Another method that I guess qualifies, as scouting is to go fishing on Old Hickory and listen for them to gobble while you work a prime springtime bank. Judge Durham and I have killed a bird or two that way. Of course, unless you can walk on water, it does help to have a boat. Just be sure you are not on private property. Many birds on that river. It is a lot more fun when you can combine a turkey hunt and a fishing trip. I have had a beautiful morning or two doing that. If you dont succeed at one, you might at the other.
Big Bird Campbell looks for droppings but that does not hold much appeal for me. One thing that will tell you is if there are turkeys currently around. I guess you might also look for dusting places like old roads through the woods. Gobblers like those places and you can usually find their dusting spots provided it has not rained so much there is no dust.
There is a pleasant type of scouting. I am not opposed to a walk in the woods just at daylight, stopping often to listen for gobbling on some ridge. Even if you dont hear one, it is a good way to spend some time. I love the smell of the spring woods.
The season opens for the young sportsmen, ages 10-16, March 24-25. For the rest of us it opens March 31 and runs through May 13. During that period, you will hear the hunters talking about the gobblers being all henned up, just not gobbling, or not gobbling once they fly down and all sorts of things like that. I dont really know what all that means. I know you are allowed one bearded bird per day not to exceed four per season and if you are shooting a shotgun, you must have number four shot or smaller. But I dont get all excited about turkey hunting. Truth is I spend most of my time chasing smallmouth.
The two places I deer hunt around here are covered up with turkeys. I expect I might ease out and try to kill one but I really dont know why. I do not like turkey in terms of eating, either wild or tame. So I would have to give the meat away. I can do that. I do get some enjoyment out of calling one in but not so much I would pass up a fishing trip or go when it is raining. That brings up another thought.
Every time it rains, especially a soft, gentle rain, my yard is full of turkeys. I guess they come to eat the worms that come out. I have seen as many as 100 in my yard at the same time. I cannot shoot those because a woman that lives behind me feeds the darn things and that might technically be hunting over bait. Ill have to check that out.
Anyhow, no matter how you scout, now is the time to be doing it. In a little over three weeks, you can go try and kill one. If it is a nice morning, I just may, too.
By JOHN L. SLOAN / email@example.com