Pre Season Scouting Tips For Turkey Hunters
0:38 Primos Hunting Calls presents Mastering the Art of Spring Turkey Hunting.
0:52 [Turkey noises]
0:58 [gun shot]
1:08 Got him across the fence, brother.
1:10 That was awesome.
1:13 Pre season scouting can be the ticket to being a successful turkey hunter. But some hunters try to take the shortcut to pre season scouting. A shortcut that goes something like listening from the roadside for a gobbler to sound off the morning before the season opens. You may hear a gobbler and be able to get a general idea as to where he's gobbling from but the real information you want to know is where he likes to spend his time.
1:37 If you'll put the time into pre season scouting, you'll have a lot more chance at success by knowing where to spend your time hunting. It's not that tough. Just take a little time to learn a little more about your chosen hunting area. Here are some tips and suggestions to get you started.
1:55 Scout your hunting area a month or so before the season. Not just by driving around [Turkey call] and looking. But by walking and listening. As the season closes in, spend more time listening for gobbles. If you find a gobbler letting the whole world know of his presence, don't leave thinking that's where you need to be opening morning. Hang around for an hour or so and try to determine what direction he's traveling. It is always more important to know what direction a gobbler is headed. If you've walked the area, you will know what obstacles, like fences, are out there that might influence your hunt. Also know that large creeks can pose a hazard in getting a gobbler to come your way. And remember if at all possible, please don't let the turkeys know that you're around.
2:40 Turkeys spend almost all their daylight hours on the ground so they can leave a lot of signs if you know what to look for. Look for tracks near creeks, river banks, old burn sites, logging sites and fields, anywhere soft, open soil is present. Road side ditches, roads where the soil is soft or muddy are ideal locations to look for tracks. The middle toe of a gobbler track is more than two inches long. Hen tracks are much smaller and usually do not leave as deep of an impression in the soil as a gobbler because they don't weigh as much as a gobbler.
3:18 If you stumble accross a turkey track that has drag marks alongside, then those tracks were porbabl made by a strutting gobbler. The tracks on either side of the gobbler's tracks are where his wings dragged the ground as he struts. Look closely for hen tracks as well. You may have stumble on an area a gobbler and a hen or hens travel a part of each day. This would be a great place to set up and call for an hour or so.
3:42 A wild turkey is covered with nearly five to six thousand feathers. Finding feathers is a sure sign that turkeys are in the area. Turkeys lose feathesr when they flight up to roost in the evening and when they fly down in the morning and when they preen and fight. A gobbler's breast feathers are tipped black. Hens' tend to be more buff or tan in color. So if you see a flock of turkeys, and some look darker than others, chances are the darker ones are gobblers.
4:12 Droppings can be found around field edges, logging roads, creek bottoms, anywhere turkeys spend lots of time. If you find a good concentraiton of droppings, both old and fresh, under a large, tall pine or oak, that's along a creek bank, you may have found a roost site. A good place to be within hearing an old gobbler the next morning is a roost site.
4:34 Some areas do not have many trees and in these areas tukeys may roost in the same trees most of the time. Gobbler droppings are typically J shaped when compared to a hen's droppings. A hen's droppings are smaller and twisted like an ice cream cone.
4:51 If you're scouting in late February to ealry March and you come across a spot in the woods that looks like someone tried to rake the leaves into piles, you've probably found turkey scratchings. These scratchings are typically V shaped as the turkeys reach out and rake the leaves and then does the same with the other foot as it tries to uncover fresh spring growth, a leftover acorn and maybe an insect or two. If the scratchings are numerous, this means the birds are traveling in large groups. As springtime closes in, the birds will break up into smaller flocks of maybe a gobbler, a few hens and a juvenile gobbler, called a jake or two. And the scratchings will be less numerous.
5:36 Be on the lookout for shallow depressions and a dry or dusty spot along road beds or field edges. These areas are where turkeys take dust baths to free themselves of mites and other insects. The dust is their insect repllent. Tracks aorund these areas are easy to see so pay close attention to their size so you can determine whether the dust site is being used by gobblers or hens. Chances are, if a hen frequents a dust site, she may be nesting nearby. These areas can also be places a gobbler will look for a hen. Oftentime these spots are places a gobbler will like to strut.
6:14 Now even though tracks, droppings and all the signs turkeys leave behind is a sure sign that turkeys are in the area, there is one sign that can never be mistaken: turkeys. A good way to look for turkeys is by using binoculars to survey field edges. It is amaing how many times I've spotted turkeys with binoculars that I could not see with my naked eye. After determining the roosting and feeding areas, expand out and be ready when the birds begin moving from their wintering areas to their spring areas. You see turkeys sometimes spend their winters and springs in different areas. Wild turkeys have been known to travel ten or so miles from their winter ranges to where they spend time during the spring. Food and nesting sites are usually the key reason for turkeys moving from winter to spring habitat. A flock of turkeys that have been seen all fall from your deer stand, will more likely move to open woods and pasture or prarire land in search of insects and new growth in the spring. Hens being looking for nesting sites in ealry spring which usually consist of areas that offer adquate cover. And whereever the hen goes, the gobbler won't be too far behind.