Will Turkeys Remain in Area for Season Opener? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Will Turkeys Remain in Area for Season Opener?

I was out walking yesterday and I saw a few sets of turkey tracks in the same area near an intersection of two game land roads. There's a little pond there and what looks like a good strut area. Will those turkey be in the same area when this season begins?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 09:01 AM
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If there is still food in the area. I've found they go where the food is, until it's gone. Then move on to find the next stop for food.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 09:22 AM
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I agree with Pa-Guy. as long as there is food and they don't get scared out by humans or predators they should stay in the area.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 09:51 AM
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Not necessarily,Food is a factor but nesting habitat is more important.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:06 AM
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I have found that turkeys generally roost in the same areas year after year. Food and predation is always a big factor.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:08 AM
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Turkeys and flocks of turkeys are capable of covering lots of ground over the period of a day as they seem to be walking most of the day looking, scratching for food, occasionally dusting and chasing each other. Since is often difficult to tell the time of the days tracks are left, we can't know how far away they are roosting, feeding or strutting.

However, I have found that gobblers and hens will often come back to the same place to roost in the spring for many years if there are not changes made to the environment. For many years I scouted spring gobblers for at least a month and a fews days a week. In later years I scouted a lot less staying out of the woods/fields and going to high points to listen and still took my share of gobblers. Over those years I discovered there are prime areas that gobblers seem to group.

So now I do very little scouting and go back to the prior productive places early on and listen to pinpoint the first gobble and sometimes taking advantage of the darkness to set out decoys and on occasion a blind. When I hear them I know how to approach because I have done it for a few years now.

For example in PA there is location I have taken 8 mature gobblers in the last 9 years and a location in OH I have taken 5 gobblers in the last 7 years. I found this to be true when hunting in MO for over seven years. Those opportunities in those areas might have been higher if I hadn't hunted other places those springs.

This approach might not work for everyone and perhaps some like the adventure to hunt new areas which I share, but repeat of prime areas have been most productive for me with the least amount of effort.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:10 AM
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Nice to see some sign and it would be a good place to check when the season comes. But...the important thing is where you hear them the evening before or the morning of. They could be on 1 ridge one day and several ridges away another.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born2Hunt View Post
Turkeys and flocks of turkeys are capable of covering lots of ground over the period of a day as they seem to be walking most of the day looking, scratching for food, occasionally dusting and chasing each other. Since is often difficult to tell the time of the days tracks are left, we can't know how far away they are roosting, feeding or strutting.

However, I have found that gobblers and hens will often come back to the same place to roost in the spring for many years if there are not changes made to the environment. For many years I scouted spring gobblers for at least a month and a fews days a week. In later years I scouted a lot less staying out of the woods/fields and going to high points to listen and still took my share of gobblers. Over those years I discovered there are prime areas that gobblers seem to group.

So now I do very little scouting and go back to the prior productive places early on and listen to pinpoint the first gobble and sometimes taking advantage of the darkness to set out decoys and on occasion a blind. When I hear them I know how to approach because I have done it for a few years now.

For example in PA there is location I have taken 8 mature gobblers in the last 9 years and a location in OH I have taken 5 gobblers in the last 7 years. I found this to be true when hunting in MO for over seven years. Those opportunities in those areas might have been higher if I hadn't hunted other places those springs.

This approach might not work for everyone and perhaps some like the adventure to hunt new areas which I share, but repeat of prime areas have been most productive for me with the least amount of effort.
They come back to those places because they have nesting habitat.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 04:07 PM
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I learned a fair amount about turkey movements from trapping and banding them then seeing where they were harvested.

What I learned was that basically three things influence turkey movement and where they will set up for long periods of time. I also learned that they can and often will move extremely long distances in very short periods of time even though they might spend months in a small area if conditions are right for their current needs.

What I learned was that hens have very specific nesting needs so they will go to where they want to nest when spring breaks and they are getting close to nesting season. Gobblers of course are going to where the hens are because they are a very basic part of that nesting cycle. Even with that they might move around a lot from one hen area to another though over the season.

The hens are influenced on nesting areas by the habitat that will prove both nesting security as well as an abundance of insects, which are critical for good poult survival. The hens will stay in those areas all summer but the gobblers are likely to move to other areas during the summer once the breeding season is ended.

The next big move came once the insects where gone in the fall and mast crops started hitting the ground. We saw hens take their poults and move nearly twenty miles in just a few weeks to get to a good acorn crop once the frosts of fall reduced the insect availability.

Then when winter snows set in turkeys from long distances would congregate into the best wintering areas where food was available. We would see over a hundred turkeys show up in some of the best areas during some of the harshest winters. Then come spring they would move many miles to get back to the nesting areas. We had one Jake that was harvested in May almost twenty miles from where we had caught and banded him in February. We had a long beard that was harvested about eight miles from where we had caught him just a little over a month earlier.

The longest was a hen that was harvested 35.5 miles from where we had caught and banded her about six year earlier.

I don't even both scouting any more until a week or two before the season because they very well might not be back to the breeding areas until then.

I suspect that varies a lot from big woods to small woodlot habitats though.

Dick Bodenhorn
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 07:40 PM
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Don't bank on them being there. Turkeys are still very much in their winter patterns. Long beards are flocked up separately, and alone, from the hens and younger birds. It's definitely a good indicator that turkeys at least frequent the area. But you are much better off waiting until the end of March and beginning of April, and scouting and listening on the roost from there.
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