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Author Topic: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy  (Read 1201 times)

Online Paulmyr

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2021, 04:50:25 AM »
Killed several standing behind a large tree in steep terrain!  One property I used to hunt they always stayed over the crest and would not expose themselves, always thought I should see them any second and never did, starting standing and killing them ignorant birds.

Most excellent point.  We have all heard the "sit with your back against a large tree" mantra spewed for so many years by the "experts" that something as obvious as standing (or laying prone in some situations) is somehow filtered out of our thought process in setting up on a bird.  I threw that mantra out the window many years ago, but not before a good number of gobblers escaped their demise simply because that "sit against a big tree" rule had me sitting when I should have been standing. 

Now, before anybody responds with the "sitting against a big tree is for safety reasons" comeback, let me ask you this:  What makes you look more like a turkey?,...sitting in a ball about the size, shape, and height of a turkey against a tree,...or standing straight up by that tree trunk?  ....The answer should be pretty obvious....   ???    ;)

Bingo! I seen this very scenario play out two years ago in Ky. I was hunting with my main hunting buddy and we struck a bird and he was not far and in open woods. As we approached a set up we realized we could not get out of the low brush without getting busted. I did not intend to shoot as I killed a bird the day before and my friend had not killed his first. I told him to stand up by a large pine so he could see. I then backed off and dug into a tree top and brush. I looked over and saw him sitting down and my first thought was, NOOOO! Well here comes the gobbler and he marches right by my buddy and proceeds into my lap and I am forced with a decision, shoot or let him go....yeah I shot him. The first thing I asked my buddy is, "why didn't you shoot him? He replied, I couldn't see him well enough to shoot, I guess I should have stayed standing like you said. He admitted it was just too foreign to the way he'd been taught and he thought I was nuts to suggest it. He thinks different now
Just curious, were you standing or sitting when you shot the turkey?

Online eggshell

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2021, 07:04:29 AM »
I was sitting. I was off my buddy's left shoulder calling, which put me about 10  yards into the brush and the same distance from the open woods. The gobbler had come in on the edge of the open and passed my buddy and was just past me. I had watched him walk and strutt all the way through and couldn't get a clean shot. Just when he was about to go over a break, he stopped and stuck his head up into a small hole in the brush at about 10 yards.  I had been following him with the gun. Luckily he done that or he'd have gotten away. I never set up with any thought of shooting, it was just plain luck I got a shot. My buddy and I have an agreement that if the designated shooter can't get off a shot and you can, we don't let a bird walks off when we are on a three day out of state hunt. Just curious why you ask? I hope it's not to stir up a debate in this thread.

Online Paulmyr

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2021, 11:08:17 AM »
Nope just curious.

Offline PNWturkey

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2021, 01:21:44 PM »

Most excellent point.  We have all heard the "sit with your back against a large tree" mantra spewed for so many years by the "experts" that something as obvious as standing (or laying prone in some situations) is somehow filtered out of our thought process in setting up on a bird.  I threw that mantra out the window many years ago, but not before a good number of gobblers escaped their demise simply because that "sit against a big tree" rule had me sitting when I should have been standing. 

Now, before anybody responds with the "sitting against a big tree is for safety reasons" comeback, let me ask you this:  What makes you look more like a turkey?,...sitting in a ball about the size, shape, and height of a turkey against a tree,...or standing straight up by that tree trunk?  ....The answer should be pretty obvious....   ???    ;)

GobbleNut - in general, how do you decide whether to sit or stand in a given setup?

I have also shot several gobblers over the years by standing up, but usually as a last-minute adjustment.  I have never gone into a setup thinking "this is a stand-up vs. sit-down setup" so am trying to learn...

Online eggshell

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2021, 06:47:37 AM »
For me, I never plan on standing up, but when I get in a situation that will not give me a good view and I can't move to  a sit down spot, that's when I stand. It's a response thing not a planned thing. This is true of many turkey hunting scenarios. flexibility will get you more shots. Another thing many inexperienced hunters fail to do is get close. They are afraid of spooking birds. Read the terrain and conditions. Every 20 yards you get increases your chances of pulling that Tom to gun range, especially after you've engaged him. You'll spook a few, but you'll kill some you wouldn't have. It balances out.

