So You Want to Fill Your Turkey Tag...
Yesterday I found myself on my riding lawn mower for the first time ever in the month of March. As I rode around my yard in the nearly 80 degree weather my mind drifted into the future a few weeks. Although it already feels like turkey season outside, I still have to wait till mid-April to uncase my ever faithful Browning BPS, and take to the timber in pursuit of my first gobbler of the season.
As much as I enjoy chasing these birds with a gun in my hand I find a great deal of satisfaction in just listening to them on the roost in the early morning light. Fortunately for me there is no season or tag required to walk into the woods and listen to turkey talk. An alarm clock and a very large cup of coffee are the only prerequisites for allowing me to enjoy turkey season weeks before the shotgun comes out. The welcomed side effect of my addiction to hear turkeys gobble is the knowledge I gain by listening to these birds in the various areas of the properties I hunt. During the late March and early April period the turkeys are usually extremely vocal. This allows me to not only hear where the toms are roosted but the hens as well. Once these birds fly down they usually remain vocal for some time which allows me to audibly track them around my hunting area. After several days of this sort of observation I can paint a fairly accurate picture of the number of turkeys on the property, as well as their preferred areas of use. When I unzip my gun case later in the spring this information will prove invaluable in my attempt to fill my freezer with some organic poultry.
The novice turkey hunter needs to know one very important thing before taking to the woods this spring….turkeys are a whole lot easier to call in when you are sitting where they want to go in the first place. Although there are definite advantages to having a broad knowledge of turkey vocalizations and how to replicate them, these skills alone will often times leave you empty handed. Without the knowledge of the local terrain and how the turkeys use it; your ability to call in a longbeard is greatly diminished. Combine your observations from the field with some high quality aerial photos or topo maps and you can really implement an effective game plan for your hunt.
No high dollar custom call or fad calling gadget you saw on TV is a replacement for the information you can acquire by scouting in advance. So if you want to fill your turkey tag this season…..Do yourself a favor and set your alarm clock early this weekend, put on a pot of coffee, drive out to your hunting area, and sit and enjoy the sounds of spring and this wonderful bird that we love to chase. Best of luck and safe hunting this spring!!