Prepare For Spring Turkey Hunting
There are plenty of things to do which will improve Spring Turkey success. This article is about how to prepare for Spring Turkey Hunting in the off-season
Calling is the foundation to good Spring Turkey Hunting. You should have multiple types of calls. This includes at least a slate, box and diaphragm call. Practice with them, and become familiar with the different sounds they produce.
Watch videos of turkey. Listen to their unique sounds and master emulating them with your calls. Study how they communicate, you are literally learning to speak their language. Try to understand the differences in their calls when they are excited, scared, etc.
Have a plan of which call to start with. When you are out hunting and you hear the first bird gobble, you may have to change your plan. Practicing with all the other calls will allow you to naturally select the correct one.
Studying the birds and emulating them will allow you to head out in the Spring with confidence in your calls. This will make all of the difference.
Stay in Shape
This goes without saying. A good way to have success with any hunt is to work for it. Put the miles in to get away from the crowds and you will find more wildlife.
Scout your area
One reason it is great to scout in the winter is snow. Snow makes it easy to see tracks and scat. If you have never scouted in the snow you will be amazed how easily it shows animal activity.
To prepare for Spring Turkey hunting try to determine where the Turkey are traveling. Note any area with heavy activity. Look for trails and patterns in behavior. Look for roosting trees, or classic turkey habitat.
In the winter Turkey break up into smaller familial groups. The mothers stay with their young, Jake’s band together, and the older Toms are left to themselves. These groups essentially compete with each other for the limited food. Due to this competition in the winter Turkey will expand their home range.
Ideally you want to locate these different groups, and understand their traveling habits. When you see them make note of what they are, where you are, and what time it is. This will help you can narrow down the possibilities of where they will meet to mate in the Spring.
Take your Scouting Seriously
- Take Photos. Take pictures of the area you plan to hunt. If possible get a GPS coordinate, or mark the map.
- Listen for Gobbles. There is a big misconception that Turkey only gobble in the Spring. On warm sunny days we have heard Turkey gobble as early as mid-February.
- Use Game Cameras. Seeing tracks and scat is good evidence of traveling lanes, but nothing beats seeing the birds themselves. You can not always be in the woods. The next best thing is a game camera. Many folks forget about these handy tools when it comes for Turkey season. Game cameras are not only for large game. Put some cameras up in various locations and shoot some photos of the birds you are scouting.
- Study a Satellite Map. Study the area you plan to hunt. Mark any points where you have seen or heard Turkey. Mark any heavy activity areas, possible roosting trees, and great Turkey habitat. Link these up with your photos. If you put all these pieces together you will be able to pick an spot where you are confident Turkey will be mating in the Spring.
Make a Plan
With all the information you have gathered it is now time to come up with a plan. Choose a few locations where you think there will be birds and document them with photos. At home, study these photos and determine the following;
- Where to set up. Decide which location which will give you the best look at the birds. Consider if there is any possibility they will come in behind you. If so will you be able to turn around undetected?
- How to get in. Making a lot of racket while getting to your spot is a good way to keep birds in the roost. Will you be able to get in undetected? Should you blaze a trail?
- Where to place decoys. Decoys are a fantastic way to attract turkey. Plan locations and orientations early. This way you will be ready to set up on opening day rather than thinking about how to do so.
- Where to call. Understand that to a turkey, while you are calling, you represent another bird. A good way to drive the Turkey the other direction is by calling from an unnatural area, or drawing attention to yourself. Where will you call? Can the birds see you?
Come up with a plan for each area and start to visualize it playing out. By doing this you may find potential problems such as shooting lane obstructions, or areas where your cover is blown. More importantly it will prepare you mentally to be in the proper zone when opening day comes. This will give you the confidence you need for success.
Wrapping it up
We could go on about prepping your gear, cleaning and patterning your gun, etc. These are all great things to do, but will not help with the hardest part of Spring Turkey Hunting – finding the birds. If you want to have success this Spring then the above points are key. Get outside and scout, and come up with a solid plan.