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Time to scout spring gobblers

With the warm spring-like weather we have had this week, March is really going “out like a lamb.” Now is the time for spring gobbler hunters to not only be honing up their turkey calling skills but scouting as well.

This year’s spring gobbler season opens April 17 and runs through May 13. Spring gobbler hunters should already have their turkey calling skills down to some degree because there is not enough time to develop this calling skill, and electronic calls are unlawful. The real sport in this game is for hunters to be able to call the bird to come to them.

I have never been any kind of a spring gobbler enthusiasts or hunter. I have only been spring gobbler hunting twice, and both times I should have simply stayed in bed.

A good friend of mine, who I worked with when Elkins had two hospitals, was quite good at calling turkeys. He kept saying, “Ken, I’ll call one in for you, the bug will bite you, and you will end up wanting to go spring gobbler hunting every chance you get.”

Well, we went spring gobbler hunting on two different occasions out Files Creek and ended up not being at the right place at the right time. On our first outing, all we saw was two deer, a squirrel and another hunter. On the second outing, the only thing we saw was a chipmunk.

On both of these trips, I got up at least two hours before sunrise, and the two of us were in the woods at least 30 minutes before daybreak. As much as I like going hunting, spring gobbler hunting is just not “my cup of tea.”

With the warm weather we are having, this is an excellent time for spring gobbler hunters to be scouting. Most seasoned spring gobbler hunters are quick to say that, in order to have a successful spring gobbler season, scouting for the birds is very important. I will have to agree with this.

Preseason scouting during the early spring is a good way to get a mental inventory as to where the birds are located and developing a hunting strategy. As spring gets underway, it is always good to know where the turkeys are rousting.

To begin scouting for the gobblers, the hunters must understand what is going on with birds in the locations where they intend to hunt. At day break, gobblers usually begin by sounding off at first light and in the evening. This is their way of showing off for the hens.

Next, the spring turkey hunters need to check out food sources. Spring food plots breaking through are a good way to locate large groups of turkeys. At this time of the year, turkeys will eat ramps. Several years ago, a good friend of mine got a gobbler; and when he and his wife tried to eat the bird, all of the meat tasted like ramps. The young couple ended up throwing most of the meat away.

Having the ability to anticipate weather changes before they occur and then plan accordingly is a skill that often makes the difference between a spring gobbler hunter and a good spring gobbler hunter.

In most cases, this comes with participation in this sport. With a little foresight and careful thinking the spring gobbler hunter can master the challenge that is often associated with this activity.

In the next few weeks, the hens will also be seeking out new areas to be nesting, and the gobblers will begin following the hens. Here is something spring gobbler hunters need to keep tabs on.

I seriously doubt that I will be spring gobbler hunting, but I would like to wish all of my readers who do participate the best of luck and have a good safe hunt. The spring hunting season is now considered to be the most dangerous of all of the various hunting seasons in West Virginia.

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