Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Turkey Excitement Continues to Build

The weather finally broke, and some hunters were able to get out and harvest some really nice big toms.  The picture below was sent to me of a very successful hunter.  Ten year old Taylor nailed a really nice big bird.  10.5 inch beard and weighing 25 pounds 2 ounces make this the second largest tom I have seen harvested this year.  The best part of the picture is the smile on Taylor.  How can it get any better when you are ten years old.

Congratulations to Taylor.
If any of you know of a young person that has had some success, send a picture and a brief description of the hunter and we will post it for the world to enjoy.
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Compact Game Camera
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Compact Game Camera
Click on the link or the picture to price and buy from Bass Pro
I took particular notice about the size of the gun Chloe and Taylor both shoot.  Both girls shoot 20 Guage shot guns, and then I compare it to mine which is a semi-automatic and shoots 3.5 inch shells.  That makes me feel guilty as if I am doing an overkill. 
Avian-X LCD Strutter Turkey Decoy

Avian-X LCD Strutter Turkey Decoy
Click on the link or the picture to price and buy from Bass Pro.

The two girls just shot two really nice birds, and I have not been out to even take a poke at a jake.  That will soon change with the weather changing.  I intend to get my scouting done on the farms I hunt and be ready to hit it hard. 
 RedHead Turkey Decoy - Semi-Feeding Relaxed Jake
RedHead Turkey Decoy - Semi-Feeding Relaxed Jake
Click on the link to price and buy from Bass Pro.  I really feel it is important to have a couple of Jakes in your decoy mix.  It is competition for the toms.
After visiting with the two landowners in Nebraska, both were not optomistic this year.  The farm north of Fort Calhoun has a commercial hunting operation bordering it and the landowner had not seen the turkey traffic he has seen in the past.  The farm north of Tekamah lost their birds last summer with the drought.  They did not die, they just moved off the ground and went somewhere else.  The owner just recently saw 65 birds of mixed sex moving back onto the farm.  Who knows why the enormous flock just  left even though this place was a meat market. 
Primos Dirty B Injured Turkey Decoy
Primos Dirty B Injured Turkey Decoy
This makes and interesting decoy to the mix.  Click on the link to price and buy from Bass Pro.
I find it is always a good idea to review the bird, how they live, and their habits.  For this information I turn to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The following information below is from the department website and makes for informative reading of the bird you are trying to harvest.
Because of their dependence on variable mast production for food in areas where large tracts provide typical turkey habitat, good populations normally average about 10 turkeys per square mile of forest over much of eastern turkey range. In agricultural states like Iowa, the presence of abundant food contributes to densities at least twice this great, and may reach 40-60 turkeys per square mile in the best habitats.

Turkeys breed only in the spring. Hens join harems attached to a dominant gobbler, but may breed with any available male. Nests are poorly formed bowls completely on the ground and contain 6-18 eggs (average 11 per clutch). Hens of all ages attempt to nest, but yearling hens are seldom successful and 80% of the poults will be produced by 2 year old or older hens. Nests have been found in most habitat types from dense forest, brush, grown up pastures, fence lines, to alfalfa fields.

 Hens incubate 28 days before the eggs hatch. Typically 30-60% of hens will attempt renesting after losing a clutch to cold, wet weather or predators, with about 40-60% of the adult hens will eventually hatch a clutch. Hens do all the brood rearing, and life is precarious for newly hatched poults with over half dieing in the first 4 weeks. Of the poults surviving to fall, 35% of the young hens will be lost to predators, primarily coyotes. Few young or adult turkeys are lost during the winter in most of Iowa, but starvation may occur where deep snows for a prolonged period keep flocks from moving to food sources.

 Spring is a major mortality period for both sexes, and many hens are lost to predators after winter flocks break up and breeding activities begin, and toms fall prey primarily to hunters. Annual survival rates average 57% for females and 35% for males. 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

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