Opening day of turkey season only comes once a year for most of us. The few weeks prior are filled with anticipation and visions of success in the field. Take advantage of the enthusiasm and start setting the alarm early. It’s time to get up and listen!
When the season rolls around its good to know where to be. Most of my success on the first day has come from scouting. To get the upper hand, you have to spend several mornings listening.
One hunt in Missouri comes to mind. I had spent several mornings listening to a single tom on a small farm. The road where I parked was about four hundred yards from the roost. From that spot I could hear him gobble on the roost and after fly down. Judging by the sound, the tom was heading North nearly every day.
I spent the evening before opening day trying to roost the longbeard, but to no avail. I decided to try the area anyway and use the information gained from listening to find a set up. Opening morning was calm and cool. The lone tom sounded off from his usual roost to the South of me. One series of soft hen yelps was all it took. Thirty minutes later the tom strutted into view within easy range of the Remington. Knowing that tom’s pattern by listening to him during the previous week paid off.
You can hear gobblers from long distances early in the season. The lack of vegetation allows sound to travel further. Simply pulling up to a high spot on a gravel road may be the ticket. Jump out of the truck and spend a few minutes listening on the way to work. Every little bit of information gained can prove useful.
Start out by hitting several locations early. Take an inventory of toms on each property. Finding toms on several spots will allow you to bounce around and keep pressure off the birds.
Listening from a distance is the best way to scout new properties. Early in the year, toms are more likely to roost in the same spot. Hens have yet to break up and go to nest, so toms don’t have to travel far to find them. This is a great time to find available birds to hunt and pinpoint roost areas.
The week leading up to opening day is crucial. Try to spend several mornings listening and learn where that gobbler likes to roost. Then follow him after he pitches down. Gobbling will taper off at this time so keep track of the direction he is heading. If a tom starts gobbling in one spot, that could mean he’s reached a potential strut zone.
Use aerial maps or journals to organize information. Plot points where birds like to head after they get down from specific roost areas. You could be in business if a pattern starts to emerge.
Note: I like using a cell phone app called Cabela’s Recon Hunt. It enables you to map locations using GPS and mark possible setups or turkey travel patterns from your phone. Click here to learn more.
This year get up, go out, and spend some extra time listening to gobblers. Do your homework and on opening day, you might have enough knowledge to pass Tom’s test.
Listen Up! was last modified: January 27th, 2017 by Bill Winke