Start Early For A Successful Spring Turkey HuntBy Gilbert Arndt - December 1, 2001
The first tip I usually give clients is, don't put in for the first time period as first preference, unless it is the only time you can hunt! The reason for this being that everyone wants that first season, and in units with lower permit numbers you are running the risk of either getting a much later season, or not getting a permit at all! In my opinion all time periods are good times to harvest a bird, but the later time periods, the 5th and 6th, provide better weather, possibly a chance at 2 permits, and at this time most hens are setting the nests. What this means is lonely Toms, who are suddenly without companionship, are more vulnerable to those hen calls.
Another little trick to up your odds for a permit, is to put in for all time periods, and for more than one unit. Of course this is only an option if you have the time open to hunt, and the areas to hunt in . This leads us into another item in preparing for a spring turkey hunt. More and more land owners are charging fees for access, this coupled with the fact that success hinges on intense scouting before, and during the season, makes hiring a guide, a better idea every season! Most guides have fees ranging from $100 to $200 per day, and give discounts if you book for the whole 5 days. Some landowners charge this much for access alone, and if you do not live in the area you hunt, you must take into account money and time spent scouting! A guide generally lives in the area he hunts, and monitors daily the movements of the birds.
The last two areas I would like to get into are scouting and equipment. Scouting is a year round undertaking, but turkeys, unlike deer, change their locations with the seasons, and food sources. If you hunt deer on your Turkey hunting lands, take note of sightings, particularly groups of Toms. The turkeys will probably be roosting, and feeding in different areas in spring, but this at least can give you some insight into the amount of turkeys in your area. In spring turkeys will generally change their habits, if not location, once, sometimes more, during the season, as the food sources change with the "greening up" of spring, and as mating season progresses. So as you can see scouting for success is of utmost importance in Spring Turkey Hunting!!!
Finally with Christmas on the way, now is a good time to assess your Spring Turkey Hunting equipment. Loved ones are looking for gift ideas, and the more Turkey Hunting Stuff you get for Christmas, the more money left to buy equipment in Spring!!! Check the condition of your foam decoys, continuous folding of decoys wears them out, if you replace them now, thats less expense in spring. Hunting clothes, vests, calls, and if you have been really good, that new Turkey gun, can be on your list to Santa!
So don't forget to get in your applications by Dec.10th, book your guides, do your scouting, get equipment ready, and I will have a more in-depth article in Spring on Turkey Hunting for you. Merry Christmas, and Good Luck in the Great Outdoors!!!