Scouting for Spring Turkeys from a Distance
The most important preseason turkey scouting tip is to not get busted. Scouting for spring turkeys is a necessity; however, the biggest mistake hunters make is getting too close.
Scouting prior to any hunting season is critical for success, but scouting for spring turkey hunts poses its own challenges. You have to get it right. It does not take long for a gobbler to get wise to your presence on a property if you are not careful. The more you pressure a bird prior to the season the more likely he moves on to another property. The key is to scout from a distance with high-quality optics and remain stealthy so those gobblers remain unaware of your presence until opening morning.
Spring Gobbler Season Scouting Basics
Scouting for spring turkeys starts with developing a plan. Good scouting and ultimately a successful hunting plan begins well before the season. For example, you want to identify areas, secure hunting permission (if applicable), and begin to visualize the areas through digital maps. Piece together areas where turkeys are likely to feed and roost. Narrowing down these spots first before going afield will save you valuable time.
Preplanning preseason turkey scouting also saves you from inadvertently spooking birds in an area. By identifying locations before heading to the woods, you are able to determine the best ways in and out to minimize any disturbance. In addition, vantage points where you can maximize the use of your spotting scope can be marked. Often you are able you find areas where you can effectively scout from the comfort of your vehicle with your spotting scope or binoculars.
Glassing Is Your Best Tactic for Scouting for Spring Turkeys
Good optics go a long way for trying to figure out how to find turkeys. A high-quality set of binoculars provide a huge advantage with preseason turkey scouting. Combine binoculars with a spotting scope and scouting from a distance takes on a whole new approach.
Using a spotting scope is one of those turkey hunting tips and tricks that really makes a difference. There are two advantages to using a spotting scope for scouting for spring turkeys. The first is being able to scout at greater distances. Increasing distance from you to the birds makes it less likely a gobbler gets spooked from your presence. An exceptional spotting scope will provide all the clarity required to see all the turkey behavior patterns during a scouting trip far better than a set of binoculars. Second, scouting via glassing is more comfortable. Most often, you can use your binoculars or spotting scope from the comfort of your vehicle or from an advantageous perch.
As you build your plan for spring gobbler season, focus glassing on more than just birds. Spend time trying to figure out where do turkeys roost in areas you plan to hunt. Piece these locations together with natural ambush areas to set up on a gobbler during the season. Using advanced scouting strategies like these make it easier to position yourself at the right place and right time when turkey season starts.
Tools of the Trade
- Spotting Scope – Ideal for scouting for spring gobbler season from roads and ridge tops. Exceptional at great distances allowing you to document important turkey activity while staying hidden. A 20x-60x scope is more than enough power to observe gobblers at any range.
- Binoculars – Use when ground scouting areas that can’t be seen from a distance with a spotting scope. In addition, a good pair of binoculars is necessary when hunting season rolls around to glass birds at a distance and plan your attack. Choose at least an 8x42 to give you the sight distance but also the low light visibility required in early morning spring turkey hunts.
Tips for Scouting for Spring Turkeys from a Distance
As elusive as a big gobbler may seem in turkey season, they are actually one of the easier game species to scout. Turkeys are active during the day and spend most of their day in open, accessible areas. Both are key factors in being able to effectively scout turkeys from a distance. Tips like the three below will help you capitalize even further on scouting with your optics and be ready for spring turkey hunting season.
- Calling spring turkeys is a no-no when scouting – Calling generally when preseason turkey scouting is not needed. First off, if you are scouting with a spotting scope, you are too far for birds to even hear you. Second, early calling can often spook more mature gobblers if they end up getting to close. You are better off picking a high point, setting up your spotting scope, and keeping your calls in your turkey hunting backpack.
- Compress scouting into two weeks – Spending time scouting for spring turkeys more than a few weeks before opening day is worthless. As spring unfolds, which is typically around the start of turkey season in most parts of the country, turkeys will be transitioning to previously unavailable food sources and ramping up mating activities. Pinpointing birds, especially gobblers, two weeks or less before the season almost guarantees you will be able to find them in or near that location when the season starts.
- Scout as if you plan to hunt – It does no good to glass a field in the afternoon if you can only hunt in the morning. Likewise, scouting turkey roosts make little sense if you are only planning to hunt a property during midday hours. Bottom line, you want to scout as if you are hunting. Glass and identify birds in areas and during times you are likely to be hunting.
Scouting is not only important for turkey hunting new properties but it has to be a yearly investment in each spring turkey season. Effectively scouting for spring turkeys starts with your optics. High-quality optics such as spotting scopes and binoculars allow you to glass from a distance and remain undetected. Nothing is more important than finding gobblers before the season, however, the trick is not letting them see you until it is time to close the deal during the season.