Road Scouting

Ol_sz_postroad_scouting_hickoff_pho Deer hunters. Duck hunters. Turkey hunters. All of us do a little of it. Still it’s just a beginning.

Some mornings are better than others. This one, here in the last week of August, was particularly good. In one 10-mile round-trip, I found:

A family flock composed of seven late-hatch three-pounders, birds I let cross the road right in front of my bumper, along with several brood hens that stayed off the asphalt, in cover, just past the closed passenger door.

A single gobbler at the edge of a cut field that putted once, and boogied out of there. A loner, he’s seen too much trouble come his way to linger long.

A huge group of Maine birds I lost count of . . . this late-summer flock included wild turkeys of the year (good size at that, obviously an earlier hatch than the three-pounders), brood hens, and a handful of super jakes (born over a year ago but not yet two-years-old).

A longbeard that nearly made me wreck—his rope went an easy 10 inches—and his sidekick shortbeard buddy.

Yes, it was great to see these turkeys, but apart from the single gobbler at the edge of the cut field, all of them were viewed from my pickup truck.

It just means I found some birds that probably a bunch of other guys also have been seeing. It also means I’ve just started my fall turkey scouting.

In the coming weeks I’ll spend more time scouting off the road, in deeper woods, ideally where roosting cover and feeding locations converge. It doesn’t mean I won’t keep road scouting, jerking my neck at the flash of a dark flock of turkeys in a field. That comes naturally to us Strut Zoners.

I just know other turkeys are out there somewhere, birds fewer people have seen, if any . . .—Steve Hickoff