Turkey Scouting Tips
Looking for an excuse to get outdoors after being trapped inside to start the new year? March is a great time to get out there and begin scouting for the upcoming turkey season. Putting in the hours ahead of the season will pay dividends come time to head out with a gun in tow.
1. Bring the Right Gear
We don't leave on a scouting missing without the following: binoculars, logbook, GPS. These tools are essential in identifying birds and tracking their location. Additionally, we go ahead and wear our typical hunting camo, being sure to bring along an owl and/or crow locator call in order to check for reactions that will help us track birds. It can be tempting to bring all of your turkey calls to see how gobblers will respond, but we don't want to begin overcalling these birds before the season even starts.
2. Practice Calling
Apologies to those you will inevitably be annoying, but it is imperative that one master his or her new calls ahead of the season. To be a more effective turkey hunter, it is ideal to be proficient with a multitude of calls- after all, you wouldn't go fishing with just one single lure. The same idea holds for calling turkey; you may have to mix things up on them on any given hunt in order to seal the deal and prevent a hangup.
*The less you move when turkey hunting, the better, so practice up on all of those different mouth calls that you can just leave in your mouth during a hunt!
3. Go Find Those Roosts
You don't have to witness a turkey get off the roost at the crack of dawn to identify where it might be roosting. These roosting trees tend to give themselves away thanks to an accumulation of feathers, droppings, and tracks. Make sure to follow those tracks to see where that gobbler is going first thing in the morning. If you can figure out his first stop, you have yourself an ideal location for an early morning hunt.
4. Use That Trail Cam From Deer Season
Get some more mileage out of your trail cams by employing them along food plots and fields that could be holding turkey. We prefer cameras with plot-watching features, meaning they snap a picture at regular intervals regardless of movement. They do a great job of monitoring a larger open area, providing vital information on when turkeys arrive at a field, where they enter it, and how long they hang out there.
5. Timing is Everything
To avoid spooking unsuspecting gobblers and hens after they get off the roost and look to convene for the day, reserve early morning scouting for sitting and listening. You don't want to go marching through the hunting grounds at this time and disturb a flock's natural pattern. As the sun rises, you can begin to walk field edges inside the tree line, being sure to take time to stop and listen. It's great if you can come across some tracks or feathers as the day goes on, but we'd rather blow our locator call to lock in directly on where a gobbler is, rather than where he has been.
6. Build a Blind
If there is a particular spot that you know you will be hunting this upcoming season, go ahead and build a natural blind out there ahead of time. Take some tree limbs and make a blind that will be tall enough to conceal you on your hunt but not so big that it interferes with your ability to swing your gun into action.
7. Newer Info is Better Info
It can be tempting to assume that a big flock that has been hanging in a spot throughout the winter will remain there come spring. However, it is much more likely that the flock will have moved on with the change in weather. Spring brings with it new food sources for turkey, which will look be looking to feed on green plants in fields and low areas, rather than the acorns they find in he colder months. Therefore, concentrate the bulk of your scouting in the two weeks leading up to opening day.