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Turkey Droppings & Movement


jeffyo45

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Was out this past Saturday scouting. Talked to the owner of the land and he said he saw birds there last week. While walking through the woods noticed lots of scratched up areas. Only found what appeared to be one set of turkey droppings. Should I have been finding alot more droppings in the area if the birds have been using those woods recently? Also, what can I expect the maximum distance the turkeys may have moved? Did not see or hear any birds the whole time we were there (6 am to 11 am). What is a turkey's normal range in square miles?

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Jeffy:

Sounds like you're in the game. Congrats for being better prepared than many heading into the woods for their turkey.

Seeing all that scratching is great sign. it means the birds have been in the area somewhat recently (post-snowmelt), depending on zone. Don't be too disappointed in not finding many droppings, as they can be tough to spot in leaves and wooded areas. Turkeys are constantly moving, and very rarely do you find large concentrations of them anyway unless under roost trees.

Not hearing any birds at 6am is interesting....as I'd expect you'd hear them unless wind was high, or they were on the other side of a ridge. Some mornings they don't gobble much, but you probably should've heard some birds. No matter, you're close. Find the closest and best roost trees, food, and some water....and get access to as much of it as feasible!!!

They could've moved up to a couple miles, but probably not. Home range on gobblers is dependent upon hens this time of year, among a few other things. I've read 1,000 to 5,000 acres, depending on terrain. I think the turkeys are pretty lucky in MN, with plenty of food in farm-country. With fewer hens though, I'm guessing toms would have a few thousand acre home range. With food, cover, roost trees, hens, and water, I've seen groups of toms not leave 120 acres in 5 days of hunting. I've also hunted a 500 acre tract crawling with birds the 1st 2 days, and literally no gobbles or strutting birds anywhere the next.

That said, I'd have a few locations to hunt, with at least a couple different groups of birds. Sometimes they're nowhere to be found. Be prepared with some backup plans, and you've increased your odds without even putting on your camo.

Sorry to be long-winded, and good luck!!!

Joel

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

I wouldn't worry too much. These turkeys do move around a bit. And with you hunting a 40 acre piece they'll be there some days and not others.

One chunk of property that I checked out didn't have any sign on it yet. Although I heard a couple of gobblers off the property. I'm not worried as I have other properties to hunt and the birds have always been there when I hunt later in the season.

I still think the birds are working int their usually ranges. The flocks have recently broken up. So bird are still distributing some.

As far as droppings go Joel covered it pretty well. I usually spot dropping on roads and field edges. Not very often in the woods. The hen droppings will have a clump on the end and the gobbler droppings will be "J" shaped.

P.S. I talked to one of the landowners on the list we talked about Saturday. He doesn't have anyone hunting late. So you may want to go through the list and make a few calls. All the pieces I checked from the list had good sign.

Good Luck!

[This message has been edited by Borch (edited 04-13-2004).]

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