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How To Bowhunt Wild Turkey Gobblers: Part #1

How To Scout Wild Turkeys.

Almost every ‘scouting turkey’ article I’ve read over the years says that you must pre-season scout … and scout … and scout. Yikes! Believe me, there is an unwanted down side to scouting too much.

Frankly, I definitely want to spend as much time as possible scouting for wild turkeys. Alternatively, I make every effort to avoid being seen by, or spooking any wild turkeys. That includes single hens or Gobblers or Jakes or wild turkeys in a flock.

WHY? Wild Turkeys can SEE much farther than deer …  or us! They see the detail in those objects too, as well as color. And they pick up movement even better than deer do. A Gobbler or hen can spot you and me at 700-1,000 yards. Further if we are walking.

We stand erect so there is no doubt that we are a menacing human object.

The Scouting goal is to Learn Where Mature Gobblers And Jakes And Hens Are Showing Up At Certain Locations And At What Time.

Location! It’s a big deal if you intend to put your turkey tag on a wild turkey gobbler during the Spring turkey hunting season. Simply put, Wild Turkeys use the same (or similar) routine from one day to the next. At daylight they fly down from the roost area where they slept in the night before.  From their roosting areas, and use travel zones to connect to water, strutt zones, feeding grounds, and lastly travel back to one of their roost areas are the parts of their daily routine. These often stay the same — unless pressure makes them change. The pressure part is what we unintentionally do to them.  Woops!

You may already know where you’ve seen wild turkeys and if so you have an idea where places are that turkeys hang out as well as times that you have seen them.

That said, because you and I want to interact with them during their Breeding Season it’s important to realize that all of their routines can alter if they are pressured, sometimes in a heartbeat and on any day. (If I repeated that 25 times it would not emphasize it enough.)

Here’s My Scouting Methods.

Over the many years of my turkey bowhunting life I conjured up some preferences for scouting. As you know, I do not want to spook any turkeys. The opposite side of that coin is that to find places where I can hunt them I have to look around my hunting area. My hunting area is 1,000 acres and it’s “L” shaped. It has one main (very beat up) 2-track dirt road with a few outshoots. Almost every year there are subtle changes to what the wild turkeys do.

On The Ground Scouting Is Ok. But It Can Be Bad, Real Bad!

My truck is a Ford F150 and it drives very quietly, so I creep along our roads and watch constantly for any wild turkeys. If they see my pickup they usually ignore it. So I just continue creeping. Using this quiet “slow go” method I’ve located several Strut Zones, Travel Routes and places where they Roost.

The property I hunt hunt has a river along the north and 1/4 of the east side. There are half a dozen preferred roost areas in trees by the river as well as by 2 stock ponds.

Rain Storms Are Not Your Friend.

The days following Spring’s showers during April and May, as well as after the occasional downpours; usually make turkey tracks, wing drag marks, turkey poop, etc. easier to see — while the ground is wet. And in many places that wild turkey sign is still relatively sharp and visible for 10 to 20 days.

Maybe you have seen some wing drag marks, turkey tracks and turkey droppings. But, just seeing this sure fire wild turkey sign does not mean you’ve found a place where you can hunt.

CONTINUED: How Wild Turkey Hunters Have A Specific Advantage Over Deer Hunters!



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