Find that Flock – Locating Fall Gobblers

Unlike hunting turkeys during the spring, when toms can be found by the sound of their gobbles, fall hunters must rely on less audible yelps, clucks and kee-kees, turkeys scratching in leaves or flapping their wings.

And unlike the spring turkey hunting season, when turkeys typically roost, strut and feed in the same area areas day in and day out, fall flocks range over a wider area in their search for food, sometimes not returning to the same tract for days.

The typical range for a fall flock is between 250 and 400 acres, depending on the habitat and availability of food. But if food is found easily along corridors that stretch for great distances, turkeys may range much farther, maybe even for miles.

What's a hunter to do?

On opening day, hit the hotspots before fly-down. Despite not having the advantage of gobbling birds, large flocks often make a ruckus when they descend from their roosts and gather on the ground. Listen for the sound of frantic wingbeats, loud yelps and cutts and the kee-keeing of young birds. Once gathered, flocks usually don’t call much, so the earlier you are, the better. But be prepared to cover some ground.

Ease through the woods and listen for the occasional call of a turkey or for the sound of scratching. Don’t worry much about the sound of your walking through the leaves, though; other birds might mistake you for a turkey, and that’s a good thing. Keep in mind, however, that other hunters could be around. So be cautious and never call while you are walking or stalking through heavy cover. When you’re able to call, call from a large tree for safety’s sake. And if that big ole bird should appear, you’ll be able to set up quickly.




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