-By Rich Miller
It has already started! Every year about this time it starts happening, but this year it is happening earlier than I can ever remember. Some experts say that it is the increasing amount of light in a day and others say that it is the warm weather that gets them started. I don’t know which of these is correct or if both of them are, but I really don’t care as long as these long-bearded, gobbling monarchs do their thing every spring.
When I checked one of my cameras yesterday I had pictures from last weekend of turkeys strutting. It was the first time this year that I have seen them strut. It happened when the temperature got into the upper sixties. It went on for about a week until the temperature dropped again. This is getting my anticipation of turkey season started and it is going to be that way until the season opens on April 1st.
We have turkeys on our property almost year-round but this time of year it seems like there are more turkeys than normal that show up. Although we have food plots in place throughout the entire year, when these turkeys show up we start pouring feed for them. If they can’t find the things they need on our place they will move until they find it somewhere else. They have to be here during the hunting season for us to have a chance to kill them.
To get the feed on the ground, we start bush hogging any standing corn or sunflowers leftover from this past fall. In the areas that that I am not fortunate enough to have these leftovers, I mix sunflowers with corn in my programmable game feeders. With the price of feed going up everyday it pays to use these feeders so that you can regulate the amount of feed you are putting out instead of just pouring it out on the ground. I promise you that a flock of turkeys will eat your feed as fast as you can pour it out. Another trick I use is that if I have an area that I am planning on planting a summer food plot in, I will go ahead and plow it up. Turkeys love scratching in these plowed areas and they will use it at all times during the day. The hens will be wherever the food is, and if the hens are there you know the gobblers will not be far away.