Merriams vs easterns?

Turkey hunting tips and tricks that have worked and can help others.
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202P&Y
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Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » February 22nd, 2017, 10:40 am

Going after a merriam/hybrid the latter part of April in Ne. I've hunted Kansas once for rios and figure they are pretty similar but didn't have a lot of action there to get a good feel for em. Should I call a lot? Loud? Move? Stay put? Decoys? They can't be hard compared to Bama birds but don't wanna go in without a clue of what to expect. Thanks fellas for any input
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Grumpy » February 22nd, 2017, 10:59 am

Turkeys are Turkeys, hunt the way you always have
I was not his father but he was my son,,MAK IV, 10-15-1993 - 4-22-2007
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Stinky J Picklestein » February 22nd, 2017, 11:34 am

They travel a LOT more than eastern turkeys. You can call a lot, and they are often willing to answer...but that doesn't mean they're coming.

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by MAK » February 22nd, 2017, 12:01 pm

My single experience advice is - call - often -and be prepared to call over the wind -

North west NE - it was windy from the time sun got up until rite b/4 sunset - every day for a week.

We experience gobbling all day - but only killed early am and late in the day - but man what a fun time

I don't know if there is a prettier sight than those white tails in the sun

good luck
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Spurtaker » March 3rd, 2017, 11:37 am

MAK wrote:My single experience advice is - call - often -and be prepared to call over the wind -

North west NE - it was windy from the time sun got up until rite b/4 sunset - every day for a week.

We experience gobbling all day - but only killed early am and late in the day - but man what a fun time

I don't know if there is a prettier sight than those white tails in the sun

good luck
I hunted hard 3 days and they gobbled a lot but it wasn't until last day and we set up and had 4 different birds come to us. 2 birds after we shot 2 and none were together. Best hunt ever had that morning it was like we had a drug they had to have. I guess it was-lead.


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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by hobbes » March 3rd, 2017, 12:24 pm

Are you hunting riverbottoms or Ponderosa covered ridges? Public or private land?

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Spurtaker » March 3rd, 2017, 12:32 pm

Private land. I hunted Broken Arrow Wilderness. Nice place and tons of birds. We hunted river bottoms.


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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 3rd, 2017, 12:37 pm

I'll be on private, close to river
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Southern Sportsman » March 3rd, 2017, 12:49 pm

I've never seen turkeys more willing to gobble at an owl hoot any time of day. I got behind a public land bird that was moving away from me. He eventually quit gobbling at calling, but wold gobble every time I owled. (11:00). I was able to keep up and eventually get in front of him.
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by Spurtaker » March 3rd, 2017, 12:51 pm

202P&Y wrote:I'll be on private, close to river
We hunted close to a little town called Fullerton and it was close to River. Couple of farms were on the river and then one we hunted was out away but we could walk in creek bed that was dry.


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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by decoykrvr » March 3rd, 2017, 1:06 pm

Most places you won't have the cover your used to in Alabama, so moving on birds can be dicey. In heavy winds hunt the bottoms and draws and call downwind with a set-up which gives you good visualization, and don't be surprised if you see birds before you hear them. Carry a good high-pitched long box. Take more warm clothes than you think you'll need. Two years ago we got 6-10" of snow while hunting E. Wyoming and NW Nebraska the 3rd week of May

hobbes

Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by hobbes » March 3rd, 2017, 4:07 pm

Riverbottoms birds can be similar to Easterns in that they'll often roost in the same locations because their day is based around hens feeding in agricultural fields. The birds in the ponderosa ridges aren't as predictable from my experience. You'll have less cover and terrain to move on them if you are in a riverbottom.
general, Merriams are more vocal than Easterns. Any large flock of hens will make more racket than you thought possible. As a result, I typically call a lot more to Merriam's than Easterns. However, you'll want to treat them the same if you can slip in close to the roost.

Private land Merriam's have the potential to be pushovers but a henned up Tom is a henned up Tom. I'm typically hunting public land mountain birds that can be as stubborn as an Eastern. I hunted some riverbottom birds last year on private that is open to the public and could not call the toms away from the hens. However, once the hen came my way the toms strutted right in.

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 3rd, 2017, 4:14 pm

Yeah, definitely gonna be different terrain. Got a pic from the farmer
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 3rd, 2017, 4:14 pm

He does have some trees in several bottoms
Last edited by 202P&Y on March 3rd, 2017, 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hobbes

Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by hobbes » March 3rd, 2017, 4:16 pm

Relative to Easterns, I call a lot to Merriam's. It's typically big country so I'm typically calling loud also. If you've hunted quite a bit, any difference in hunting them will be overcome without much difficulty. As a whole, western birds don't see as much pressure as eastern birds so they aren't quite as elusive. Other than how the country itself dictates their day to day activities, they are the same bird without as much pressure.

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hobbes

Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by hobbes » March 3rd, 2017, 4:44 pm

That looks like awesome country. It's not truly riverbottom country but instead cottonwood and cedar spread throughout coulees. You'll have more terrain features to allow movement. Youll also swear the birds are nowhere to be found then take two steps that opens up more country that reveals a while flock looking at you. I'd be excited about that country if it's known to hold a good number of birds

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202P&Y
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 3rd, 2017, 4:55 pm

Hobbes, from what I've gathered, the farmers in that area call em ranch roaches cause they crawling around everywhere. I'm excited to say the least
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hobbes

Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by hobbes » March 3rd, 2017, 4:59 pm

It sounds like you may need assistance. :)

Wintering large flocks of turkeys can be heck on western ranchers.

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 3rd, 2017, 6:51 pm

There's a couple more guns goin!
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by LeadSlinger » March 3rd, 2017, 11:00 pm

I've never hunted Merriams so I can't offer you any advice, but I wish you luck. I hope you have a blast. :thumbup:
Bob

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by 202P&Y » March 4th, 2017, 10:51 am

LeadSlinger wrote:I've never hunted Merriams so I can't offer you any advice, but I wish you luck. I hope you have a blast. :thumbup:
Thanks! I can't wait to get there and at worst case scenario see a different part of the country
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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by phutch30 » March 28th, 2017, 11:18 am

another tip for "western" hunting. Bring good binos. Even if they wont respond to calls u can still glass them up and maneuver around them for a setup.

Ive hunted turkeys in 17 states and one thing Ive found is they are all easy to call and all impossible to call. There are no hard and fast rules. Ive had heavily hunted easterns come sprinting in and ive had opening day merriams ignore every call and walk away. I personally don't think any subspecies is any more prone to come in from long distances than another, BUT out west they can hear u from a lot further away. Its not uncommon to have Western birds come in from almost a mile. Its a lot more open then where your from and even in the bottoms its not thick cover like the southern US. In then end just hunt them like u hunt your home turf and u will be fine.

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Re: Merriams vs easterns?

Post by jims » May 17th, 2018, 9:05 pm

Depending upon predators..... time of year and mood of the merriams don't be surprised if they don't make a peep once they fly down off the roost. There are so many predators where I hunt that I hardly hear any turkeys all day long. They've figured out if they make noise they get eaten! This can make finding turkeys super tough in country with trees. I've found this true in Colo, Nebraska, and S Dakota. I didn't hear one turkey gobble after flying off the roost in Colo this year. I also heard 0 gobbles in Nebraska in 2 days of hunting. I had 1 tom gobble around 3 times in S Dakota one morning...and didn't hear any other gobbles in 4 days of hunting in S Dakota this spring. It seems like turkey numbers are declining in the 3 states I've hunted....and I'm seeing more and more coyotes. That may be why turkeys seem to be becoming more and more quiet off the roost?

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