LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – The dividing line between a hopeful turkey hunter and a successful turkey hunter may be scouting.
March is a time for this, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission personnel with turkey hunting experience. Things are shaping up for the breeding season for the birds, and a hunter can pick up small bits of knowledge just by being out where the turkeys are and paying attention.
A logical game plan is to gear up just as you would on opening morning of turkey season except for the shotgun.
Go out where you plan to hunt. Pick a spot if you don't have one that you used in past hunts. Pick more than one spot in case you have to come up with a quick Plan B on opening day – like another hunter being in the place you had selected.
Get out on this scouting trip before daylight as you will on the real hunt. Settle down, listen and look. But look down before you sit. If you have ever stumbled on to a fire ant mound or worse, sat on one, you will understand the caution here.
A bit of Arkansas outdoors enjoyment is listening to the woods wake up around you.
Turkeys may be your objective, but all sorts of other birds and animals begin to stir when daylight arrives.
This scouting can help you with directions, too. You may need to shift to the right or left at the base of the tree you have selected. Watch the angle of the rising sun. If it is in your face, it's not good for trying to shoot a turkey. Look for possible obstacles or blind spots in the site you have selected.
Hearing or seeing one or more turkeys, even if they are non-huntable hens, will be encouraging on the scouting outing. Where there are hen turkeys, chances are a gobbler or two will be in the area come opening day.
Try to pick out how the turkeys are moving in their morning feed. There is no guarantee, but turkeys and most other wildlife are creatures of habit.
Time spent in the turkey woods can be beneficial. It's a step toward a possible score in April when the season arrives. Also, a few hours in the woods are just a means to a general good feeling.