Offline EZ

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2021, 02:18:18 PM »

Most excellent point.  We have all heard the "sit with your back against a large tree" mantra spewed for so many years by the "experts" that something as obvious as standing (or laying prone in some situations) is somehow filtered out of our thought process in setting up on a bird.  I threw that mantra out the window many years ago, but not before a good number of gobblers escaped their demise simply because that "sit against a big tree" rule had me sitting when I should have been standing. 

Now, before anybody responds with the "sitting against a big tree is for safety reasons" comeback, let me ask you this:  What makes you look more like a turkey?,...sitting in a ball about the size, shape, and height of a turkey against a tree,...or standing straight up by that tree trunk?  ....The answer should be pretty obvious....   ???    ;)

GobbleNut - in general, how do you decide whether to sit or stand in a given setup?

I have also shot several gobblers over the years by standing up, but usually as a last-minute adjustment.  I have never gone into a setup thinking "this is a stand-up vs. sit-down setup" so am trying to learn...

How do you know? When you sit down against a tree and you can't see 10 yards but stand up and you can at least see what you need to.

I will slightly disagree with one thing at least in my experience. I've "set up" standing up quite a bit as a result of hunting Pa., WVa and NY State's steep ridges and I can say that turkeys will pick you out MUCH quicker standing against a tree than sitting. The fortunate thing is that most times he's dead by the time he could have seen more than your head and shoulders.

To the OP's original question.....obviously don't know your exact situation, but with a turkey just over the crest of a ridge, I usually would flank left or right for 100-150 yards, get up on the ridge to where I could see the other side and work him from there.

Online Jimspur

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2021, 07:36:18 PM »
I've killed a number of turkeys standing up but I never get behind a tree,
I always get in front of the tree. I do this because I can swing my gun anywhere very quickly.

If you're standing on a narrow hogback ridge and he's coming up the slope, you will usually catch a glimpse of his head or fan moving. Most of the time this will be all you need to get your gun up. But like Tony said, they can pick you off a lot easier. Especially if your in front of the tree.
Ask me how I know!  :OGani:

I only do this to increase my range of vision. The downside of this for me
is I can only stand there for so long.

Offline GobbleNut

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2021, 08:48:25 AM »
I've killed a number of turkeys standing up but I never get behind a tree,
I always get in front of the tree. I do this because I can swing my gun anywhere very quickly.

If you're standing on a narrow hogback ridge and he's coming up the slope, you will usually catch a glimpse of his head or fan moving. Most of the time this will be all you need to get your gun up. But like Tony said, they can pick you off a lot easier. Especially if your in front of the tree.
Ask me how I know!  :OGani:

I only do this to increase my range of vision. The downside of this for me
is I can only stand there for so long.

I have considered the question of whether to stand in front or back of a tree on a few occasions myself.  I can remember a time or two when I have chosen to stand in front, but it is always based on the "tree conditions"  of the situation.  That is, if there are enough low hanging branches that will break up my outline, and where I can get "tucked in" such that I feel a gobbler won't immediately pick me off, I will choose the "in front" option.

Now, if we are talking about standing in front against a barren tree trunk, that's a different story.  I will get behind every time.  I choose the side I think the gobbler will most likely come from, and try my best to be ready. If there is a "protrusion" on the trunk such that I can just lay my shotgun across it and wait comfortably, all the better. 

I agree about the length of time I can comfortably stand there, though.  As the years have passed, that length of time has become progressively shorter.   ;D :D



Offline Turkeyman

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2021, 01:11:26 PM »
I can only stand motionless for so long. I can sit motionless for much longer. Thus I'll tend to flank him and have a more favorable setup.

Online eggshell

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2021, 06:37:28 PM »
The only thing that is certain is that every situation demands it's own application and approach. That is what separates the successful set ups from the failed ones. Choose wisely grasshopper.

9.8 times out of ten I am sitting, but on occasion I will stand, but I will never stand if I think it's going to be a long duel. The set ups that are stand ups are close and hot. If the bird is far enough that's it's going to take long enough to exhaust you, you have time and space to move to a sitting spot, most likely. 

Online Jimspur

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2021, 10:02:20 PM »
That's what makes turkey hunting fun for me. Every situation is different,
and you hope you make the right decision. Sometimes you don't.

Offline GobbleNut

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2021, 09:36:17 AM »
The only thing that is certain is that every situation demands it's own application and approach. That is what separates the successful set ups from the failed ones. Choose wisely grasshopper.

