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Vermont Turkey Trip #7866001
05/15/23 10:43 AM
05/15/23 10:43 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
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coondagger2 Offline OP
"Brat"
coondagger2  Offline OP
"Brat"
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Joined: Dec 2012
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NC - Here there and everywhere
Drove up to Vermont with a buddy on a spur of the moment trip this past weekend. We didn't have a lot of time to take off from work so we were only able to hunt 3 days. Luckily we didn't come home empty handed! I'll post the story below for those that are interested

I did a lot of research before going and talked to several guys here and elsewhere. General consensus is most guys go around Rutland and there are birds there. I typically stay away from the crowds so I decided to go to the Northeast Kingdom part of Vermont. In 3-1/2 days of hunting/scouting we put 800 miles on the truck. Nearly a tank of gas each day scouting.

Vermont is the first state I have hunted with the non-posted ground law. If it is private land that is not posted it is legal to hunt. This sounds great until you get your boots on the ground. Most fields with turkeys in them are also littered with posted signs. Coming from the South I went in with the mindset that even if it wasn't posted I would do a courtesy call to the landowner to let them know we would be hunting. Every time, other than one time I ran into a nice guy, I made a courtesy call on the trip I was told that they did not want hunting on their property. This is property that I could legally hunt otherwise. I was not able to get permission on a single piece of posted ground. The moral of this story is that if the land is not posted you should hunt that bird, because if you wait on a call back the next guy coming down that road is going to kill him.

The first two days of hunting were tough. We had found a few birds and hunted one the first morning that should have been an easy bird. He turned out to be extremely henned up, and when we called the hunt quits and went looking for him we found him in the middle of the road around the corner breeding a hen.

There was very little gobbling activity and not many clues as to what the birds were doing each day. There was one little field that maintained its consistency though. At some point in the day a gobbler would be there. Our last day was the third day and I figured that was as good of a place as any. The evening before I had seen several trucks scouting that field and one truck parked with binoculars on the bird. I determined at that point I would be up early and beat them to the field.

At 2:45 AM my alarm went off and I was off. I dropped my buddy off to hunt another spot he had struck a bird in the day before. I pulled into the spot I wanted and no one was there. Unloaded my gear and started the walk in. No sooner than I had started walking a truck came down the road looking to park where I had parked to hunt. He saw my truck and slowly pulled off. I had beat him to the spot, but only with a couple minutes to spare!

I had brought a pop tart and plenty of water and was prepared to sit there until the 12:00 shooting time cutoff. I put a single hen decoy out as they had been super shy and not looking for a fight. According to what we heard them do the first day of hunting they should have been roosted about 100 yards to my right. Finally, a good little while after shooting time I hear them gobble on the roost. The problem is they are about 300 yards to my left. It took everything in me to not move and go to them. I knew that they would come by me at some point where I had setup, but with them gobbling a couple times on the roost I figured I could get close. I decided to stay put and let them do their thing.

Two hours went by after shooting light and they had only gobbled once or twice while on the ground. I would call at them each time they gobbled or every 30 minutes or so, just to let them know where I was. The last time I heard them gobble they were still a good 150-200 yards away in the next field and didn't sound like they were coming. I had my phone out texting my buddy to see if he had any action. I look up and a gobbler and 2 hens are 30 yards to my left. My gun was in my lap and I was in no position to shoot. I was using some thick green spruce bushes to hide and I had a big one between me and him.

I slowly put my phone down and pick up my gun. He is in full strut looking at my hen. I try to lift my leg to use my knee as a shooting rest and as soon as I ever so slightly moved he picked me out, I was busted. He stuck his head up high just knowing something was up. At this point it was now or never, so I quickly shouldered my gun and turned my red dot on while doing so. He was putting off and I called to stop him. Put the dot on his head and let it fly. By the time I got my shot off he was farther than I would like to admit, but the 28 gauge shooting a 8.5x9 tss load dropped him like a rock. No flopping

I had to sit there and collect myself for a minute as we had worked very hard for these birds. I finally walked out to him and discovered something odd. I had seen him in full strut at 30 yards so I knew he was a tom. Beautiful full fan and a big bird. I looked for his beard and couldn't find it. After digging through his feathers I finally found a little nub about 2.5" long. Not even as long as a jake beard. He had 3/4" inch spurs and weighed 19 and a half pounds. All I can figure is that he is a 2 year old bird that didn't develop a proper beard. Either way I am thankful to get him and was tickled to punch a tag in Vermont. They made us work for it but we were able to at least bring one home on the last morning!

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Gotta live up to the nickname...
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866008
05/15/23 10:59 AM
05/15/23 10:59 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,532
Sumner, Mo.
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claycreech Offline
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claycreech  Offline
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Sumner, Mo.
Sounds like a ton of hunting pressure.
I despise that anywhere, but especially far from home!
That turkey has/had beard mites at some point.
Sounds like a fun hunt!!

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866026
05/15/23 11:39 AM
05/15/23 11:39 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 9,548
SW Georgia
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Wanna Be Offline
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Wanna Be  Offline
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Joined: May 2018
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SW Georgia
Great story and hunt! Congrats on sticking with it. You definitely remember those birds that made you work for them. Itís tough traveling to other states, just thankful for OnX, lol. Iím already scouting next years hunts. Iím sure you and others do it, but a call to the regional DNR or Fish and Game Dept for the area youíre going helps as well.

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866059
05/15/23 01:32 PM
05/15/23 01:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,290
vermont
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vermontster Offline
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vermontster  Offline
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vermont
Congratulations. Itís so hard to get permission here, itís gotten even harder with all the people buying places and moving here during and after Covid.


The bitterness of poor quality last a lot longer than the sweetness of low price
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: Wanna Be] #7866161
05/15/23 04:48 PM
05/15/23 04:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
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coondagger2 Offline OP
"Brat"
coondagger2  Offline OP
"Brat"
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Joined: Dec 2012
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NC - Here there and everywhere
Originally Posted by Wanna Be
Great story and hunt! Congrats on sticking with it. You definitely remember those birds that made you work for them. Itís tough traveling to other states, just thankful for OnX, lol. Iím already scouting next years hunts. Iím sure you and others do it, but a call to the regional DNR or Fish and Game Dept for the area youíre going helps as well.

Good tips!! I definitely rely heavily on OnX and I learned an important lesson with it on this trip. I had zero cell phone service most of the trip. I should have downloaded the offline map before I went up so I could see it to get around. Sure is hard to get around somewhere you've never been with no maps or cell service


Gotta live up to the nickname...
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: vermontster] #7866162
05/15/23 04:49 PM
05/15/23 04:49 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
C
coondagger2 Offline OP
"Brat"
coondagger2  Offline OP
"Brat"
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
Originally Posted by vermontster
Congratulations. Itís so hard to get permission here, itís gotten even harder with all the people buying places and moving here during and after Covid.

I did run into that. Several landowners from NY and one from MA that I dealt with. Only a couple that had lived there their whole life


Gotta live up to the nickname...
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866173
05/15/23 05:20 PM
05/15/23 05:20 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 9,548
SW Georgia
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Wanna Be Offline
trapper
Wanna Be  Offline
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Joined: May 2018
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SW Georgia
Originally Posted by coondagger2
Originally Posted by Wanna Be
Great story and hunt! Congrats on sticking with it. You definitely remember those birds that made you work for them. Itís tough traveling to other states, just thankful for OnX, lol. Iím already scouting next years hunts. Iím sure you and others do it, but a call to the regional DNR or Fish and Game Dept for the area youíre going helps as well.

Good tips!! I definitely rely heavily on OnX and I learned an important lesson with it on this trip. I had zero cell phone service most of the trip. I should have downloaded the offline map before I went up so I could see it to get around. Sure is hard to get around somewhere you've never been with no maps or cell service

Yeah, I should have mentioned that. I download all potential areas. Whatís so cool with OnX is even if you start your trek with service, if you lose signal it automatically switches to offline maps. I had about the entire Western half of Montana downloaded, just in case.

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866265
05/15/23 08:30 PM
05/15/23 08:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 9,525
MT
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snowy Offline
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MT
Great story and congratulations! I believe the season is closed here now but they were gobbling up a storm today when I was at the ranch. Didn't see any but they were close.


Give me a fish, I will eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I will eat for a lifetime
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866396
05/16/23 06:01 AM
05/16/23 06:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 12,483
Michigan
T
Trapper Dahlgren Online content
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Trapper Dahlgren  Online Content
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Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 12,483
Michigan
congratulations, great story, thanks for sharing!

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: Trapper Dahlgren] #7866447
05/16/23 08:32 AM
05/16/23 08:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,947
Saginaw, Mi
M
micheal Offline
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micheal  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,947
Saginaw, Mi
Congratulations

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866462
05/16/23 09:17 AM
05/16/23 09:17 AM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 745
South Central Kansas
KsTrapper88 Offline
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KsTrapper88  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 745
South Central Kansas
Nice work. Patience is the deadliest thing a turkey hunter can bring with them into the woods. Iíd hate to know how many birds Iíve missed out on by not sticking tight or moving off when the birds seem to be leaving. Great story


Derek
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: claycreech] #7866505
05/16/23 11:06 AM
05/16/23 11:06 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
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coondagger2 Offline OP
"Brat"
coondagger2  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2012
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NC - Here there and everywhere
Thanks gentlemen!

Originally Posted by claycreech
Sounds like a ton of hunting pressure.
I despise that anywhere, but especially far from home!
That turkey has/had beard mites at some point.
Sounds like a fun hunt!!

I actually talked to a biologist in Vermont this morning about that beard. He claimed that the bird probably pulled his beard off in the freezing/icy conditions. Apparently with deep snow and ice their beards will maintain contact with the ground during feeding long enough to actually freeze to the ground. They will pull their own beards out. Picture a tongue stuck to a frozen pole, sort of like that

He told me that ideal beard growth rate should be about 5 inches per year until they reach maturity. He estimates my bird pulled his beard off in December or January and the beard he had when I killed him is what grew back in its place in 5 or 6 months


Gotta live up to the nickname...
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866634
05/16/23 04:14 PM
05/16/23 04:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,532
Sumner, Mo.
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claycreech Offline
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claycreech  Offline
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Posts: 1,532
Sumner, Mo.
Originally Posted by coondagger2
Thanks gentlemen!

Originally Posted by claycreech
Sounds like a ton of hunting pressure.
I despise that anywhere, but especially far from home!
That turkey has/had beard mites at some point.
Sounds like a fun hunt!!

I actually talked to a biologist in Vermont this morning about that beard. He claimed that the bird probably pulled his beard off in the freezing/icy conditions. Apparently with deep snow and ice their beards will maintain contact with the ground during feeding long enough to actually freeze to the ground. They will pull their own beards out. Picture a tongue stuck to a frozen pole, sort of like that

He told me that ideal beard growth rate should be about 5 inches per year until they reach maturity. He estimates my bird pulled his beard off in December or January and the beard he had when I killed him is what grew back in its place in 5 or 6 months


Iíve seen that same thing all over the U.S. Iíve killed a half dozen or so that had the same thing, and we donít get that kind of snow.
IMO itís beard mites, but I reckon it doesnít make much difference lol.

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866824
05/17/23 03:06 AM
05/17/23 03:06 AM
Joined: Dec 2022
Posts: 3,095
illinois
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jalstat Offline
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illinois
Clay you are by far a better turkey hunter than me but I will agree 100% on mites I've seen this in Illinois and on Rio Grandes in Texas

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: claycreech] #7866928
05/17/23 09:54 AM
05/17/23 09:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,104
NC - Here there and everywhere
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coondagger2 Offline OP
"Brat"
coondagger2  Offline OP
"Brat"
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Originally Posted by claycreech
Iíve seen that same thing all over the U.S. Iíve killed a half dozen or so that had the same thing, and we donít get that kind of snow.
IMO itís beard mites, but I reckon it doesnít make much difference lol.

Either way this ole boy had more of a soul patch than a beard grin


Gotta live up to the nickname...
Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7866945
05/17/23 10:43 AM
05/17/23 10:43 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 9,548
SW Georgia
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Wanna Be Offline
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SW Georgia
I worked a bird at a WMA over an hour. Heíd gobble at everything I threw at him, but wouldnít budge. Took me about 3-4 moves to get him to commit. He comes in and I see a stubby 3Ē jake beard and thought no way this bird is a jake. He stops and pops into strut and I see what I was waiting for, a full fan! As soon as he breaks strut heís dead! Turns out he had 1.25Ē spurs with a 3Ē beard. Unlike yours, mine had yellowish ends which I was sure was mites. Yours looks like what you described, pulled out and regrew. Had my bird never popped into strut heíd have lived to fool someone else.

Re: Vermont Turkey Trip [Re: coondagger2] #7867015
05/17/23 01:42 PM
05/17/23 01:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 642
Southern Wisconsin
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Fishdog One Offline
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Southern Wisconsin
Good story and good you kept at it


Born twice, die once
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