Will turkey scouting pay off?

April 11, 2016

Faith Outdoors

We all hear about the importance of scouting in preparing for a hunt. I learned firsthand during a trip down to two adjoining properties I will turkey hunt near Red Wing when Season A opens on Wednesday.

I had planned to hunt a spot where I had called in two toms for my daughter Claire last spring, also on the opening day of the A Season. Without hesitation, I parked my car and headed to a back corner to set up the blind. It’s a spot where a narrow strip of pasture and a picked soybean field meet. Last year, the crop field was picked corn, and the birds were using it before the season. I got that report from the landowner, which is the most valuable source of information there is.

This year, I set up the blind without talking to the landowner first. I couldn’t find him, so I just relied on last year’s results. Then, after I set up the blind and walked back to my car, I spotted him in a field working. Another guy was with him. Turned out to be his cousin.

I approached him and asked where he had been seeing birds. He pointed to a field to the south and said he had just seen a flock of 30 or more birds the previous evening. He had seen them on other days, too.

Thinking this to be a sign from the Lord, I asked his cousin if he would be willing to drive his pickup back to where I had set up the blind, pick it up and give me a ride to the field where the birds have been hanging out.

He quickly agreed, and off we went. After picking up the blind, we drove a long way back to the far end of the picked corn field, and when we stopped the truck, we looked and saw a large flock of turkeys feeding. There were several toms strutting for a large group of hens.

X marks the spot. I set up the blind, and that’s where I will hunt on Wednesday. The nice thing was, the birds didn’t spook at the sight of the truck. I think they’re used to vehicles driving in the fields. They paid us no mind and went about their business while we set up the blind.

I went back yesterday morning to listen for gobbling. I did not, however, walk back to where the blind was, as I didn’t want to spook any birds.

I plan to be in the blind well before daylight on Wednesday. The weather looks good, which will make it comfortable inside the blind. I plan to be there as long as it takes, all day if necessary. Lots of hunters leave the woods later in the morning to take a break and/or eat lunch.

Not me. I stay in the woods. I have killed plenty of birds between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., including a bird I shot last year. Even if things are quiet,  toms can fire up at anytime. Sometimes, the hens leave to attend to their nests, or the toms just get tired of strutting for hens that aren’t ready to breed yet. So, they go l0oking for different hens.

I want to be the one that a lonely longbeard finds!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek