Scout Before the Season for Turkeys on Rainy Days with Bob Walker
Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, has been a part of the Mossy Oak Pro Team for 25 years and hunts turkeys every day of the season as a guide at Bent Creek Lodge (205-398-3040) in Jachin, Ala. “In the early season I like to wear Mossy Oak Bottomland,” Walker explains. “Because my area isn’t in full foliage then, that pattern seems to fit best until our region gets more green-up. As the leaves come out on the trees and bushes, I prefer Mossy Oak Obsession.” Most turkey hunters want to hit the woods on opening day of turkey season. However, in many states, turkey season opens before turkey breeding season starts. So, Mossy Oak has asked Walker to give us tips for taking early gobblers.
Scouting is the number-one secret for taking early-season gobblers. However, I don’t walk through turkey woods the week before the season. I like to stay on the outside of the areas I plan to hunt during the season. I want to go to the places I’m going to hunt the week before the season starts to listen and try to locate the gobblers. Wherever you ride to get to where you want to listen, don’t be in a hurry to get there. If you’re in a pickup truck, lower the tailgate quietly, sit on the tailgate, and just listen. You can use a crow call or an owl hooter to try and make turkeys gobble, but most times I don’t do that. I prefer to let turkeys gobble on their own. Once you’ve heard the turkeys gobble, stay a little longer and listen carefully to try to determine in what direction that turkey goes after he flies down from the roost. If you get that information on three different gobblers before the season arrives, you’ll be in really good shape for an early morning hunt.
I also attempt to pinpoint turkeys in different types of terrain. Besides finding a gobbler in the woods, I want to locate a gobbler that’s roosting close to a pasture, an agricultural field, a clear-cut or some other type of opening. That way I know where to hunt, if our property has rain or other kinds of bad weather. One big mistake many turkey hunters make before the season is that if they wake up on the day they plan to scout, and rain’s falling, a fog has set in, the skies are overcast, or the day is very windy, they’ll roll over and go back to sleep. But I’ve learned on those bad rainy days is when I need to be scouting. Since more than likely I’ll have to hunt on bad, rainy days, I need to know where the turkeys are when the rain’s coming down. Opening day of turkey season may include a sky full of clouds and rain falling. More than likely I’ll have to take a hunter and try and find him a turkey on that kind of day.
For more information about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ Kindle and print book, “Mossy Oak Pros Talk Turkey Tactics,” at http://amzn.to/1qZnffi and www.barnesandnoble.com. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone. For a free copy of John E. Phillips’ “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books/ to download.