Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to Find Turkeys by Calling, Tracking and Understanding Signs



Another fact-filled  Bullet Blog from www.freehuntfishmaps.com and www.ranchhuntandfish.com

Please note our other blogs with Hunting Maps, Fishing Maps and about decoying and calling turkeys and also places to hunt turkeys on public lands  private ranches and hunting clubs in California and Oregon.

Five Methods to Read Turkey Clues or Signs and How they Help You Hunting Turkeys

  Dragging Wings
  • You'll have to look closely but a strutting Tom interested in mating often drags his wingtips through the dust and mud. 
  • Look for the tracks first and if you find them you'll see the wing drag marks and this is a clear indication that  this Tom is in mating mode and might respond to calling
 Observing Tracks

  •  Measure from the back of of the rear toe to the tip of the longest front middle toe
  • Tracks around 4 inches are generally a hen and are more narrow than male Jake or Tom
  • A mature morningmale or Tom claw is 5 inches or longer
  • If you observe tracks  moving in a straight line with no dragging of the wings or indications of feeding is probably a traveling Tom
 What's the Poop? or Observing and Analyzing Droppings
  • Not surprisingly a hand droppings are often smaller
  • Male turkeys droppings are often in the shape of a large J
  • Hen's droppings are more circular like a dog pile or in clump
  • Depending on the diet  I hands droppings are often more whitish and colors

Interpreting Feathers

  • A male turkey breast feathers have an edge in black
  •  A hen's breast feathers are lighter in color a tannish or sometimes white
  • If only hen feathers are located and no tracks or other indications of a Tom  the hens are moving or there is a nest somewhere close 
  • A Tom is generally not interested in a TRULY (see "Eggs" ) nesting hen  so look elsewhere
  • Sometimes the  Tom returns to a particular area for strutting so  look for tracks lots of feathers
Dust Bathing is Cool, don't knock it until you try it
  • Just like pheasants and quail turkeys like to give themselves dust baths
  • It is theorized it helps them keep cool and  controls parasites
  • Look for indentations in the ground around trees,, stumps, and logs
  • They often return to these areas in the spring
 The Egg and the Nesting Areas and be thankful this is not like an "Alien" movie
  • The average size of the nest is 11 to 12 eggs
  • Turkeys breeding season generally runs from the middle of March to the middle of April unless  higher elevations or severe weather - in which case it will be be delayed
  • She lays an egg every 24 hours on average
  • She only starts to sit on the nest after the last egg is laid and before that moves around a lot
  • The problem is when she's moving back and forth,  a Tom my  hook up with her and be hard to call him away
  • You have to wait till she finally sits on a nest to get him to come

Scouting for Turkeys:

Since it is almost impossible to approach a WILD turkey on foot we recommend you do most of your hunting after scouting and selecting a spot to call them in.
As the mating season starts to conclude, lustful gobblers begin searching out any remaining non-nesting hens or those hens whose lost their eggs to a Coyote or Skunk (both shoot able year round by the way), omelet seekers or the weather. Or, maybe they are just ugly.
 
Anyway, during the last two weeks of the spring season, toms  might travel as many as 12 miles a day looking for a breed able hen. This is when calling a lone tom into a decoy becomes more effective. I know because I am a lone tom also and I have travelled many miles a lot of times. So keep calling in areas previously that were previously unproductive.
 
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