Spring wild turkey hunting tips


Once you have identified potential hunting locations, the next step is to scout those areas for turkey sign. Some locations attract turkeys year after year, but others are less predictable. Turkeys can move a lot in the few weeks before the opening of the season. It pays to scout close to the beginning of the season. Read below for more tips for pre-season scouting.

Look: Bring binoculars when scouting and look carefully. This can often be done from your vehicle—taking a few Sunday drives can pay dividends when looking for turkeys. If possible, drive through some prospective areas on your way into work prior to the season, especially on rainy days when turkeys are likely be out in the open.

Listen: Use a crow, owl, or other loud call to try to get a responsive gobble from a male bird. When scouting, avoid using turkey calls as it can result in the turkey marching right into you, or even becoming call-shy. As the season draws near, drive and/or hike to a location where you think there may be turkeys. Pick a nearby high spot and just wait and listen. As the sun starts to rise, toms and jakes will often gobble which can often be heard for a quarter mile or more.

Find the roosting area: Once you locate one or more gobblers, try and find their roosting areas. Gobblers are most vocal just before sunrise and just after sunset. Listening for gobbles during this time can help provide you with roost locations. Be mindful turkeys may not roost in the same spot every day. In the spring season, turkeys don’t move much in the week or two leading up to the start of the season. Identifying the roost can be useful when setting up before light for an early morning hunt. Turkeys are quite active in the early mornings so it’s important to get close to a roost, but not too close when setting up to hunt.

See also  Mississippi Whitetail Deer Hunts

Turkey sign to look for when scouting

Look for different turkey sign including scat, feathers, scratching in the leaf litter, dust bowls or turkey tracks in the mud or sand.

  • Tracks: Turkey tracks can be easy to identify due to their size. Look in muddy and sandy areas for tracks. Males have a distinctly longer middle toe compared to females.
  • Dust bowls: Turkeys make small depressions in the sand to “dust” themselves which helps keep their feathers clean and free of mites. These depressions can often be found on field edges, logging roads, or any patch of dry dirt. Turkeys will often use the same dust baths day after day, so a well-used dust bowl is a good sign that there are resident birds around.
  • Scratching/feeding sign: When turkeys feed in the woods they often scratch leaves leaving an area roughly the size of a paper plate.
  • Scat: Turkey scat is small and can be difficult to find, especially for someone just starting out. Scat is often found beneath roost locations where the turkeys spend the night and in areas where they feed heavily. If you find scat, you can determine the sex of the bird by whether the scat is straight or curled.
  • Feathers: Turkey feathers can often be found under or near a roost location. Finding a lot of feathers is a great way to confirm a roost location.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>