By, Ryan Dentscheff
Spring turkey season in Ohio is underway, and there is one strategy that will heighten your chances of killing a turkey immensely. Obviously having a good gun, camouflage, and turkey calls will improve help you kill a gobbler, but scouting can be the biggest game-changing tool you have.
Finding turkeys before you are hunting can make all the difference. The same goes for scouting deer. Hit the area you are hunting before you hunt, find signs that your game is in the area, and locate a place to set up where the it will be traveling to or through.
Deer signs, such as trails with hoof prints, angler rubs, and territorial scrapes, are easier to locate than turkey signs because they are much more noticeable. Although turkeys do leave tracks, scratch marks, and beds, they are often times more difficult to spot than the signs of larger animals, such as deer. Killeen Gonzalez, a Yahoo.com contributor discusses some ways to spot turkey signs in a 2012 article.
Instead, turkey scouting is done largely through listening for the bird. We all know what a turkey sounds like, but just for fun and entertainment, check out this video of a turkey gobbling away.
Listening for gobbling is a way of locating birds during the hunt, allowing you to move closer to a bird fly away or call one into range. But locating birds before you’re hunting is an even better way to kill a turkey.
“Roosting” a bird is when you locate when the turkey is sleeping, or roosting. A turkey will fly into a tree for the night right around sundown. Go to an area in the woods that you suspect turkeys located. This is when your pre-scouting will come in handy. When in the area near sundown, listen for male birds gobbling or clucking. After you have located a turkey track its movements and determine where it flies into the tree. Once a turkey as flown into a tree to sleep, it doesn’t fly down unless it is scared off of its roost by a potential predator. If you have located a turkey’s roosting tree, come back before sunrise the next day, set up your your decoy(s), and wait for the bird to fly down. Roosted Tom turkeys do not usual take much calling to convince them to move in on a decoy or towards the area of the calling. Be patient and quiet while waiting for the bird to fly down. Roosting a turkey before the hunt can push the odds into your favor and turn into a nice delicious Thanksgiving-esque dinner.