A pattern and plan for early-season wild turkey hunting

I was hoping the weather would break, and the gobblers would be going nuts as turkey hunting seasons open around the region. I’ve stared at the long-term forecast enough to know that just isn’t all that likely. It seems that the first season or two here in Minnesota will be rough. Because of that, I’ve put in more time scouting turkeys and setting blinds than I have in the past.

The writer plans to focus his efforts for the first week or two of the Minnesota season on where the birds have spent their winter, reckoning they’ll still be interested in calories because of the predicted chilly weather.

Normally I put out a blind or two for myself and some buddies, and then run on instinct to set up in spots where the birds are active at the moment. This year, it looks like they will be stuck in more of a winter routine than anything.

This doesn’t mean that they won’t be callable, or doing their thing, because they will. But with the cold weather and limited springtime food, calories probably will be a driving force in how the hens spend their days, and that means the longbeards will be on those food sources, too.

There will be some lone cruisers, I’m sure, but I’ve hunted enough colder-than-average Aprils to know that the suicidal cross-country birds we all love won’t be out in abundance the way they would if it was 60 degrees and sunny.

That means I’m watching the picked beans and corn to draw in some birds. I’m also going to focus more on hunting from about 10 a.m. until mid-afternoon. It seems that a lot of times when it’s chilly, the birds will fill their bellies for the first few hours of the day, then they’ll think about more amorous activities later.

It may not be as fun as a perfect-weather opener, but that’s OK. Eventually the cold will break, and when it does, the hunting will get really, really good.

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