Toms Henned Up

BritChaser

Well-known member
On opening morning and evening set ups in different locations the toms were henned up. They'd look at the decoys when I called, wander toward them for a bit, but ultimately would return to their harem hens.
 

gimruis

Active member
On opening morning and evening set ups in different locations the toms were henned up. They'd look at the decoys when I called, wander toward them for a bit, but ultimately would return to their harem hens.
Decoys and calls rarely work where I hunt nowadays because the pressure is so high. I've resorted to doing it more like deer hunting where I simply move my blind to a daily travel route and patiently wait for one to walk within range. No calls, no decoys. They actually hinder my success. The great part about turkeys is that you can pattern their daily movements pretty easily. If you see them in an area one day, there's a good chance they'll be there again the next day around the same time.
 
Called this guy in for a first timer last weekend. The birds came in silent and it took a couple hours of light calling every 20-30 minutes to get the job done with a flock deke set up. Headed back out tomorrow with another first timer. Hope I can repeat last weekend.
 

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We went two for two so far. Back out tomorrow for a few days. They all have come in quite but blown up strutting.
 

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gimruis

Active member
I realize this is a Kansas thread, but I just got done hunting for 5 days straight here in central Minnesota for season B. It was some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced...rain, snow, wind, cold temps. Luckily it was tolerable because I hunt in a portable tent blind, plus I saw 57 turkeys in 5 days! Unfortunately, I could not get a single legal bearded male turkey to come within range. They'd fly down from the roost into a field, feed, and then walk off into the distance every single day. Calling and decoys weren't effective so I abandoned that after day 2. Then I tried moving my blind a couple times. Still didn't work. I actually thought about digging a pit in the field and hiding in it. Quite frustrating to see that many turkeys and only have 2 hens walk within 50 yards one day. There were several real nice toms in there too. If anyone has advice on what I should do when I encounter this issue, I'm all ears. There's a good chance I'll be hunting this area again next spring. The picture below is what I stared at for days. They are 110 yards away.
 

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Munster927

Active member
I realize this is a Kansas thread, but I just got done hunting for 5 days straight here in central Minnesota for season B. It was some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced...rain, snow, wind, cold temps. Luckily it was tolerable because I hunt in a portable tent blind, plus I saw 57 turkeys in 5 days! Unfortunately, I could not get a single legal bearded male turkey to come within range. They'd fly down from the roost into a field, feed, and then walk off into the distance every single day. Calling and decoys weren't effective so I abandoned that after day 2. Then I tried moving my blind a couple times. Still didn't work. I actually thought about digging a pit in the field and hiding in it. Quite frustrating to see that many turkeys and only have 2 hens walk within 50 yards one day. There were several real nice toms in there too. If anyone has advice on what I should do when I encounter this issue, I'm all ears. There's a good chance I'll be hunting this area again next spring. The picture below is what I stared at for days. They are 110 yards away.
I'm guessing they were all with hens every time you saw the birds? I'm in MN too and hunted the A season this year and experienced much of the same. I could have stuck a jake with my bow at 10 yards but I kinda have a no jake rule on myself.

But when they're henned up like that, there isn't much you can do unfortunately. One idea could be a big decoy spread. Talking like 8-10 decoys. To try and get them thinking maybe they'll come over and hang with your flock.

The other idea would be to try and belly crawl into range behind a tail fan (assuming you're in a safe area to do that without getting yourself shot).

Outside of those 2 ideas, I'm out of any others besides saying "that's hunting" and maybe next year they'll cooperate and the hens will be nesting so the toms will be looking for more girlfriends.
 

Kansan

Member
I'm guessing they were all with hens every time you saw the birds? I'm in MN too and hunted the A season this year and experienced much of the same. I could have stuck a jake with my bow at 10 yards but I kinda have a no jake rule on myself.

But when they're henned up like that, there isn't much you can do unfortunately. One idea could be a big decoy spread. Talking like 8-10 decoys. To try and get them thinking maybe they'll come over and hang with your flock.

The other idea would be to try and belly crawl into range behind a tail fan (assuming you're in a safe area to do that without getting yourself shot).

Outside of those 2 ideas, I'm out of any others besides saying "that's hunting" and maybe next year they'll cooperate and the hens will be nesting so the toms will be looking for more girlfriends.
How late does your season run in MN? I’ve found that here in Kansas, late season can often be the best hunting. Hens are on the nest, and when you find a fired up tom, he’ll usually come to the call. I’ve killed most of my turkeys in the last week of May.
Trying to call one in this time of year can be an effort in futility, because he usually has his girls with him. No reason to come to you.
 

gimruis

Active member
I'm guessing they were all with hens every time you saw the birds?
Not necessarily. I saw groups of jakes and toms without hens too. But, if there was a hen, the males would basically just follow her around. I normally place my blind near the roost (not too close) so that it blends in with the surroundings. I know turkeys aren't bothered by a blind, but I still try to hide it. I have now heard that placing a blind right in the middle of the field could work. To me that seems very unnatural. But given how desperate I was, I should have tried it. I think next year I am going to place it more out in the open rather than trying to hide it.
How late does your season run in MN?
Our season runs close to the end of May. But you have to pick a single 7-day season to hunt with a shotgun. For me that was season B. There is an exception that you can hunt season F if you fail to fill an earlier tag but I really have no interest in turkey hunting that late with all the bugs, hot temps, and fishing season open. Archery hunters can hunt the entire season.

