Marmot – I am glad you have had a good time turkey hunting. You’re right when the weather warms up the longbeards really get going. Who wants to make love when it’s cold. Lol
Here I leave you with some additional info to your points.
17HMR – It can be done but as you said turkeys are moving constantly.
Some hunters aim for the chest but a tom can be a very though bird to keep on the ground. The vital area of the chest is very small too. In addition the small bullet could deflect should it hit the wing feathers. And lastly the breast meat ( the best part of a turkey) could get spoiled.
2: they WILL come within shotgun range if you are doing it right (calling)
While calling, proper calling that is, is very important the set up is even more important. The best calling tactic will do no good if the ambush set up is not well chosen.
3: they use magnum loads on a full choke so they can put these big birds down. A little off and you will bugger it up.
You mentioned something very important here. Many hunters are duped into believing that magnum loads and full chokes are the way to go. This is not always the case. It is important to pattern the shotgun at the range. The end result of that effort should be a gun/load/choke combination that deliverers consistently at least four pellets into a turkeys vital areas (skull and neck vertebrae). Example: My Browning PBS 12 gauge shotgun has a modified choke using 3” shells loaded with # 4 shot. The Bennelli Supernova needs a extra full choke using 3” shells loaded with #6 shot.
It is tougher to tell them apart from a distance (hens and jakes) than i thought.
One sure way to tell the birds apart is to make them strut, you can do this with calling using soft yelps and purrs. A mature toms fan is a perfect half circle. On a Jakes fan the feathers in the middle (up to five main tail feathers) are considerably larger than the rest. Jakes often have shaggy looking fans and feathers missing, this comes form them fighting a lot with each other. A good pair of binoculars is a good aid in identifying turkeys.
We didnt hear or see a tom the whole trip and lots of other guys we saw out said the same thing. Maybe a little early.
You’re right when the weather warms up the longbeards really get going. Who wants to make love when it’s cold. Lol
Hope this additional info helps and good luck next time.