The poult watch is a popular summer time activity of turkey hunters; well maybe not
the casual turkey hunter but certainly those who are the hard bitten turkey hooked type of hunter. Many hunters I have talked with lately see no sense to scouting turkeys now. After all turkeys will, most likely, not be in the same areas come September 14th Wisconsin’s 2013 fall opening date. Besides these hunters add the cover is so thick you can’t see the birds anyway. Well maybe there is some truth to that on both accounts…
Will turkeys be somewhere else come the opener?
Maybe, maybe not.
Turkeys in my section of Wisconsin are wide ranging they can be one place one day and somewhere else the next. You just never know because they do things for turkey reasons. Heck during the fall season on any given day turkeys could be all over in one area and gone somewhere else the next. Turkeys are very random creatures so no matter the time of year turkeys might be somewhere other than where they were last seen.
What is the definition of scouting? I think it means different things to each hunter. To me it does not matter if you call turkey observing scouting or whatever. I simply like watching turkeys period. Observation is a prime method of learning and there is a lot to learn about turkeys. But first you have to find turkeys to observe.
Contrary to the conclusion some spring only hunters come to. Turkeys respond to calls year round. You can even call turkeys during the summer months. During the summer I like to find and watch hens with broods so I use hen talk such as the assembly call, putt, clucks, and feeding purrs young poults instinctively respond quickly to these calls. When the hen calls poults pay attention because their lives depend on it for survival. In the case of alarm putts and assembly calls they must come quickly so the hen can shepard them out of danger.
My goal using a call is to locate the poults not necessarily to call them in as I would while hunting in order to get a shot. I like to find the birds then just shutup and watch them interact while going about thier business. Dense cover in fields and woods frequently inhibits the ability to see. This is a two way street, the turkeys can’t see well either which many times causes them to use their wings to get above the cover or they may fly into trees for a look around. Too often we think of turkeys as ground birds during the day and tree birds while they roost at night. In reality turkeys especially the young are in the treetops more than we think. Dittos for the use of their wings. Sometimes after making some calls the turkeys will flutter and hover a bit much alike a hummingbird does up above ground cover to get look.
Turkeys most preferred summer food is insects from the smallest of gnats to large grasshoppers. Find a good source of insect life in good turkey habitat and you should find the birds. Don’t over look areas in and around water. Not only does water concentrate insects it also holds all kinds of high protein morsels such as crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, snails and many types of aquatic bugs. I have seen water feeding turkeys dunk there heads underwater to feed on these.