With turkey season just a couple of weeks away, many hunters don’t know what to do with themselves. Those who spend some time scouting now can up their chances of bagging an early season bird, but many don’t really know what to look for before the season starts.
Daryl Hodge of Team Wrecking Crew has been scouting and is excited about the earlier start to the Palmetto State’s season. He’s been focusing on finding the birds gobbling on the roost in the early mornings and in the evenings. He said he’s got several groups of birds located, but knowing where they are roosting is just part of the equation.
“It’s always good to know where they are roosting, but we’ve also been spending a lot of time checking the logging roads, especially after rainfall. You can find out a lot on these roads, like seeing what direction the birds are moving, and where they are strutting,” said Hodge.
When asked about his thoughts on the earlier start to the season, Hodge said he is happy the start date was finally moved up.
“I’ve been wanting this for many years. It seems like the spring time temperatures are coming earlier and earlier for the past 15 years or so. That warm weather jumpstarts the gobbling and mating behavior, so we’ve been missing some of that in recent years, when the start of the season was taking place after a lot of the activity had already happened,” he said.
“They are gobbling already. They aren’t exactly tearing it up, but they are starting to gobble in the mornings and in the evenings on the roost,” said Hodge, who said scouting right now helps in more ways than just finding the turkeys.
“When scouting this year, I’ve found arrowheads, deer rubs, and bedding areas for deer. When I find a really good rub, I start planning for deer season right away. I know I’ve found a good deer, and I know I want to stay as much out of his way as I can right now. I will avoid those areas as much as possible while turkey hunting so that I don’t change that deer’s pattern,” he said.
Hodge said hunters should also keep a sharp eye out for antler sheds while scouting for turkeys.
“Some of the smaller deer have already dropped their antlers, and the rest of the bucks will be dropping theirs soon,” he said.