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Find your spring turkey - NOW


HateHumminbird

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Ok, assume you're getting a tag this year; power of positive thinking right?

While you're salivating over the ensuing ice-fishing season, keep thinking turkeys right now (not too much or you'll go nutts). Any down time i have during the winter is spent "windshield" scouting by driving the backroads looking for large winter flocks. When you find them, you'll know. They'll be spread out over a large area, during the day, scratching in corn stubble or hanging out in pastures, eating the corn out of....well you know.

Toms seem to hang out together, in their own little groups within the flock, or even in their own flocks. It's a great time to pull out some binocs or a spotting scope if you have one, and just observe these birds. A cold, still day will bring them out of the woodwork many times.

Once you see them in a field eating, especially towards dusk, you know they're not far from their roost trees. Where I hunt, these trees will be used into the spring-time, usually by fewer birds though, and not always toms.

Come nicer weather and the breeding season, these birds will disperse radially, in all directions. And while it would make sense that they'd follow natural breaks in cover like drainageways, fingers of cover, topography, they don't always. Sometimes they yo-yo back and forth from their winter spots, ranging willy-nilly for an untaken chunk of land until they actually find it.

Either way, this winter staging area is a great spot to start looking! My brother and I took two very large toms on opening day '05 in the same field i'd seen them in all winter. While this probably had something to do with the 1st day of the 1st season, i've taken birds like these before in their wintering grounds.

It's worth noting that these winter birds often feed in a pattern, many times circular. Fly-down from roost, feed in a loop one direction towards a good field. Complete the loop and at dark they're near the roost site again. This gives you reference for early spring hunts unless food sources change dramatically (like early may when the new greens start shooting up).

Spotted a bird with what looked to be 1 1/2" hooks with the spotting scope yesterday. He was only 75 yards from the road, and at 45x, i could see they had a very nice curve to them!!! Beard was of normal length, and his body was puny in comparison to the bruisers he was with. An old boy that I hope makes it through the winter. Bad snows will mean coyote's-feast in our neck of the woods.

Start looking now!

Joel

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I took this picture yesterday during the snowstorm. I would see some turkeys in this field every now and again, but never this many at one time.

2005_1214SU10011.jpg

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