Wild Turkey Hunting Network
Wild Turkey Hunting Network
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Pre-Season Scouting
Just as athletes prepare for the season by practicing on the playing field, it is important for turkey hunters to pay a few visits to the woods prior to opening day. 

Sure, any novice can wander into the woods on a good day, stumble across a vocal tom and put a bead on him. But to enjoy consistent success, you need a game plan that can carry you from opening morning to the close of the season. To do this, you need to get out before the season starts and learn the lay of the land and where the birds like to hang out.

Get to a high point before daybreak and listen for gobbling. Try to pinpoint where the birds are roosting. Scour the woods in search of roosting areas by looking for feathers and turkey droppings.

Do the same around field edges and along logging roads or paths by checking for foot tracks, wing-tip drag marks from strutting birds and even dusting areas. Spend some mid-morning hours sitting tight along a field edge or in open woods, listening and watching. Record your observations in a journal or logbook to determine patterns in the turkeys’ behavior. Including weather conditions and other factors in your notes might also prove helpful.

A note of caution though: A lot of hunters are tempted to include a little preseason calling along with their scouting. It’s fun to get an ol’ tom worked into a frenzy. But don’t do it. Leave the calls at home until opening day. 

“Birds learn quickly when they hear calls but never find a hen, or worse, find you,” said National Wild Turkey Federation COO and avid turkey hunter Carl Brown. “It only takes a single close encounter with a person to make for a call-shy gobbler.”

Once you pinpoint where the birds roost and where they head during the day to feed, plan a strategy that puts you along their travel routes. It is always easier to call a gobbler to where he wants to go than to get him to go somewhere he has no desire to be.

NEXT: Turkey Sign

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a great resource for turkey hunting tips and other wild turkey information. Visit the NWTF’s website at www.nwtf.org for information or call (800) THE-NWTF to become a NWTF member and receive one of our great magazines filled with turkey hunting tips and stories. 

About the NWTF: In 1973 when the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Thanks to the work of state wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, today there are an estimated 5.4 million wild turkeys and approximately 2.6 million turkey hunters. Since 1985, more than
$135 million NWTF and cooperator dollars have been spent on over 15,000 projects benefiting wild turkeys throughout North America.

The NWTF is a 390,000-member grassroots, nonprofit organization with members in 50 states, Canada and 11 foreign countries. It supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and corporate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.

** For lots of excellent Wild Turkey Recipes check Cooking Turkey With SusieQ

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