It is that time of year. Warmer weather is approaching and bringing us into turkey season. Gather your scouting supplies and let’s head out after the flock.
Catch A Picture
Most everyone where legal has a trail camera or more on hand. These can be great tools to set up along food plots and other feeding areas. A trail camera allows you to stay out of their way and catch them in the act without you having to upset the boss with more days off. When placed in the right area you can catch their traveling direction and what times they are in the area right down to the tip of the snood.
Track Them Down
I usually double my early shed hunting trips as turkey scouting besides using trail cameras. When headed to the woods I keep an eye out for tracks along the way. Some of the best places to look are in the snow after a fresh fall. You can also have great luck finding them after a rain or along a creek bed in the sand or mud. If you cut a track, you can often follow it to a roost or feeding area and mark it on your map.
Follow Those Droppings
Once you believe you have found their roost area it can be confirmed by a lot of droppings in a small area, usually under large overhanging trees with vertical branches. Droppings can also be used to confirm a feeding area where the turkeys have spent a lot of their time throughout the day.
Follow Their Scratching Pockets
One of my favorite signs to follow is their scratching pockets. Once you have found one of these areas you can be certain they are spending time feeding in these locations. They often leave oval-shaped scratchings in a large area. A group of turkeys can quickly turn over the leaves in an area and leave it a wreck down to the dirt in just a few minutes.
If you are out and about scouting for a tom or two you would be last in line if you don’t have a set of binoculars along for the ride. Bino’s are a vital tool when laying down a plan for opening day and even that last-second bird. I would advise getting in a higher elevation and glassing what you now know is the roosting area or feeding area. While doing this you can find out how they may be traveling from roost to food and vice versa. Bino’s will allow you to stay out of their path with a much lower chance of alerting the flock of your presents.
Listen to Their Gobbles
One of the most fun scouting techniques is going at first light or last light and listening for the strong gobble from the flock. This also gives you a great idea of their roosting location as well as where they may travel after hitting the ground. Once located you can set up a precise plan to get in close and what for the wing beats of a pitched-down bird!
E-Scouting is a very popular method in the world of whitetail but has become very popular in the turkey world. When traveling out of state or to a brand-new area where your travel may be limited or long-distance your best bet could be to stay home and dive deep into a topo map and drop pins in the areas you would believe to be best for roosting or feeding. Doing this from the comfort of your home could give you that step above going in blind and may land you your bird in a few hours rather than days.
In Conclusion, take your time when working in an area you have deemed best for longbeards. Keep notes and use a mapping service that best fits your style. I would bet using the allotted techniques given will put you in front of several birds throughout your season.