Want to get away from the crowds, and find unpressured spring gobblers? Hunt big country.
To look at the big picture, break your hunting property down into sections back at camp. Use all available map options, from old-school print sources to computer-generated custom options.
(1) First, determine how far you need to go on four wheels.
(2) Second, decide on a base point where you’ll leave the vehicle and begin hiking in.
(3) Third, isolate turkey habitat into even smaller parts. These include roosting trees, plus feeding and strutting zones where you find fresh sign such as droppings, tracks, feathers, and dusting areas.
Wild turkeys will often feed and breed in open areas near wooded stands, nest within edge cover, and roost nearby, sometimes over a creek or swamp.
Eastern wild turkeys prefer big hardwoods, often in agricultural zones. Osceolas haunt Florida cedar swamps on private ranches and bigger expanses. Merriam’s hens and gobblers establish preferred habitats in coniferous mountain ranges, or big cottonwood river bottoms. Rio Grande turkeys in our mesquite Texas flatlands utilize so-called oak motts, small stands of such trees near open areas and water sources.
Go deep to score big this turkey season.
(NWTF Media Photo)
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Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.