A lot of those hen turkeys will wonder off looking for new food sources while others go in search for nesting areas. Many will want to establish new areas for their family groups and find spring and summer feeding grounds. But many of the older birds who have used this area for years will not leave. Those are the ones that you will have established a pattern for.
With gobblers it’s more of a hit and miss situation although all turkeys have a home range and areas they like roost in. Sure the lesser gobblers and Jakes might be pushed out and have to find their own new territories. Natural expansion is one of the reason we have so many turkey in Wisconsin and all the states they call home. It’s a natural process. Once they find a good area they too will wander less and become much more predictable.
Finding those areas this time of year will make your spring scouting much more profitable. Sure we all know that turkey are nomadic and some will wander a long ways and maybe walk right out of an area for various reasons. But others will stay in the areas you are finding them now! The more in that wintering area the better that spot is for the rest of the year.
If wild turkeys have food, water, cover and a roosting area they will be there year round. All you have to do is head out and find those winter locations and establish patterns. If you do will be way ahead of the competition come spring. Then if spring patterns s change you’ll still be ahead of those looking for birds who haven’t’ started scouting yet with the hunting season is just weeks away. Plus you can be the first to get permission to hunt on these spots too.
So do your homework now. If you do then you’ll be the guy with the biggest smile on their face holding that giant bird on the Bragging Board!!!
Jim Bennett is an outdoor writer and former guide. He has been hunting wild turkey in Wisconsin since the birds were first reestablished in the Badger State in 1976. Bennett has won numerous writing awards and was recently awarded the “First Award” for his outdoor columns by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association for 2005.