Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Pre-Season Spring Gobbler Scouting
By Steve Hickoff
Nationwide our seasons begin first in Florida, Alabama, and elsewhere down south as March arrives, progressing northward as days warm, and concluding May 31 in northeastern states such as Maine.
Watching wild turkeys can be both an ongoing pleasure, and a practical means of finding birds when the season opens again.
While some may just scout right before opening day this year, regular study of turkey flocks not only yields better results, but also sustains interest year-round.
During the season, scouting can help you make necessary adjustments when situations change.
Hunters use the term “sign” to speak of one or many examples of evidence left behind by the quarry they’re hunting.
Here’s what you’re looking for as the big birds go:
- Track size can indicate the sex and age of turkeys.
- Lots of sign indicates bigger flocks, while spare evidence reflects fewer numbers.
- Dusting bowls are fresh if the soil is loose, and other sign in them or nearby is new.
- Old sign may indicate turkeys have left the area.
- Damp droppings say turkeys were there recently.
- Concentrated feathers can indicate a roost site when slightly dispersed, or a predator kill when tightly compacted in a small area.
- Mixed sets of new and old tracks indicate turkeys use the area regularly.
- Raked areas in the woods, along field edges, or in food plots, often indicate feeding zones.
Read the evidence turkeys leave behind, while covering ground in your Yamaha off-road vehicle, and you’ll know where to go once the season starts—and after.