Home Forums Hunting Turkey Hunting Scouting Turkeys

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  • Connor
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    I will be turkey hunting for the first time this year and i appreciate all the information on IowaOutdoors. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips for scouting some gobblers. I know there are turkeys in the area from deer hunting and seeing tracks. Should i be looking for tracks or other sign? Trying to roost them already? And i was wondering where turkeys prefer to roost, do they like to roost in type of tree or oak trees where they have food or just any large tree? Do they usually roost in an open area with a few large trees or in hardwoods where there is constant tree cover? I really would appreciate any help on scouting turkeys and preparing for turkey season. Thanks for the help!

    iusckeeper
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    I’m interested in other people’s scouting techniques too.

    Connor
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    BUMP BUMP

    r.spurgeon
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    I would say it is never too early to start scouting for areas where turkeys like to hang out and such but it will be more critical and relevant when we get a little closer to spring when the turkeys start to break up and disperse into their spring time patterns. The Toms are not anywhere close to mating mode yet. That being said, you could still be looking for multiple spots to set up. Look for spots or areas that offer cover but shooting lanes as well or maybe where trees or water act as a funnel for the birds making it more likely they will have to walk near you to get where they are going. As for types of trees they roost in, I have seen them in all kinds so I don’t know if it matters and once mating season gets here a Tom might get into a routine where he generally roosts in the same area each night but not always the same exact tree.

    revup
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    just spend time out there
    take your calls and do some practicing……..see how the birds react to different calls.
    spend as much time out there and looking as much as possible.
    watch for lots of turkey poo on the ground, near a tree…..it is more than likely a roosting tree.

    KidIcarus
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    year round I look for flocks and pay attention to where they are roosting and feeding. They’ll be in that general area in the Spring. I’m mostly looking for roosting trees. If there are loads of feathers and j turds I mark the spot and pick a tree 75 – 100 yards in the direction I think the birds will go to feed. That’s kinda my technique for all hunting. Animals aren’t too complex, they look for safety, food and tail. Find where they think they are safe.

    Their habits certainly do change though closer to season.

    KidIcarus
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    year round I look for flocks and pay attention to where they are roosting and feeding. They’ll be in that general area in the Spring. I’m mostly looking for roosting trees. If there are loads of feathers and j turds I mark the spot and pick a tree 75 – 100 yards in the direction I think the birds will go to feed. That’s kinda my technique for all hunting. Animals aren’t too complex, they look for safety, food and tail. Find where they think they are safe.

    Their habits certainly do change though closer to season.

    KidIcarus
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    I thought I’d never be that guy that double posts, but, I did it!!!! 🙄

    Connor
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    Thanks for all of them help so far. I was also wondering if i should be looking more on oak flats or down in the bottoms? And do turkeys like to stick to deer trails when they move? Also do turkeys have a preference of how high they like to roost? Do they prefer big limbs as low as possible or as high as possible? I apologize for all the questions, like i said im new at this and i figure if anyone can help it would be you guys. I really appreciate it!

    r.spurgeon
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    When the Tom’s start strutting for hens they like to do so in somewhat open areas often times…… like a pasture, corn, or soybean field near timber. Some people like to set up in deep cover but I mainly stick to the edges of timber or fingers where I can see good. That way I can see a Tom if he is coming my way as they sometimes won’t make a peep before coming in, other times they gobble like crazy the whole way in. There is no right or wrong. You will learn a ton this first season.

    holdem
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    Quote by: revup

    just spend time out there
    take your calls and do some practicing……..see how the birds react to different calls.

    😯 …I don’t think You should call to the birds that you will try to hunt…that will just educate them and make them call shy… but thats just my opinion. 😉

    revup
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    Quote by: holdem

    Quote by: revup

    just spend time out there
    take your calls and do some practicing……..see how the birds react to different calls.

    😯 …I don’t think You should call to the birds that you will try to hunt…that will just educate them and make them call shy… but thats just my opinion. 😉

    agreed
    i should have specified
    you may want to try calling on public property, if you are hunting private…….or even calling to some you see from the road 🙂
    also calling out side will sound much different then calling in your house, or in your truck on the way to work 😀

    Connor
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    Thanks for all the help! It will all help me a great deal

    rouser
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    Quote by: revup

    Quote by: holdem

    Quote by: revup

    just spend time out there
    take your calls and do some practicing……..see how the birds react to different calls.

