact I feel I've gained a lot.

Black Widows are good bows. I am not one to buy more than one of something, and my Schafer Silvertip serves me extremely well, so I doubt I ever buy another bow. But if I did, Black Widow would be on my short list.

If you get a chance, after reading everything by and about Fred Bear, check out Silvertip, about Paul, written by Bob Windauer. Good read. He was quite the character and one of the best bowhunters ever.

That's awesome you got started early. I'm still trying to break my bad habits. There's nothing like watching those feathers spin down range to a target. Something primal in it I suppose.

I lucked up and got the Black Widow on a trade for a Bear longbow I had plus a little cash. Not sure I could justify the cost of a new one but they're excellent bows especially for hunting. I still like my longbow for target and stump shooting. I'm pretty tall and get a little stacking with the short recurve. The longbow seems more forgiving.

I'll check out that book, seems like a great read. I was really into traditional self bows early on and read all the Traditional Bowyers Bible books. Never could build a good self bow to suit me so made a form based off a longbow I had and built some laminated bows. Made a couple nice ones but realized quickly they weren't perfect for my style of hunting. Tried to read a lot early on and really liked Byron Ferguson's book. He's a bit polarizing but he could shoot. Read some of Fred Bear's stuff and a little from Howard Hill. Such an excellent sport with some great history. Those guys didn't rely on laser rangefinders and sight pins. I'm a novice at best but I can hold my own against a compound shooter inside 40 on a quick shot with no preranged target.

That's awesome. I always wanted to build a bow. Maybe one day.

I started with a recurve, then got a long bow and killed a deer with it, but then out grew it and have shot recurves since.

My dad and I are tall too. He's 6'-6" and I'm 6'-8". He some how has much longer arms than me and shoots a 32" draw. I shoot 30-31", so the Schafer bow I mentioned, which he gave me for my graduation from VT, pulls a bit lighter for me than him but still serviceable. It has 58 lb and 65 lb limbs. I highly recommend a custom draw length bow if you ever get the chance. The stacking is nuts at a certain point. But I also understand they aren't cheap.

Sorry for going on and on. Besides turkey hunting, traditional archery is the next thing I can talk all day about.

Also, if traditional methods are of interest, try to find a copy of G. Fred Asbell's Stalking and Still hunting, the ground hunter's Bible. That and Instinctive shooting are my two favorite books of his.