This article was written by Marc Emfinger of Plot Pod.
The Beginner’s Guide to Scouting for Turkeys
As a beginning turkey hunter, whether you are 6 or 60, scouting for turkeys is a must to master the species. Many hunters have many techniques that they use to scout for turkeys. As a turkey enthusiast, I’m one that tries to understand why turkeys do certain things so I try to study them year-round. I personally believe there are 5 major things that you must do to be routinely successful at harvesting turkeys.
First and foremost, I believe the single most important thing you must do when scouting is put boots on the ground. Whether its walking and looking for tracks, glassing fields and openings for birds, or exploring the habitats that drastically change from the winter season to the spring season, the way to get to know the lay of the land and the creatures that inhabit it are by being there and putting boot tracks throughout your lease or land.
Another important aspect to finding where the birds are is to be there early and often and listen as the woods wake up. It’s best to start 2 to 3 weeks prior to opening day as the travel routes and feeding patterns of turkeys change dramatically as season and Spring approaches. Many times, when listening from a piece of landscape that may be higher than the rest of the land, you will notice that the gobbles seem to come from the same general area. Turkeys like to roost in places above the landscape and many times over creeks or field edges. This gives them the upper hand on predators and such. Often, they will roost in the same area time and time again unless they are spooked and flee.
Trail cameras can also play an important role in scouting in the Spring. With technology today, you can be there anytime and all of the time with the cellular cameras. If you notice a particular area with lots of turkey sign, it may be worthwhile to put a camera in this area to see when and how often they are traveling through. If the area happens to be an open field, there are several options on the market today to place your trail camera in a field even when there isn’t a tree present. One of these options is the Plot Pod.
Every hunter has lots and lots of camouflage, right? I know I do and lots of brands too. Some match and some don’t but that’s a story for a different day. It’s not the pattern of camo that is important for turkey hunting, it’s the job it is supposed to do. Whether you are a Realtree, Mossy Oak, Treezyn, or another brand user, the most important thing that it must do is conceal you and your movements. A turkey’s eye is very keen to movements and they will flee at the drop of a hat if spooked. Remember, it’s not the brand but what you do with it that’s important when trying to bag an old Tom.
Usually, one of the most frustrating pieces of the puzzle for a beginning turkey hunter is calling. We’ve all gotten on our cell phones or computers and gone to Youtube to see how to use a call. It’s a great tool to learn the mechanics of calling and how to do it right. However, do yourself a favor and look up real turkeys calling too. They have a different call for everything. It’s vitally important to learn the basic calls and how turkeys use them daily to communicate. Learn the sounds that turkeys make for different occasions. Whether it’s the content purr of a hen, the yelp, or the dreaded alarm putt, they are all important to know for various reason. This comes from studying the species and time in the woods. With this knowledge, you can set yourself up to becoming a successful turkey hunter for years to come.
The most important thing to remember about Spring Turkey hunting is that the Tom wants to be where the hens are. If you can find the hens, chances are a gobbler is close by. With these tips and a little luck, you can have a successful season. Best of Luck while chasing the birds of Spring and have fun doing it!
The Plot Pod, LLC – CEO