Wilson Post Blogs
In search of turkeys
I am sure someone has started doing it, scouting for turkeys. It is about that time. I do not know much about turkey hunting. I think I have gone three times in the past five years. Of course, I was sick during most of that time and didn’t hunt anything much. I do know I never scout for them. However, some say scouting is as important in turkey hunting as it is in deer hunting. I guess it is if you don’t see them almost daily or are serious about killing one. I am not.
My standard method of hunting is just to go where I have been seeing them regularly and wait for them to come by.
Most mornings, just about seven or seven-thirty, I see one or two big longbeards on the edge of a pasture near here. When the Music City Star blows the horn, most mornings I hear three or four gobble across the street. I have permission to hunt both places. If I go opening morning, I will probably just sit in front of a big maple I know about and wait for them to head for the pasture. However, I have been turkey scouting in the past.
I went scouting with Eddie Salter, ace turkey hunter from AL one time. He had a unique method that worked well. We went to a local gas station near his house and asked the first four or five loggers that stopped in for their after work refreshment where they had been seeing turkeys. The next morning we went where one of them said and I killed a fine gobbler.
Another method that I guess qualifies, as scouting is to go fishing on Old Hickory and listen for them to gobble while you work a prime springtime bank. Judge Durham and I have killed a bird or two that way. Of course, unless you can walk on water, it does help to have a boat. Just be sure you are not on private property. Many birds on that river. It is a lot more fun when you can combine a turkey hunt and a fishing trip. I have had a beautiful morning or two doing that. If you don’t succeed at one, you might at the other.
Big Bird Campbell looks for droppings but that does not hold much appeal for me. One thing that will tell you is if there are turkeys currently around. I guess you might also look for dusting places like old roads through the woods. Gobblers like those places and you can usually find their dusting spots provided it has not rained so much there is no dust.
There is a pleasant type of scouting. I am not opposed to a walk in the woods just at daylight, stopping often to listen for gobbling on some ridge. Even if you don’t hear one, it is a good way to spend some time. I love the smell of the spring woods.
The season opens for the young sportsmen, ages 10-16, March 24-25. For the rest of us it opens March 31 and runs through May 13. During that period, you will hear the hunters talking about the gobblers being all henned up, just not gobbling, or not gobbling once they fly down and all sorts of things like that. I don’t really know what all that means. I know you are allowed one bearded bird per day not to exceed four per season and if you are shooting a shotgun, you must have number four shot or smaller. But I don’t get all excited about turkey hunting. Truth is I spend most of my time chasing smallmouth.
The two places I deer hunt around here are covered up with turkeys. I expect I might ease out and try to kill one but I really don’t know why. I do not like turkey in terms of eating, either wild or tame. So I would have to give the meat away. I can do that. I do get some enjoyment out of calling one in but not so much I would pass up a fishing trip or go when it is raining. That brings up another thought.
Every time it rains, especially a soft, gentle rain, my yard is full of turkeys. I guess they come to eat the worms that come out. I have seen as many as 100 in my yard at the same time. I cannot shoot those because a woman that lives behind me feeds the darn things and that might technically be hunting over bait. I’ll have to check that out.
Anyhow, no matter how you scout, now is the time to be doing it. In a little over three weeks, you can go try and kill one. If it is a nice morning, I just may, too.