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Old September 9, 2022, 05:18 PM   #1
Join Date: April 16, 2020
Location: GA
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Turkey hunt with my dogs?

Hello all, new to turkey hunting and I have two dogs, both under a year old, that I’ve dialed in on e-collars. Things like come/here, wait/stay, and stay by me/heel. Like I said, both under a year(7 and 10 months) so they’re not totally trained yet but good enough, I think, to start runnin on wild game.

One’s a German Shorthaired Pointer, and the other is a 50/50 German Shepherd-AmStaff Mix.
I’ve seen my pointer spook/tree turkeys on two separate occasions, before I even knew those were turkeys he took off chasing; he’s very motivated to get out and spook whatever he can. I felt if I had a shotgun in hand, I could’ve skeet shot both turkeys. Also, he’s a laser beam on scent trails I’ve laid with beef and venison livers. So how do I turn this into proper turkey hunting? My shep-pit pup mostly stays on my hip but occasionally takes off after stuff with the pointer. Not a lot on the YouTube about dog hunting turkeys so I figured I’d ask y’all.

Any advice on turkey hunting southern, public land is appreciated. I’m currently in Alabama, Talladega National Forest, but I travel to hike and whitetail hunt in the Oconee National Forest in GA and all over the Chattahoochee National Forest. Also moving back to the Lake Oconee area in Georgia next year to hunt with my dad closer to home.
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Old September 10, 2022, 03:30 PM   #2
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Do the state laws allow you to use dogs for turkeys?
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Old September 13, 2022, 08:07 AM   #3
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I agree, you need to check your game laws. I think it is a misdemeanor to hunt turkeys with dogs in Alabama. Here in Wisconsin, you can use dogs in the fall for turkeys, either to point them(yep, they hold pretty tight) or to flush and scatter them in order to call them back. Turkeys have a lot of scent and once a dog figures out that they are hunting them, they can get over whelmed if not easily controlled. They also will want to hunt them when you are hunting something else. It would be something I would tend to use an older more experienced dog for.
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Old September 13, 2022, 11:38 PM   #4
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AL prohibits the use of dogs for turkey hunting, both in the spring gobbler season and in the limited and brief fall gobbler season in the southern zones. AL also prohibits the running of dogs during the spring gobbler season on much public land......I would be cautions about allowing your pups off leash on public hunting land in AL in March, April and early May. If you do not run afoul of a Cons. Officer, you may gather the ire of a spring turkey hunter. I cannot find any info on GA game law pertaining to dogs and turkeys, which does not mean there are not regulations pertaining to same!

There are certain regions in the country where dogs are legal for use in fall turkey hunting. VA is/was one such state, and I have one vintage turkey book that describes such hunts in detail.

The dogs task is to bust the fall flock, to bark when it does so, and to bust the flock within a reasonable distance of the hunter so that he hears the dog sound or minimally hears the birds flush. Ideally, the dog must handle and range only within hearing distance, so it would be desirable that the dog "check or whoa" like a typical bird dog if it was inclined to range greatly on a scent trail. If the dog breaks a flock it should sound, or bark, to alert the hunter, flushing birds out of hearing defeats the next step. Once the flock is broken, the hunter moves in that direction, collects the dog, and selects a suitable calling position nearby. The hunter waits for half hour or so. When legal, the old timers would use this time to build a small blind. After a suitable pause, or when turkeys are heard calling to reassemble the flock, the hunter begins his calling sequences in hopes of drawing a bird in for a shot. The dog must remain absolutely still and silent during this process, lest it spoil an opportunity.

There was a time and in certain locales where dogs on fall turkeys was considered quite acceptable. I would offer that to most turkey hunters, such a practice these days is considered a short cut and unethical by eliminating a critical component of the sport,....... the dog hunts the turkeys, not the hunter. Game management agencies have taken the stance that it simplifies fall turkey hunting to the extent that again, it is largely illegal in most areas.

Your dogs sound like they are keen to hunt. You might consider training them to blood trail wounded game, specifically deer,............... if CWD doesn't cripple AL's deer herd. Such a service is in demand every year, and some fellows make fair money at it to boot.
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Old September 14, 2022, 11:42 AM   #5
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You don't run turkey's like you run Deer or Hogs ... with dogs

There probably is a law forbidding it in Louisiana but even so ...

Turkey's can FLY

As for using dogs as retrievers ... like when duck hunting ... I've never heard of it !

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Old September 14, 2022, 10:29 PM   #6
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I've never heard of anybody turkey hunting with dogs. Probably because it's illegal in Mississippi. I can't find anything expressly forbidding it in Ga. except that Bulldogs and Airedales are not allowed on WMAs for hunting anything.
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Old September 15, 2022, 07:46 AM   #7
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My native state of Pennsylvania specifically does allow dogs in the fall season. Spring, of course, is a completely different hunt. Now, I have never heard of anyone hunting turkey with dogs, but there must be a reason the Game Commission included that statement in their regs.

For the "scatter the flock and call" approach (classic), you'd have to have a very well trained hound to lie perfectly still while a bird approached. Not likely. But many years ago, I heard of a different approach. This guy would wait for a light snow, find turkey tracks, and follow them as fast as he could move, eventually flushing the bird like a grouse. Had occasion to try it: We were driving a ridge covered in low mountain laurel (today impassible) when I saw tracks in the snow heading about the same direction. Upped my pace for about 50 yards, and dang, there goes the turkey. In fact, this one was so startled it got caught for a moment under the laurel, less than 10' from me. Out of season, but I was tempted and put the bead of that old Mauser on the back of its neck. Long story, but a dog would love that approach. Good luck.
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