View Full Version : Spring Turkeys

03-11-2012, 12:45 PM
Hey guys was wondering if anyone could give advice as to where a guy might start looking to hunt spring turkeys in eastern MT ( a over the counter spot)? Don't expect anybody to give up there secret spot but was hoping someone could point me in the general direction. I have hunted Eastern Turkeys a lot in the midwest but never in Montana. Does anyone know how the merriams call? How do they work to the call , what are there roosting habits , any help would be greatly apreciated guys, thanks in advance.

03-11-2012, 12:59 PM
Not sure about eastern MT since i havent hunted birds there however i have hunted the black hills of SD a lot. They call exactly like a eastern bird or a rio. I have found early in the season they are not real responsive to calls but if you go a lil later they get better at coming to the calls.
I hunted them by finding open areas in the bottom of high basins getting in real early and waiting for them to come off the roost. They would roost about half way up the hillsides (usually on a north facing slope i found). My advise i go early if you can and do some scouting when they start breeding habits and are all flocked up together then if you can go back a few weeks later (if you werent successful ) on your first trip and start at the same place you found a big flock they will have broken down into smaller groups and shoud be easier to call.
I havent hunted it but if it was me and i was gonna head to that part of the country to hunt id start in the Custer national forest and some of the Blm and state land that may have river or creek systems moving through it.
Here is a couple i took in SD.
Good luck let me know if i can do anything else to help

03-11-2012, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the advice, I had custer national in mind, but I knew there were different sections of it was wanting to narrow down the driving a little bit. Nice looking birds in the pictures, whats a good bird weight wise for a merriams?

Bitterroot Bulls
03-11-2012, 07:13 PM
The national forest near Ekalaka had some pretty decent turkey hunting about 10 years ago when I was last there. Lots of options around Miles City on bits of BLM/State also. Guys from Billings hit the NF by Ashland pretty hard, but there are some turkeys there also.

03-11-2012, 07:52 PM
Anything east of Columbus will have a chance at turkeys. Pick a section of the state with a large state land and BLM land with river or stream bottoms, and go check them out. Some land owners will let you hunt. Plan on covering some ground to locate birds.

03-11-2012, 08:28 PM
Those birds that you see there were both 18 lbs they dont get as big as an eastern so dont expect the 25 lb birds you may be used to. Also in my exp with them they dont get very big spurs either i think maybe from being on the rocks so much.
Let me know how ya do and what ya find i am planning on coming to that part of the state to go after deer this fall any intel would be muich apperciated.
Good luck.

03-12-2012, 07:30 PM
Thanks for all the leads guys, I appreciate the help. I will check it out hopefully take a drive over that way soon to look around.
mconway951 18 pounders are deffinently smaller than the eastern birds Im used to, my last eastern weighed in at 27 pounds, from Indiana had 27 mm spurs , but thats kinda what I had heard , that merriams were smaller. Ill definently let you know about any leads on deer that I may come across. Thanks again guys.

03-12-2012, 07:49 PM
If the roads are wet down in the SE region, be careful. The mud will get you in trouble. And have some carwash money saved, it will cost you to wash that red mud off your rig(s).

03-12-2012, 08:20 PM
Turkeys are nasty...go bear hunting :) hit Big Timber and start nocking on doors until you hit Columbus...you don't have to go all the way to Mile City for birds...but they are there too...

03-13-2012, 10:28 AM
Good luck the 18 lb birds i shot both had around 11in beards but only like 3/4" spurs. I have shot a couple easterns that went over 25lbs in MN and WI both of those were 12+in beards and 1.5" spurs but there is no prettier country to hunt in then those pine covered hills when the sun is coming up in the morning and you have a big tom with red and blue head and white tipped fan strutting into your decoys.

03-13-2012, 08:33 PM
Are the merriams bad table fair? Easterns always tasted great , but they eat a lot of acorns, maybe thats why

Bitterroot Bulls
03-13-2012, 08:35 PM
Merriams? MMMMM ... tasty!

I like 'em out of the fryer... or smoked.

03-14-2012, 08:17 PM
no different then any eastern i have eaten i marinade them and grill em they have all been good even the rios i have shot

05-03-2012, 12:40 PM
did you make it out how did you do?

05-06-2012, 08:48 PM
Went out first weekend had a hen in close but no gobblers, been busy fishing since then probly go again once more, I hope. We hunted mostly around BigTimber South and East.