Hunters who have early access to the land where they will be turkey hunting have an incredible advantage over those who arrive just in time to start hunting.
What You Are Looking For …
In pre-season, finding the turkey roosts is the key to a great hunting season. By walking the area early, without gun or trappings, you will have a much easier time of locating roosts and strutting areas.
Turkeys seem to favor agricultural areas, bottom lands and the woods. They also need a source of water.
Turkeys eat a mixture of seeds, nuts and fruits, greens and insects. Around agricultural areas, they eat the waste grains in fields: buckwheat, corn, soybeans, oats, and grain sorghum.
Hens eat about 1/3 pound of food, while gobblers need 1/2 to 1 lb. daily. Turkeys are going to range within an area that will offer the herd enough food and water.
During the fall and winter seasons, male and female turkeys travel in large groups. In early spring however, the bunches separate along gender lines. Each sex has differing tasks.
As you might imagine, the guys are going to argue about who is the “biggest and baddest.” Biologists would say they are working out their dominance issues.
The jakes (young males) have left their mothers and are learning their new roles. They watch the fights for dominance between the more seasoned gobblers (adult males).
The females search for safe nesting areas and prepare their nests for the incubation period after breeding. Given a choice, females often choose the base of a mature tree or stump, in open woods.
Applying What You Have Learned
Once the two sexes separate, their roosts tend to be considerable distances from each other. Gobblers talk year-round, with a huge increase before and during breeding.
Gobblers seem to need to chatter; so listen for their gobbling. Once you have found turkeys, sit and watch for awhile. Listen to the calling and gobbling. How do the other birds react?
By doing this pre-season work now, when the season starts you can move in, take your limit and go home.
As the turkey season progresses, it gets harder to snare a gobbler. Turkeys are not stupid.
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