Locating fall turkeys
Although calling is critical, locating fall turkeys to hunt is often the most difficult challenge to face fall turkey hunters. Find where they are
at and you are 70% of the way to a thanksgiving dinner. The needs of yearling birds are more critical than adult birds and locating fall turkeys is the most important part of the hunt.
Locating fall turkeys in mature woods
Mature hardwoods or pines are a preferred fall environment. Here the flock finds acorns, soft mast like rasberries and blackberries and plums as well as their preferred roosting sites. Acorns are a key play now and the birds number one food source. Scout a good source of white or red oaks dropping acorns and look for the scratched up ground that lets you know the birds are around. Find the acorns and find the birds.
Water can be key in locating fall turkeys
Dry years can make turkeys key on water. In some parts of the country it is not a concern, but if the deer are coming to a watering hole consistently the turkeys will be close behind. If there is a lot of water skip this step, but locating fall turkeys near water can let you study tracks to see if it is a group of hens or toms.
Fields or pasture is a bonus. Seek it out as the third adjacent terrain feature. Open areas are a source of abundant insect life in the late summer and early fall. This is a protein rich food source for the young poults. Adult hens seem to realize its importance as they direct their flocks daily through open areas. These open areas are often the creek bottoms that show up as flat ground adjacent to creeks on topo maps. On aerial photos, pastures are the expansive, lighter colored areas.
Extensive scouting for the above habitat combination pays off. Look for droppings, feathers and scratchings. Once a flock is located in such an area, the odds are good that a flock will be present each fall in the future. Locating fall turkeys is many times a one time ordeal as the birds tend to frequent the same haunts year after year.