Outdoor Articles

Create Opening Day Turkey Hunt Plans Now

by Wil Askew on September 27th, 2007 in Turkey Hunting

Now’s the time to get in your preseason turkey scouting.

It may seem early, but before you know it, you’ll be walking out the door in your favorite camouflage. Heck, Hawaii’s season already has begun and Florida’s starts Saturday, with Alabama and South Carolina’s set to follow March 15.

Where to hunt

Create a backup turkey-hunting plan now in case your first spot is already booked.

First things first, If you are interested in hunting a piece of private land that you have seen birds on, make your connections now.

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Keep in contact with the property owner and offer to help around the property if needed.

Lots of people are resorting to hunting on private ground to avoid the masses who hit public land opening day.

If you hunt public land, get familiar with the area.

Nothing’s worse than going back to your favorite spot to find out it’s been logged or marked with fresh new “No Trespassing” signs.

Take the time to drive through your old haunts and look at the area.

Recent storms may have taken down the old roost tree you’re accustomed to and you may need to do some homework to find the new one.

Develop a backup plan

Most of us have a favorite place we like to start the season. All of my favorite spots have become someone’s “new” spot.

And the new spot I discovered last year was at least six other guys’ “old” spot, even though I never saw a soul while scouting the area for the month prior to opening day.

I like to have at least three other spots I can go to without a lot of travel time in case one is overrun.

Develop plans A, B and C before you even make your first call.

Patterning birds

This time of year turkeys are traveling in flocks and are fairly visible.

As we get closer to the rut, they will disband and the jakes or smaller toms will band together in bachelor groups.

Mature toms will gather a harem to begin breeding season and will stick with them.

If you’re seeing birds in a general area, mark it down. I like to drive around with a good topo map that I bought at G.I. Joe’s.

With this map I can use a highlighter to mark certain areas and then cross reference with public-lands maps.

Turkeys will travel when pressured, so if you are seeing them in an area, they will be close come opening day.

Locating call

Use spot-and-stalk tactics when you’re out in the woods.

Calling to a tom now will only educate him to your calls, and if he sees you, he may go silent during the season.

If you must call, use shock-gobble calls such as crow, owl, coyote, woodpecker and others to pinpoint a bird’s location.

Keep a journal

Along with your map, keep a small notepad and keep tabs on travel patterns of different flocks in your hot spots.

Turkeys like to keep a schedule and you can get a good clue of when they fly down and when they hit the strut zone by taking notes.

This will tell you when and where you need to be on opening morning.

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