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Scouting for Turkeys


In the world of deer hunting scouting is considered a vital part of success. For some reason the same doesn’t transfer to turkeys. Turkey hunters seem to scout more from their trucks. Driving down farm roads looking into fields and pastures for flocks of birds seems to be the extent of the scouting. There is the occasional evening post listening for roosting birds, but other than that, many turkey hunters dismiss the need for good scouting.

However, when you have conversations with highly successful turkey hunters, this is further from the truth. Turkeys in early spring are similar to early season bucks, they can be patterned and when done so, makes them far easier to kill. When I know where a Tom is roosting, where his hens are, where they fly down, feed and traipse throughout the day, I have a better chance of setting up on him and killing him.

Standard sign when scouting are obviously sightings of birds, tracks, scat, and feathers. I really like to focus on tracks, while this is only an indication of where a turkey has been, if married with other sets of tracks, lets me know whether or not he was passing through or if this is a regular route he takes along his day.

I also focus on scratching sign in the woods. Piles and piles of leaves all scratched in large concentrations signify where turkeys are feeding. Finding active feeding areas will help determine path of travel. For example, if I know that birds are roosting to the northeast, and there is scratching in the woods, a quarter mile to the southwest, setting up between these is a good place to start.

Scouting for turkeys lengthens the season for me. Unlike scouting for deer, I don’t have to be quite as stealthy, I can scout, look and get out of there without much fear of busting the bird off for the season. If he does fly, he will return shortly after I leave.

Get out there now and start looking for the gobblers you plan to kill when season opens and know that you are putting yourself in a great situation opening morning.