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Author Topic: Finding Fall Turkeys  (Read 516 times)

Offline otoha0309

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Finding Fall Turkeys
« on: October 08, 2022, 08:09:35 PM »
Hello, I'm new here and I'm from southern WI. This is my first year hunting anything at all let alone turkeys. But I made my son a promise and here we are. I have spent the last 3 weeks scouting public land and at this point I have to admit I still have no idea what I'm looking for and I have neither seen nor heard a single turkey of any kind. I mean I can find feathers and scat but I don't know what any of it means. I don't know what kind of terrain to look for, how to find their roosting areas, nothing. Only what I've been able to learn from YouTube, and I know better than to take any of that as gospel. I only have my son part time, so what opportunities I get to take him out is very precious and valuable. I took him out today to the one place I was able to find OLD signs of turkey activity, and after several hours in the blind and several more stalking around calling and still hearing and seeing nothing I know he was disappointed even though he did his best not to show it. I only have maybe 3 more chances to take him this fall, and I'm desperate to find a single turkey worth the harvest tag. Any advice out there?

Offline silvestris

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2022, 11:04:19 AM »
Get the Merlin app and use it to educate yourself and your son while the two of you are out there. Also the Seek app is good for flora.  You are gonna have a steep learning curve, so you might as well learn something while learning.  I promise that the two of you will have a fun time while also learning the game.
“[T]he changing environment will someday be totally and irrevocably unsuitable for the wild turkey.  Unless mankind precedes the birds in extinction, we probably will not be hunting turkeys for too much longer.”  Ken Morgan, “Turkey Hunting, A One Man Game

Offline Paulmyr

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2022, 12:00:15 PM »
Turkeys in the fall aren't my thing. Best I can offer you is look for food sources. Acorns will be in high demand by turkeys as it gets cooler as well a crops like corn. Corn and acorns are high in starch/carbs. I heard a well known biologist state corn works well when baiting for Canon nets during cool to cold weather during the fall, winter and early spring. As the temps warm during the spring turkeys would avoid corn and they would have to switch to grains like oats as bait to attract turkeys with less success as corn during the cooler/ cold periods. His thought as to why being the high sugar/starch content was readily digested by turkeys and made it hard for them to regulate their body temps and keep cool during warm weather.

This fall has been consistently warm so far. I think as the fall progresses and temps start to cool down you find turkeys more attracted to these food sources. Until then I think insects and plants high in protein would be their focus. Grasshoppers come to mind.

Fall turkeys is a tough go around especially for a 1st time hunter. Some like the challenge. Most do not and prefer spring when adult males are more inclined to announce there locations making them much easier to hunt.

I'd say don't get discouraged and try to relate to your son that it's difficult to kill or even find wild turkeys this time of year. If you do find some turkeys to hunt that's a bonus. Use your outings to get familiar with areas that might hold turkeys in the spring. Keep the focus on the hunt as a learning/ gaining knowledge experience with the plan that you'll get after them hard in the spring. Try to focus his anticipation towards springtime with the use of these fall forays as a means to an end.

I might add. Squirrels are usually plentiful, much easier to locate, and pretty darned tasty. It might not be a bad idea to keep your son's attention with a focus on squirrel hunting and turkeys as secondary until spring.

Good luck!

Paul Myrdahl

“I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.". John Wayne, The Shootist.

Offline donjuan

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2022, 02:15:13 PM »
Where you find droppings and feathers could probably be the Roost areas if the trees are in a good spot for it. Any chance you can get in a half an hour before daylight and listen?
Whoever said you can't kill em from the couch never was good enough to call a gobbler into the living room

