Start scouting now? It’s only March in Wisconsin! Turkeys are still in winter flocks; What possible reason is there to start scouting wild turkeys now? The birds are likely going to be in different woods and fields by the time my spring season opens.
The number one reason: it is fun and educational to be out talking to actual wild turkeys anytime of the year, even
better when an upcoming season is only a few weeks from opening. Rarely does a “spring only turkey hunter” venture out to experience the pure yet complex world of wild turkeys. Those who are year-round hunters know the male turkeys gobble and strut at all times of the year. Meanwhile, the other turkey hunters are shocked when they hear fall turkeys gobbling their heads off.
Here’s a brief what should you look for:
- Goes without saying, try to find birds they make it all the more fun. This time of year wild turkey flocks are getting a little frayed around their social edges but still spend the day and night in their winter flocks. Hens plus jennies and gobblers with jakes satelliting, when the opportunity presents a lone gobbler the jakes like to harass him. Jakes act like the teenage boys of the turkey world, full of energy and trying to be part of the turkey world.
- Travel corridors, with snow or mud or just soft ground walking turkey leave tracks which are quite easy to see. You can also determine the number and sex of the turkeys traveling together.
- Turkeys use their wings more than most hunters realize. When turkeys are fluttering and flying around the bare treetops, they are easy to spot. On many occasions, I have seen turkeys hovering, much like giant hummingbirds pecking the swelling tree buds, typical behavior when the ground is an icy snow sheet.
- Sounds of wild turkeys. Many of the flock’s members are beginning to disagree with the hierarchy they agreed to last fall and getting noisy about it. Especially the gobblers, who, for the most part, have not talked to any of the ladies in the neighboring gaggle for quite some time.
- Call to the turkeys. Yeah, I know, all the “expert” advice is you are not supposed to call outside before the season opens. I’ll go out on a limb here and admit a secret; I have practiced my spring time calling to real live wild turkeys for the last twenty years. And what is the worst thing that has happened? Wild turkeys have moved into areas I can hunt. That’s right turkeys are very social birds and regularly seek out those other unknown interlopers. Read about “audio baiting” here– How to Legally Bait Turkeys
Whenever you can get out–do it and enjoy. By the way, if you deer hunt, their trails, bedding
and feeding areas will be very obvious. These are the same areas the deer frequent during WI firearm, muzzleloader and late archery season.