It might sound like a conundrum, but turkey hunters who spend a lot of time scouting do not spend much time hunting. That’s because gunners who pay their dues before the season opens usually know where and when to get birds and then get them fast when the guns roar.
There’s no such thing as over-scouting. But it’s wise to scout quickly and cover as much country as possible. Try these hard-core tips to pinpoint your gobbler this spring.
1. Candid Camera: Trail cameras aren’t just for deer. They work well for turkeys, too. If you’ve got cameras, set them up in places where you know turkeys gather—field corners, hardwood ridges and food plots.
2. Scout BackUp Birds: Even if you have two or three or more birds locked in at several spots, don’t get complacent. Check new places, and get up and out before dawn.
3. Road Hunt: Use your wheels to cover ground when you’re hooting and locating birds during a pre-dawn scout. Stop often, hoot and listen.
4. Everyone In the Pool: Group your scouting resources. Scout a wide variety of areas and share the inside scoop with your close buddies.
5. Be a Road Hunter: Take careful note of sand, mud and dirt lanes, looking for fresh tracks, droppings and feathers that may lead to toms. Right after a spring rain is a choice time to be out. When it’s dry, turkey dusting spots can tip you off to toms—and wing-drag marks are heaven-sent turkey gifts.
6. Get High: Listen for birds from the highest spots. In ridge country, this is easy. But even in the flatlands of the South and Midwest, there are places where land relief is a little better than at other sites, and thus more conducive to “listening.”
7. Focus: Don’t be optically challenged. Bright, fog-proof, waterproof and high-magnification binoculars can be a turkey scout’s most valuable piece of equipment.