What screws many hunts is getting busted. I define getting busted as being seen by turkeys or heard by turkeys before you ever get close to them. What is really frustrating is a lot of times you get busted without knowing you have been busted!
How many times have you had that hot gobbler all of a sudden shut up? I have and have sat wondering what went wrong. As previously noted, turkeys have wide set eyes, telescopic sight, and a 270° field of vision BEFORE they even move their head.
If their eyesight was not the only problem a hunter has to deal with, add their very acute hearing to the equation. Turkeys can hear sounds up to a mile away in the right conditions. You are chasing a game animal that can hear or see you it seems before you even get in the county! You can drastically minimize the times you are busted by SCOUTING your properties before you hunt.
Before I hunt a property, I want to know the following:
Where can I use the terrain to move without being seen? For example, a Tom on the roost on a full moon night can see for over 300 yards. If there are no leaves on the trees(as is often in the early season), he can see even farther.
The best way to prevent being seen is to be able to use the land to hide your movements. Is their a ridge between me and the birds or sunken road I can sneak down?
Where can I move and not make noise? How do I avoid high noise areas like dry leaves?
Where are the Tom’s likely to roost in case I don’t get them put to bed the evening before or they have lockjaw the next morning? Knowing this keeps me moving too close to roosted birds about to fly down.
Scouting can also help you pin point funnels, strutting zones, and potential travel barriers like creeks, fences, etc….
Start you scouting on your computer with a program like Google Earth or some other map software. A lot of the areas you are looking for can be seen easily before you ever enter the woods. I also use my camera to help pattern the turkeys and their movement(I like inexpensive cameras!). Scouting in the late winter/early spring is also a great time to take walks in the woods and look for sheds.