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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After using some of the tips you guys gave me I have found a spot that I am going to check out next week. I am going to get there about 1/2 before sunrise and head into the woods. What I would like to know is what to look for. I am completely new to hunting turkeys and this year I just want to see and hear some birds...killing would just be a bonus at this point. What are some signs, places, landmarks, terrains, etc that turkeys would be found. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!
 

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The car

Now this my sound weird but I like to get the area I am hunting about an hour early and just savor the still and quiet before dawn, and more often than not when I open my car door with the keys still in the ignition the open door alarm goes off and sets off a turkey roosting along with the occasional owl.

That is usually the direction I start my hunt at. This has actually worked for me several times
:chicken:
 

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Most important is where they are gobbling. Sneak near that spot and try to see in which direction the toms are going. Chances are they will do the same thing Opening Day. If possible, see if they go to an established strut zone (field, logging path, clear spot in woods, etc). Once you find this, set up there Opening morning, call minimally, and let them come to you. Whatever you do, do not let them bust you. Do not call before Opening Day.
As far as favorite spots, I like to put dekes in field and sit on edge in cover. Patience almost always pays off. If you can find their roost and where they want to go, that's all you need.
 

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First, to find where they sleep. Roosting sites often consist of heavier wooded terrain (most frequently hardwoods or older pine trees) with an adjacent opening. This can be the side of an ag field, an open ridge top knoll, or as simply a clearing in amongst some hardwoods. Birds prefer to roost as high as they can conveniently reach without much effort, so finding them of the edge of a ridge in some adjacent trees is not uncommon. After the birds have moved away during mid morning, you can get in closer where you have heard them and look for droppings (larger J shaped ones frequently indicate gobbler), feathers and tracks to nail down the exact location. If you can get within 100 yards of of this spot in the morning, you have a fairly good chance of calling in an anxious tom right off the roost.
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The birds will mingle for a short while, often heading first for a food source. Look for open areas most commonly this time of year as they will be feeding on insects (especially this year with the warm up) and seeds. These areas also double as strutting areas and can be excellent places to head if the roost doesn't connect you with a tom.

If the predictions of early nesting behavior hold true for this year, hens will shortly leave the toms and head to their nests in deeper cover. Normally this takes place late morning or early afternoon. Gobblers will often begin roaming at some point during the day, using edges to travel from field to field, looking for food and hens that may not have been breed yet.This is a great time to be in the woods during hunting season, because you have the place to yourself with a bunch of lonely birds. During season, you can choose from two tactics: keep moving to hit on a hot bird OR head back to the spot you called from in the morning. The first gives you a great opportunity to cover new ground and maybe hit on a gonzo bird that will be in your lap before you can get out a cutting run. The second keys in on the idea that old tom that followed the hens the other direction this morning remembers where you were, and chances are very good he will come poking around after the girls leave him high and dry.

Afternoons will still find birds loafing and carrying on in the same fields as in midmorning, but they may seek shadier locales if the temps are above the 70's. In hillier terrain, you can also find them in the bottoms in between the ridges when its warm or windy. Wind may also push them into conifers or other evergreens to provide some protection. Rain will have them in the fields eating worms and doing their best to deal with all the sound and movement. This is also an overlooked time to hunt, as the birds suffer from degraded vision and hearing, and are very consistent about their behavior.

Later in the evening, the birds will begin to collect again at their roost sites, often the very same trees they left in the mornings. Look for them here when roosting in the evenings or setup along travel routes here during late season all day hunting. Sometimes an old boy will be going to bed lonely and this can let you know where he's sleeping if you plan to hunt, the next morning or help you connect with a bird at dusk.

As far as sign, look for areas of scratching. In the best scenarios this will look like someone took a rake to the leaves on a hillside. Tracks will look similar to the shore birds you're probabbly used to seeing on the west coast, only ranging from the 2 ½"-4" , larger tracks indicating gobblers. Tracks accompanied by drag marks on either side indicate strutting activity and can make for a great spot to set up.

Simple calling is enough for most situations. If you can master clucks and yelps between now and then on box calls, slates, or push pins, you're in business. Just try to listen to some sound tracks to get a good feel for cadence and frequency of calling. Also , with calling ,don't over do it, just enough to keep them interested.

I hope this helps, and if you have more specific questions let us know. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Git high and listen! Best advice I ever got, was about 30 years ago, but it still works, find a high point and just sit and listen, The earliest bird I've heard in the last few days was about 0610. Most gobbling has been about 0630. They really seem to be henned up right now, almost no talking after they hit the ground. But at least you'll have an idea where they are to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Now if I go out and wait for them to fly down, am I ok to walk around and scout? I don't want to spook them a week before the season and mess it all up
 

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Now if I go out and wait for them to fly down, am I ok to walk around and scout? I don't want to spook them a week before the season and mess it all up
If you know where they roost your good, they usually use the same trees. Walking around is probably not smart.

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Now if I go out and wait for them to fly down, am I ok to walk around and scout? I don't want to spook them a week before the season and mess it all up
With the Season a week away, you will do no harm. At this point you probably won't be the first to spook them if it would happen? Just try to determine their fly down and sneak out the other way to scout.

I wouldn't want to spook them the day before, and even at that, they'd probably back to the same routine the next day? They live their lives constantly being spooked by something, and within a few hours their pretty much back to theirselves, being nervous and a scared of their own shadows.

I honestly believe you could chase them and yell and scream at them, and the next day they'd probably be there? Like I said, you don't want to spook them right before a hunt, but many people give turkeys too much credit for thinking things out?
 
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