I probably shouldn't complain. I saw more turkeys than I ever have, plus deer, pheasants, sand hill cranes, and a coyote. I never got bored. Most hunters would be thrilled to see that many turkeys and other wildlife.
 

Munster927

Active member
That's a little odd they didn't seem to care about your calls or setup without having a hen with them. But turkeys are weird to begin with. I've seen em do some strange shit over the years haha

And I would agree with Kansan, I prefer hunting late season myself but rarely do it because once our fishing opener hits in MN, that's what I'm doing. It's hard to do everything so something's gota give haha
 

gimruis

Active member
That's a little odd they didn't seem to care about your calls or setup without having a hen with them. But turkeys are weird to begin with. I've seen em do some strange shit over the years haha

And I would agree with Kansan, I prefer hunting late season myself but rarely do it because once our fishing opener hits in MN, that's what I'm doing. It's hard to do everything so something's gota give haha
Those bird's behavior sometimes are a head scratcher. They clearly aren't problem solving birds because when you shoot one, the others don't run off. Its like they can't even figure out that their buddy just got blasted by a 12 gauge and he's dying.

I've never been much of a caller to be honest. I do it sparingly. Just enough so they know I'm there. Sometimes I don't call at all. After day 2, I didn't even bring a call or decoy because I could tell on day 1 and 2 it was not effective. So now its just more like deer hunting where I wait on a daily travel route for one to walk by within range. Unfortunately, that never happened even though I saw a bunch every time.
 

OKhunter88

New member
Those bird's behavior sometimes are a head scratcher. They clearly aren't problem solving birds because when you shoot one, the others don't run off. Its like they can't even figure out that their buddy just got blasted by a 12 gauge and he's dying.

I've never been much of a caller to be honest. I do it sparingly. Just enough so they know I'm there. Sometimes I don't call at all. After day 2, I didn't even bring a call or decoy because I could tell on day 1 and 2 it was not effective. So now its just more like deer hunting where I wait on a daily travel route for one to walk by within range. Unfortunately, that never happened even though I saw a bunch every time.
When the birds are henned up, I try to call in the Boss Hen. Forget about the toms and try to get her fired up to come whip the new girl in town. The big boys will follow. Also, some birds want little to no calling, but others it takes a lot of calling to get them to come in. If you aren't using a strutter or jake decoy it might be time to think about adding one or both.
 

gimruis

Active member
If you aren't using a strutter or jake decoy it might be time to think about adding one or both.
I have a jake and a hen decoy. I used both on day 2. I used only the hen on day 1. Since neither setup worked, I removed both of them on day 3.
 
I realize this is a Kansas thread, but I just got done hunting for 5 days straight here in central Minnesota for season B. It was some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced...rain, snow, wind, cold temps. Luckily it was tolerable because I hunt in a portable tent blind, plus I saw 57 turkeys in 5 days! Unfortunately, I could not get a single legal bearded male turkey to come within range. They'd fly down from the roost into a field, feed, and then walk off into the distance every single day. Calling and decoys weren't effective so I abandoned that after day 2. Then I tried moving my blind a couple times. Still didn't work. I actually thought about digging a pit in the field and hiding in it. Quite frustrating to see that many turkeys and only have 2 hens walk within 50 yards one day. There were several real nice toms in there too. If anyone has advice on what I should do when I encounter this issue, I'm all ears. There's a good chance I'll be hunting this area again next spring. The picture below is what I stared at for days. They are 110 yards away.
How long were you sitting? Generally after Tom's fly down with hens they with either work to your set up ( currently using a flock set up now) or not, but if not I would sit for a few hours in that spot as that gobblers knows you are there and will work back to you once the hens go of to nest and feed. We have killed two of the last three birds using this method. My bird pictured below from this weekend came in with a hen from flydown and proceeded to kick the snot out of my Avian Jake. Had to kill him to protect my decoy.
 

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gimruis

Active member
How long were you sitting?
I sat there for about 4.5 hours every morning. I moved my blind twice so it wasn't in the exact same location every day. I also hunted one evening for about 2.5 hours to try and intercept them coming back. It worked, because 20 minutes after I got in my blind, there they came heading back to the roost. Only problem was, they were still way out of range.
 

Munster927

Active member
You could try really hammering on your calls, as others have mentioned. It's another thing to try in those situations. Also could try a gobble call if you have one. Sometimes when birds get in those big groups and won't cooperate I'll call non stop for about 15 minutes. Pull out all the calls you know and just let em have it.
 
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