Fencerows: Curse or Cure?

Fences are common throughout turkey country, and they can halt a hunt quickly, but you can also use them to your advantage.

Most hunters have tangled with fences at one time or another with negative results. Seeing a bird hung up at a fence line is part of life. These three fences often give us the most trouble:

  1. Modern five-wire- It’s built to serve as a barrier for livestock, but turkeys are often reluctant to fly over it.
  2. Split-rail fences- Depending on how they’re built they can allow birds to pass through or might, again, present a barrier.
  3. Vegetated fencerows- Are a series of trees, bushes or scrub between fields.

Each type of fencerow can impede a hunt, but if you use them correctly, they make be a cure, not a curse.

Most vegetated fencerows have crossings. These can play into your favor if you approach them correctly. When you confirm a crossing via tracks or sightings, scout the area to find the best spot to hunt. Avoid setting up in the open or in the sun. If the fence butts up to woods and the crossing is in range, that’s the place to go, especially if there is shade nearby. Add some cover for extra security.

Pros to Fencerows:

When fields narrow and fencerows are impenetrable to birds, that works as a turkey funnel. Fencerows can also provide cover to hunt otherwise open fields and provide alternative cover next to a woodlot.

Here’s how to turn these potential barriers into a positive experience for future hunts:

  • Conduct on-the-ground scouting in the area to see how birds are moving
  • Determine what cover is available and how you can use it to your advantage
  • Check for breaks in fencerows that serve as natural crossings
  • Make sure your area allows for good shooting lanes
  • If desired, set up your blind before the season so birds become accustomed to it. Cut brush and place it in front of the blind to break up the outline.
  • Try hunting fencerows later in the day, where allowed

Try using Google Maps or Google Earth to see if there are other restrictions to bird movements and how those might affect the hunt.

Take advantage of fencerows on your next outing. They may just be the cure you're looking for. 

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