Offline otoha0309

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2022, 03:14:43 PM »
Where you find droppings and feathers could probably be the Roost areas if the trees are in a good spot for it. Any chance you can get in a half an hour before daylight and listen?
That's basically all I've been doing, getting out early and trying to find them coming down. I don't have the opportunity usually to get out and follow them to roost, but that would require actually seeing one to follow in the first place. If there are birds around they are entirely silent. I've combed at least 6-7 different public access lots in my zone. I've checked several different types of woods, corn fields (which are almost all still up here) rye/wheat fields, soybean fields, wetlands, creeks, and this morning I even checked the creepiest 100+ year old abandoned cemetery in the middle of some seriously thick woods. Found a bunch of poop on a mausoleum ledge indicating a possible roost but that's it. I've not seen a single bird, or heard a single gobble

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Offline otoha0309

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2022, 03:20:18 PM »
Turkeys in the fall aren't my thing. Best I can offer you is look for food sources. Acorns will be in high demand by turkeys as it gets cooler as well a crops like corn. Corn and acorns are high in starch/carbs. I heard a well known biologist state corn works well when baiting for Canon nets during cool to cold weather during the fall, winter and early spring. As the temps warm during the spring turkeys would avoid corn and they would have to switch to grains like oats as bait to attract turkeys with less success as corn during the cooler/ cold periods. His thought as to why being the high sugar/starch content was readily digested by turkeys and made it hard for them to regulate their body temps and keep cool during warm weather.

This fall has been consistently warm so far. I think as the fall progresses and temps start to cool down you find turkeys more attracted to these food sources. Until then I think insects and plants high in protein would be their focus. Grasshoppers come to mind.

Fall turkeys is a tough go around especially for a 1st time hunter. Some like the challenge. Most do not and prefer spring when adult males are more inclined to announce there locations making them much easier to hunt.

I'd say don't get discouraged and try to relate to your son that it's difficult to kill or even find wild turkeys this time of year. If you do find some turkeys to hunt that's a bonus. Use your outings to get familiar with areas that might hold turkeys in the spring. Keep the focus on the hunt as a learning/ gaining knowledge experience with the plan that you'll get after them hard in the spring. Try to focus his anticipation towards springtime with the use of these fall forays as a means to an end.

I might add. Squirrels are usually plentiful, much easier to locate, and pretty darned tasty. It might not be a bad idea to keep your son's attention with a focus on squirrel hunting and turkeys as secondary until spring.

Good luck!
I have been stressing it to him when we're afield that we really put our own backs against the wall trying to start hunting in the fall. I was ready to hunt for the spring of 22 but I didn't understand the systems in place here in Wisconsin and missed the lottery pull. My son has been talking about it non-stop, I couldn't let the fall season pass without at least TRYING. I've also explained to him that in reality I don't know any more about turkey hunting than him, it's just my compiled life experience, and growing up before the age of the internet came that makes me knowledgeable about the woods and wildlife. I appreciate this information though thank you. This is the most comprehensive dietary information breakdown I've gotten yet. This will absolutely help.

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk


Offline otoha0309

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2022, 03:22:43 PM »
Get the Merlin app and use it to educate yourself and your son while the two of you are out there. Also the Seek app is good for flora.  You are gonna have a steep learning curve, so you might as well learn something while learning.  I promise that the two of you will have a fun time while also learning the game.
We had fun, and he's definitely learning about the woods in a whole new way. Clearing up the ticks was pretty entertaining that first time

Sent from my Pixel 6 using Tapatalk


Offline EZ

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Re: Finding Fall Turkeys
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2022, 01:38:56 PM »
Another good starting tip would be to call your local Conservation Officer and ask where or if he has seen turkeys in your particular area.

Usually, fall turkey hunting involves LOTS of walking. Look for food, acorns, berries, beechnuts, dogwood berries, etc. I would suggest traveling light and have some drinks and snacks along. Call a lot, even while walking. Lots of lost calling and kee-kees....then lots of listening.

Make your goal for you and your son to enjoy the day as #1 and the advantage of learning something about the woods every time out. Hunting turkeys as a first thing you hunt is a lofty goal but very attainable as long as you keep things in perspective. Father/son hunts are as rewarding as it gets!!!