    😯 …I don’t think You should call to the birds that you will try to hunt…that will just educate them and make them call shy… but thats just my opinion. 😉

    agreed
    i should have specified
    you may want to try calling on public property, if you are hunting private…….or even calling to some you see from the road 🙂
    also calling out side will sound much different then calling in your house, or in your truck on the way to work 😀

    Better yet, instead of educating birds at all.. simply record yourself calling, there is a good chance the birds are going to respond differently to your calling through out the season… heck the birds will change up day to day. One day they may be very responsive to calling, other days your better off lightly calling then shutting up. Many times with turkey hunting you will find less is more. Less calling, less volume, more interest from those gobblers…other times you will find aggression is the key (that can be a ton of fun) but the aggressive times I have found are few.

    Much of the private ground I hunt borders public areas, so for selfish reasons I hate to see people go out and practice their calling on spring birds on these public grounds. Depending on where you are at in Iowa public grounds can be very good. I’d venture to say in my 20 years of turkey hunting most of my birds have been taken off public ground.

    I try to stay off the ground I hunt before the season. I will scout and listen from as far away as possible. Now is the time to get to know the lay of the land, don’t wait until the week before the season starts. If you need to slip in on them before the season, get in early, listen, keep your distance. Try not to disturb the birds, when you disturb them you may disrupt their patterns. If you can learn their patterns from a distance you will have a huge advantage. A couple weeks before the season start watching their behavior.

    Use aerial maps downloaded from the Internet. Mark up the maps with roosting areas, strut zones, look for natural funnels etc… I can’t stress enough the advantage you will have if you know the land and know it well. If you do have to run and gun on birds, knowledge of the land is critical. You will want to know what draws will mask your movement, what draws allow you the fastest movement, some areas have a lot of ground clutter making movement noisy.

    Some days you will find calling gets you nowhere and you simply have to put yourself between the roost and ultimately where the birds want to be.

    Good luck and have fun.

    wloohawk
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    In my experiences, turkeys like to roost above creeks and or ravines. They usually like trees that are sturdy enough so that they arent swaying back and forth all night, however I’ve seen exceptions to all these. Scouting now is ok, but waiting until about a week or a few days before the season would be ideal. I like to set up right near the roost just like everyone else, but I’ve had better luck staying further away from the roost and finding out where the gobblers go to later in morning. It’s definitely not as exciting as trying for those fly down whack em stories, but I’ve had more success that way. That first day is awesome to get out, however, being out there for most of the day gives me a great deal of information for the next day if in fact I don’t score that first day. Often times, between 10am to 2pm can be really good hunting, especially later in the season when Toms arent henned up all friggin day. Here in SE Iowa we have pretty good populations of turks, and i’ve seen 25-30 hens fly down to one dominant gobbler, that is not only one lucky dude, but a very tough dude to hunt! Later in the season, he’s often more killable!

    JRD
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    What Rouser said!!! and to add one comment: if you do go out a few weeks prior to season opening to listen and observe, just keep in mind that not every tom gobbles off the roost in the AM. I will guarantee that if you have a decent population of turkeys where you hunt – remember some of the less dominant toms could be roosting around you but will not make a peep!

    hotrod49er
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    Was out this morning early and did it pay-off. New spot to hunt and the woods was full of turks Figured about 8-9 toms, they would not shut up in the roost. Hens were yelping too. Once on the ground quiet for about an half hour. A cluck and yelp every so often followed by a gobble. They came to the opening my boy said they would, blood warmed up quick. Now in about a month, I hope they do the same thing.

    bubbaboy
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    alot of good info,i’ll add that if it’s windy 9 out of 10 times look for the turkeys in the bottom of a revine trying to get out of the wind.and like others said don’t try to educate the birds,to scout them get up early listen for them and when they fly down find thier food.you should see where they are coming from

    TRKYHNTR
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    I live on the skunk river bottom here is SE Iowa, and I started hearing toms gobble in early February, they shut up a lil after a cold snap, but while taking the pup out this morning the bottom was a roar with gobbles… sounds soooo good!!!

    All the advice here is great, get out there and find where there at. I won’t be surprized to see jakes and young toms strutting in the next week or so.

    TRKYHNTR,
    Nathan

    Bama Boy
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    i saw a big tom yesterday that looked like he was strutting….is it too early for that?

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