After hearing several
Gobbles in the forest behind my home, I decided to
set out my blind and try to film some turkeys. To my
complete surprise, this tom walked out of the woods
and into the field at 7:00 AM. There was a hen
feeding and he gobbled at her, non-stop, for ten
minutes. Talk about luck!
Video of this tom as he goes
into full strut, then gobbles at a hen feeding in the
After filming the tom,
I headed to the farm where I had hunted last fall.
There were a sizable number of turkeys in the clover
fields all winter so I started there first. Within 5
minutes I walked into a flock that was feeding along
a field edge. I spotted at least one gobbler in that
bunch. Video of this flock (384k).
The flock soon picked
me off and ran into the woods. I made my way down
along the field edge looking for strut marks and
turkey sign. There was nothing for a quarter mile
until I found fresh sign at the back corner of the
property. Here are strut marks in the dirt:
While at this corner I
noticed more sign including some fresh tracks in the
mud where a group of birds had recently crossed. The
size of the prints seemed to indicate younger birds,
probably hens and jakes.
As indicated in the
picture below, the majority of sign was found where I
have placed an X on the left corner of the picture.
It appears that most of the birds are using the fence
crossing at the right X. After checking out the farm,
this area is where I'll concentrate my efforts unless
the sign dries up here.
After stepping into
the woods it was obvious where the turkeys were
moving from. I found a number of scratchings and
droppings that were quite fresh.
Video showing a fresh
scratching and hen turds.
The birds are starting to get cranked up. I did not
see as much tom sign as I would have liked, but they
are certainly around. There is nothing better than
actually sighting birds, which we did, so the spring
hunt is looking good. Opening day is 5/5/99 so we
still have some time to figure out what the birds are
doing. Some things I would have liked to locate are
the roosting areas and more droppings. Overall it
should be a good spring hunt.
Some Things to look for
when scouting Spring Gobblers
Turkey Sightings - It goes
without saying that spotting toms is
the best sign. But don't worry too
much about toms, find the hens and
the toms will be close by.
- listening for gobbles is a great
way to scout birds. I stay at a
distance in the field and listen to
roosting birds. toms will gobble more
at first light than in the evening
but it is still a good way to locate
birds. I prefer not to disturb the
birds in the morning.
Marks - If you find strut marks,
then there's a tom around.
- Turkey need to eat in spring too. I
found lots of scratchings during my
scouting trip today, there are still
acorns and the birds are feeding on
them while the green fields become
- J-Shaped droppings are indicative
of gobblers and round and straight
droppings are typically hens. They
are tough to spot.