Most hunting-club members, lease holders and landowners believe that to attract turkeys to their properties during the spring, they need to plant chufa and some type of small grain, or they must cut last year’s standing corn. But leading wildlife consultant and researcher Dr. Grant Woods of Reeds Spring, Missouri, says these methods won’t attract numbers of turkeys to your land. Woods recommends the following management practices to property owners who want to make their lands more conducive to wildlife, particularly turkeys. “To survive, turkey poults require bare dirt and umbrella cover,” Woods advises. “This habitat not only provides shelter and food for the poults, it prevents aerial predators like hawks and owls and ground predators like foxes and coyotes from spotting the poults. Under the umbrella cover, turkey poults can find spiders, ants and small insects that they can feed on during that first week or so after they hatch.” Ragweed provides the best natural umbrella cover for turkey poults. Allow ragweed and other types of umbrella plants to grow in a strip all the way around a pine plantation or an agricultural field to keep turkey poults hidden. “A fescue-type pasture makes for a horrible poult habitat,” Woods reports. “Poults will experience great difficulty moving through the thick fescue. Once they get in that pasture, they’ll be slow and susceptible to predators.”
Light Em’ Up:
Most hunters want to have turkeys on their property in the spring. To achieve this goal, Woods suggests you, “Burn a portion of your property during late winter. But never burn any property without permission of the landowner or without the advice of a forester or a wildlife manager. If you burn a section of your land in late winter or just before turkey season, fresh, green grass will sprout up in the burned area during the early spring and attract turkeys like a magnet.” When asked how quick a hunter could hunt a burn, Dr. Woods replies, “I’ll hunt a burned area just as soon as I can sit on the ground without scorching my butt.” Woods says he’s seen turkeys scratching in the ashes right after a burn soon after the flames have died, because, “A burn exposes a lot of insects that have hidden under the litter on the forest floor.”
Give Gobblers a Place to Show Off:
Why have muscles if you can’t show them off to attract the girls? You never see a male body builder walking down the beach wearing an overcoat. When you’ve got a buff bod, you want to flaunt it. Gobblers have the same mentality as men. To attract hens, they have to show off. “A gobbler wants to strut in an area where he shows up in the daytime like a neon sign does at night,” Woods mentions. “So, provide show-off spots for toms by creating strutting zones in low places rather than in high spots. If a turkey struts on a hill, only the hens on the hill will see him. However, if a turkey struts in the bottom between two hills, the hens from the top to the bottom of each hill can see that gobbler.”
Don’t Blow Them Out:
You can push turkeys out of an area with too-much hunting pressure. “The amount of hunting pressure in a region determines the number of turkeys you’ll have on your land during turkey season,” Woods says. “If you want turkeys to stay on your property, make them feel welcome. Don’t shoot, holler, and call every time you step out of the truck. Some hunting clubs put so much pressure on their turkeys that the turkeys won’t set foot on the club property after the first day or two of turkey season.”
To have and keep turkeys on your property, set up refuge sites on that land where turkeys will experience little or no hunting pressure. If turkeys can’t find sanctuary on your property during turkey season, they’ll leave that area. Woods recommends you implement one of the following refuge systems on your land. Hunt turkeys in the same section of your lease no more than 3 days a week. Set up 200 acres on the property where no one ever can hunt turkeys, regardless of how much gobbling they hear there. Don’t hunt turkeys on the weekends when everyone else hunts them. If you’ll use this system, your neighbors will drive their turkeys onto your property on weekends, and then you’ll have more turkeys to hunt during the week.
You’ll learn many ideas for hunting turkeys in the Kindle eBook, “Turkey Hunting Tactics” by John E. Phillips. “Click here to to get these books”
About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.