9.8 times out of ten I am sitting, but on occasion I will stand, but I will never stand if I think it's going to be a long duel. The set ups that are stand ups are close and hot. If the bird is far enough that's it's going to take long enough to exhaust you, you have time and space to move to a sitting spot, most likely.

Totally agree.  The standing set-ups are usually the ones where a quick decision has to be made (often based on topography), or the understory conditions are such that the extra couple of feet of elevation at eye-level is obviously going to make a difference.  Also agree that if conditions and time allow, it is generally best to find a spot to "assume the sitting position",....especially for some of us "old dudes" that have commented on this subject.   ;D

Offline bobcat19

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2021, 05:14:59 PM »
Similar situation happened to me this season but not a narrow ridge like you had. Late season around 10 am struck a bird but could barely hear him gobble across a pretty big ravine. I was on one ridge he was on the ridge across so down, cross the creek, and up toward him was the move.

I got about 3/4 up the ridge he was on and he gobbled probably 75 yards away. I was able to get ~30 yards to the lip of the ridge facing up (turkey would have to look facing down) and sat down knowing he would be in range if he wanted to see the source of the calling. Once set up, lightly called and mostly did some scratching to give him a reference point without being too loud. A few minutes later his head appeared and the bird was in hand.

In your situation I would say don't be afraid to setup downhill of a bird just as long as you know you're close enough to shoot the ridge lip/terrain feature he has to cross to look down. But with that being said be ready to shoot immediately he might only give you 2 or 3 seconds before he spooks.

Online Paulmyr

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2021, 07:05:38 PM »
Similar situation happened to me this season but not a narrow ridge like you had. Late season around 10 am struck a bird but could barely hear him gobble across a pretty big ravine. I was on one ridge he was on the ridge across so down, cross the creek, and up toward him was the move.

I got about 3/4 up the ridge he was on and he gobbled probably 75 yards away. I was able to get ~30 yards to the lip of the ridge facing up (turkey would have to look facing down) and sat down knowing he would be in range if he wanted to see the source of the calling. Once set up, lightly called and mostly did some scratching to give him a reference point without being too loud. A few minutes later his head appeared and the bird was in hand.

In your situation I would say don't be afraid to setup downhill of a bird just as long as you know you're close enough to shoot the ridge lip/terrain feature he has to cross to look down. But with that being said be ready to shoot immediately he might only give you 2 or 3 seconds before he spooks.

Not exactly the safest way to discharge a weapon in the turkey woods. I hope anybody that may happen to be with in 200yds on the other side has on a good pair of safety glasses on and that would be if the ground was flat. if it drops off into another ravine no telling how far a safe distance would be. Guy hears the shot and immediately looks in the direction the shot came from. Catches a BB in the eye. Make sure you know what is beyond your target before pulling the trigger.

Offline GobbleNut

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Re: What to do in this situation? Set up Strategy
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2021, 09:36:40 AM »
I don't want to be contrary or discount the safety issues as noted above, and "better safe than sorry" certainly applies in all circumstances. Having said that,  I honestly believe that mantra can be taken a bit to the extreme in some cases.  This may or may not be one of them,...each circumstance often has to be evaluated in "real time". 

In bobcat19's situation, if I am honest, I would almost certainly have pulled the trigger as he did.  Honestly, I bet there are few turkey hunters that would not have done the same. The remote possibility that someone beyond the turkey would be hit, to me is equivalent to the possibility of being struck by lightning or having a tree fall on you. 

Let me expand on that explanation from my personal perspective.  In any turkey hunting scenario I am involved in, I am always trying to be aware of the possibility someone else might be in the area.  I am always on the defensive in that regard, but maybe more importantly, I am also always watching/listening for clues that might tip me off that I am not alone. 

Obviously, hearing turkey calling in the distance is one of those clues.  Another clue that I pay attention to is any change in a turkeys demeanor that indicates he has become alert to something from an extraneous source.  In my experience, the turkeys will be the first to tell you that something is amiss.  Simply put, it is the extremely rare turkey hunter that can sneak in and set up on a gobbler that you are working, get close enough that he might get shot, and do that without the turkeys (or you) having an indication that something like that is happening. 

The odds of someone doing that, AND being in a position that they will possibly be hit by the shot string beyond the turkey is extremely remote.  Again, if it was me, I would be more concerned about a lightning strike.   

I totally agree,..."safety first",....but honestly speaking, in this case, I think that would be taking it to the extreme.   :icon_thumright: