Pre-Season Scouting For Turkey Hunting
Just like deer hunting, I do some pre-season scouting in preparation for the Michigan turkey hunting season that kicks off in April.
I have been an avid turkey hunter for the past 20 years and each year I love it a little more than the last. Every season is totally different, no two toms act a like and I love the communication that goes on between the birds and my calls.
I have been fortunate to live in two different states during these past 20 + years that have a really solid number of birds right in my neighborhood.
In the 20 + years that I have hunted turkeys, I've only been skunked once and that was a year I lived in Indiana where the weather was the absolute worst the entire season. Turkey's don't like to move in high winds but will come out in the rain. The problem with that year is that for the few weeks season ran, the winds blew out of control for the whole season and even though there was a lot of rain, the winds and storms were just too much and the birds stayed put in the hardwoods and just wouldn't move.
The reason part of my success in the woods has been because of all the recon I do before season. No, I don't do much walking in the woods but I do a lot of driving and using my binoculars around the areas I hunt. Plus, during deer season, I pick up a few things along the way.
As long as you are seeing birds in and around your area, you should do fine. I'm a huge fan (no pun intended) of the tom decoy and the gobble call. I know most people most use the hen calls and trust me, its in my bag of tricks also, but turkeys are territorial birds and when a hen call can't get an old gobbler to break at less 60 to 80 yards, usually a tom decoy and a gobble call will do the trick.
The important thing is to know there are birds in your area and looking often will help you learn how they move and where plus allow you to window shop for the perfect bird to put on the table for Thanksgiving or any meal of the year. Scouting is the best way to know what is going on.
Knowing where food sources are and one of the most important things is knowing where the turkeys roost at night. Never hunt right at the roost site, the birds will just roost in another area but if you get within a few hundred yards away and don't disturbed them when you walk in during the morning. You should have no trouble tagging a trophy gobbler.
Turkeys are all over Michigan and even thriving in the Upper Peninsula even with all the wolves and coyotes. Do your homework and locate the birds in your area and you will create many memories that will last a lifetime and provide you with one of the things hunters love best...a good story to tell their hunting buddies or family members.