1. Leave your calls at home
This is no time to educate the turkeys on your hunting property. Wild turkeys are smart and they catch on to fake calls quickly, especially if you’re not an expert caller. It’s best to scout in silence and observe with a good pair of binoculars from a distance. There is one call that you can use, however, and that is a locator call – be it an owl hoot, coyote howl, or a crow call.
During spring, toms are fired up and they will respond to just about any loud noise that excites them. This type of response is known as a shock gobble and is very useful for locating a tom, while not enticing him to come over for a visit – making it a perfect turkey scouting tool.
2. Don’t get too close
Turkeys are much easier to scout than deer for several reasons – the biggest being that they are awake during the day and sleep during the night. There’s no messing around with patterning nocturnal turkeys! Secondly, they love to hang out in the open for long periods of time. Both of these habits make turkeys easy to scout from a distance. Glass fields or strutting areas from the truck or from afar and make mental notes on where and when to be set up.
A spotting scope is the perfect tool for scouting turkeys from a distance.
If you don’t have any open areas to watch, you can still scout from a distance. This is a pretty typical scenario for turkey hunters in wooded country. Whether you’re hunting the bottomlands of Mississippi or the Ozarks of Missouri, you should learn to scout with your ears. Set up at sunrise on a high point where you can hear a long way and just listen – the gobblers will tell you right where they are.
3. Don’t scout too early
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be out scouting early and enjoying the great outdoors after a long winter, but rather to throw some words of caution your way. If you want to scout for turkeys a month before the season, that’s fine . . . just be aware that what you’re seeing now will likely not hold much merit come hunting season. If you scout turkeys all the way up to your season that’s one thing, it’s another to see turkeys in a field every day during early March and think that’s where you need to be in April.
Pre-season turkey scouting is best done the week or two leading up to your season. This is because turkeys change their patterns dramatically from winter to spring. Simply put, you want the most recent information when it comes to turkey hunting.
For more information on how to scout turkeys check out this article – 6 Pre-Season Turkey Scouting Strategies