Early Spring Gobblers | Turkey Hunting Scouting and Strategy There is no doubt that spring has officially sprung across a large portion of the Midwest, and with the warming temperatures comes gobbling turkeys. With turkey season already in full swing in many of the southern states, the time to begin scouting and developing your spring turkey hunting strategy is now! With the way that Mother-Nature is behaving right now, there is a very good chance that spring will continue to push on with full force right into opening day of turkey season. An early spring warm up brings with it its own set of challenges as well as its own set of advantages for those who know how to adapt to the situation. This article will examine some tips and techniques to overcoming the challenges that an early spring can bring, and will hopefully help you not only see more turkeys, but allow you to let the Berretta or Hoyt Bow, and G5 Havoc Broadhead bark on a couple as well. With any luck, these tips will have your wrapping your tag around a longbeards leg come season. Understanding what lies ahead Having the ability to anticipate potential challenges before they occur and being able to plan accordingly, is a skill that helps make the difference between a good turkey hunter and an excellent turkey hunter. Usually this is skill set that is honed over years spent in the field, experiencing both success and defeat. Having the ability to have “been there, done that” can really make a difference when it comes to hunting turkeys in an unorthodox situation such conditions that an early spring warm may throw at you. All that being said, with a little foresight and thought you can be ready to hit these challenges head on, and increase your odds of success. It all starts with having a solid understanding of the situation at hand! So let’s examine a couple of the top pros and cons that turkey hunters can face during an early spring warm up. If you are person that enjoys turkey hunting in the wide open expanse of woodland that lacks foliage and vegetation, then you might be a little disappointed this year. If this warm trend continues there is a good chance that the trees will be close to fully bloomed along with a lot of the understory vegetation in a good portion of the Midwest and other parts of the country. While a pro to this situation is that there shouldn’t be a lack of cover to help keep you concealed, the con is that it can be very difficult to not only see that longbeard even when he is gun range, but judging the distance between you and that gobbling turkey can be exceptionally difficult. This situation has led to many a turkey hunter bumping that gobbler off the roost or sneaking in a little too close. It is important during these conditions to take your time and do your homework. Not relying on your ears, but rather your understanding of the surroundings and the information you gathered while scouting will make all the difference. An early spring warm up can have some turkey hunters concerned about the interest a gobbler may having in responding to a call. When things such as pastures and wheat fields begin to green up, turkeys will inevitability find their way to these areas, typically making them more visible. While witnessing strutting and even gobbling turkeys a month before season begins and can some turkey hunters concerned that it will all be over before it begins, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, it may be advantageous! Gobblers will strut and gobble throughout the year, with the peak activity occurring in April and May. Gobblers will still actively seek hens to breed throughout the month of May, so turkey hunters need not panic! As a matter of fact, turkey hunting during this type of scenario can be excellent as response to calling can be exceptional, as most of the hens may be on the nest and gobblers will be looking for that hen that has yet to breed and begin nesting. Despite all of these possibilities in terms of pros and cons, the one thing that can help you on your way to success is to begin your scouting process now. What’s going on with the birds? To begin scouting now, you must first understanding what is going on with the birds in your area. If you live in the Midwest, chances are good that this warm weather has the longbeards feeling very spry and eager to get things going. Gobblers are beginning to sound off at first light and in the evening and are no doubt showing off for the ladies. This behavior can not only get a turkey hunter fired up, but it can also be a little concerning with season still weeks away. Have no fear; all is not as it appears. While gobblers are beginning to look and act the part, at this point hens are still grouped up and focused on other things besides mating. There are still very large winter groups of hens present, which means that things haven’t really started to roll just yet. In addition, gobblers in many parts of the Midwest are just now beginning to break up into pairs and even singles; however, larger groups of gobblers can still be seen. So what does this mean? What this means is that while the temperatures are above average and may have the grass greening up a little ahead of schedule, the turkeys are more than likely right on schedule, to slightly ahead which is good news for turkey hunters. With the current conditions being what they are now is an excellent time to get out and spend some time in the field scouting. Where to scout Scouting during an early spring warm up can be a little bit easier than during a typical spring for a couple of reasons. First, with food sources like wheat fields and spring food plots breaking dormancy, locating large groups of turkeys can be a little easier. In addition, as has been mentioned with the gobblers beginning to display it makes it easier to identify hens from jakes and longbeards at a distance. Right now is an excellent time to get out and take inventory of the birds in your area, as chances are they will still all be together, both gobbler groups and hens. Over the next few weeks hens will begin seeking out new areas as well as the gobblers will begin disburse following the hens. This will be something you will want to keep tabs on moving forward. When to scout As the spring gets underway, it is important to understand where the turkeys are roosting and where they are spending the majority of their time, as well as the routes they take to get to point A to point B. Regardless of what happens in terms of turkey dispersal on your property, these areas will most likely still be utilized by turkeys throughout the spring. During the early spring months, it can be very advantageous take a few mornings here and there to go listen for gobblers on the limb. This will give you a general idea of where they are roosting as well as provide you with a little background information should they change their roosting location as season draws closer. As you begin to find yourself a week out from opening day, it is important to ramp up your efforts in terms of listening for turkeys on the roost, and hit the field as much as you can. In addition to listening for birds on the roost, locating birds during the 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. period can be incredibly important. While it’s still early in the season, this information can help you understand a turkey’s movement and provide you with some information that you can use later in the day, should he give you the slip off the roost. It will also be important to keep track of where these birds spend the majority of their day as if can help you determine when the hens have begun to nest, should you happen to notice a change in their behavior. Turkey hunting is an incredibly addicting and exciting sport that many hunters around the country cherish. It goes without saying that no year is every the same, however, on a year like this one is shaping up to be that statement could possibly hold a new meaning. Preparation is critical, regardless if you are chasing a 160” whitetail buck or trying to get a group of mallards land in the hardcore decoys. Turkey hunting is no different. This spring may hold a wide range of challenges to dense foliage to hen’d up turkeys however the current warming trend can also provide you an excellent opportunity to get out, locate, and pattern the turkeys that you have your eyes set on, and provide you a chance to get a plethora of information prior to opening day and help you plan accordingly! Do not wait until the last minute to get out and develop your turkey hunting strategy, the time is now!