Scouting Techniques: Legwork

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stankyolgobbler
 
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Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby stankyolgobbler » February 22nd, 2012, 1:57 am

I for one am the only person I know who is out at the turkey property the day after deer season. I am setting up the map & organizing SD cards for my trail cameras ASAP. Of course I like to know the roosting sites and strutting zones of my spring birds, but I also like to get an idea of how many birds are on the property, if they are going to stay, what the turkeys are doing and where they are doing it months and weeks before the season opens. So....even though trail cameras and knowing your property are good ways to obtain right off the bat information, the subject here is LEGWORK. You get out what you put in. Some call it sweat-equity. Finding every feeding, scratching, dusting, and strutting area you can on your property...even down to last track and making note of it. Not only that....but recording how it progresses or declines as the season approaches. So, how much legwork do you put in? How soon do you start? And what major aspects of your scouting do you really key in on?
-Sage Morris

I like 'em close.....I mean REAL close.

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Gobblerman
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby Gobblerman » February 22nd, 2012, 10:07 am

As a westerner that hunts very large tracts of National Forest public lands, my preseason scouting strategy is completely different than most here, I suspect. My goal is to find as many gobblers as I can before the season, and then assess which ones are in locations where I am least likely to have other hunters competing for those birds.

There are plenty of places that I know will hold birds every year,...and then there are the out-of-the-way spots that we find birds holding that are unexpected. Our birds gobble a lot on the roost, and they are generally highly visible in open areas along roads. Hence, our preseason strategy is to use locator calls to find as many gobblers as we can that way,...and in as many places as we can,....and then drive the roads or walk into more remote areas to look for birds and sign during the day.

In most years, by the time the season rolls around, we will have covered hundreds of square miles and located anywhere from 100 to 200 or more mature gobblers. It is a tough job, but somebody has got to do it!

Every year, we will locate dozens of gobblers that we will never hunt during the season. These are birds that we know will have other hunters on them daily,...or that are just down our priority list far enough that we never get around to hunting them.
:D :mrgreen:
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Cut N Run
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby Cut N Run » February 22nd, 2012, 12:53 pm

^I wish I could say that I had access to hundreds of birds. I scout during & after deer season and when I'm clearing trails or working around the farms. It helps that I have horseback riders scouting for me during the week when I can't get out there much. Thanks to them, I already know where to check for two gobblers I hadn't seen before.

I take a popup blind to the lease with a spotting scope to watch & listen along the powerlines opening. Sometimes I'll sit at the cabin and listen on that side of the lease. There's not much open land over there and ears are my best tool.

Jim
Luck Counts, good or bad

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stankyolgobbler
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby stankyolgobbler » February 22nd, 2012, 1:45 pm

Cut N Run wrote:^I wish I could say that I had access to hundreds of birds.



I DO TOO! Gobblerman, I hear those western birds get in pretty good numbers rollin' into the spring season. These easterns down south tend to be one bird to a group of hens and sometimes drag a sub-dominant (non gobbling) bird around with them.

Great techniques. Good luck this spring and look forward to hearing from you both!
-Sage Morris

I like 'em close.....I mean REAL close.

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turkey junky
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby turkey junky » February 22nd, 2012, 2:02 pm

i wish i had the time/$$$ to travel to & get out in all the public tracts of land i will hunt each season but i just cant do that & wear i hunt in MN is 3 hours away from my home so i have learned to rely on M.R.I. "most. recent. information." from my own in the field scouting while out hunting or the land owner or any local wildlife biologist in the areas i will be travel hunting if i arrive a day or so early ill get into the woods & just listen at day break mid afternoon & fly up time & try & get a idea of there daily routine as of the time period im hunting versus going on info i had gathered months prior???

i am much to scared of spooking un pressured birds to take long walks to scout a peace of land on foot if i do arrive early to my hunt spots i will glass the area from afar & listen for gobbles & try to put a bird to bed... i hunt 5-6 day hunts wear ever i hunt & i can if things go ok locate & figure out what the birds are doing & wear they like to hang out in them 5-6 days??? so thats when i put in my legwork...

a lot of times if u get out & scout to early the birds could/have moved off the property by hunting season so all that scouting could be for not especially if u have tons & tons of hunters spooking the turkeys day in & day out on public land they can always just up & move over to the next ridge or to a peace of private land in the area wear they are not being harassed daily...???

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stankyolgobbler
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby stankyolgobbler » February 22nd, 2012, 2:51 pm

turkey junky wrote:a lot of times if u get out & scout to early the birds could/have moved off the property by hunting season so all that scouting could be for not especially if u have tons & tons of hunters spooking the turkeys day in & day out on public land they can always just up & move over to the next ridge or to a peace of private land in the area wear they are not being harassed daily...???


yes, birds may find other ground for their spring ritual...BUT in some cases you get lucky and have everything that bird needs on your property. no, he might not be roosting in the same area but none the less, he is still on your property. Also, knowing the numbers of gobblers/hens can give an idea of what your turkey population is like even though we all know by spring those numbers will decline with dominant gobblers breaking off with their own harem of hens. but for a conservationist like myself. I like to stay in tune with the birds habits and know how well the population is doing and getting a kind of head count to help predict the spring with my late winter scouting.


and on public land that is true and remains true. if you know where birds are located, you might as well sit back and listen or glass them. because the pressure is just going to rise on a public land bird that tends to be vocal...or show himself.

as for me I am blessed to have close to 3000 acres of different properties I have permission to hunt each year, so once the deer hunters are out. I move in and put in major legwork in order to see what the birds are up to. and being that it is just one person (me), it is fairly easy to stay out of their way and go pretty much undetected.once i know the birds are split up and starting their spring habits, i stay back....watch.....and listen.
-Sage Morris

I like 'em close.....I mean REAL close.

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shaman
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby shaman » February 22nd, 2012, 4:32 pm

I've just got my own little 200 acre patch. I'm a year-round scouter. However, the past few years I've had few turkeys on the property after Jan 1. They've been wintering in the bottoms and leaving my ridge top alone.

I start scouting as soon as I can get back to camp. This year I was there once already, but sometimes it can be as late as late March. I'm out every morning I can, listening for birds. When the do show themselves, I spend my early mornings at a good distance from the flocks, first listening and then watching their movements. By the time season rolls around I usually have a good idea of how many are in each flock and where each flock is generally roosting.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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onpoint
 
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Re: Scouting Techniques: Legwork

Postby onpoint » February 22nd, 2012, 7:52 pm

Gobblerman wrote: we will have covered hundreds of square miles and located anywhere from 100 to 200 or more mature gobblers. It is a tough job, but somebody has got to do it!

Every year, we will locate dozens of gobblers that we will never hunt during the season. These are birds that we know will have other hunters on them daily,...or that are just down our priority list far enough that we never get around to hunting them.
:D :mrgreen:


Must be nice, I'm lucky if I know were a half-dozen are. Go ge 'em Jim!!!
"Chasin' gobblers has a lot in common with dealing with a wife, 'bout the time ya' think ya' got 'em figured out, they change the rules!!!"


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