Double duty: Scouting for deer during turkey season
With the arrival of spring turkey season so many of us have gobbler fever, and I’m certainly afflicted. But if your turkey hunting areas are the same as your deer hunting spots, you can surely acquire some data while turkey hunting this spring that will help you come fall.
One early-May morning a few years ago I was running and gunning an Adirondack ridge without much cooperation from the gobblers. This is private land, and although I could hunt deer here, I spend more time spring turkey hunting the area as the access is limited to me only, rather than our hunting crew.
As I travelled about the logging roads that morning I bumped four different deer, and found a myriad of trails about. On turkey hunts in there since I’ve found old rubs, scrapes and even more trails. Again, I don’t deer hunt here, but if I did I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I’d set up for both archery and rifle hunts.
Another year, I spotted a decent buck twice during the spring turkey season in an area where our gang regularly hunts deer. I saw him again on opening day of the fall turkey season. Perhaps I should’ve had my bow along that day, but I did bag a nice fall tom later that day.
I spent some time there during the early muzzleloading season without any luck. But, two of my cousins each killed bucks on that hill later that fall that resembled that buck.
In recent years I’ve made it a point to do some running and gunning in my deer hunting areas, especially if I’ve encountered turkeys there. It’s kind of a hunt/scout combo. Not only do I get some much-needed exorcise, the deer scouting missions are always informative and I’ve even tagged a few gobblers along the way. Most of all, these are cherished haunts and being there anytime is special.
Over a decade ago I was hunting the last day of the spring turkey season in some steamy hot weather, trying to fill my second gobbler tag. I watched as a spike buck entered the clearing, followed by a 6-pointer and then a very fine 8-pointer. I spied on them for about 15 minutes and after they left the clearing I went home, taking it as an omen that I should forget turkeys and start focusing on deer. Plus I hate hunting in the heat.
This is another spot where I do not hunt deer, just turkeys. But a friend does, and I filled him in on the bucks. He and his hunting partners killed the two bigger bucks that fall.
Spring turkey hunting is a thrill, but a little planning ahead for the fall season could make for a fulfilling year on your favorite hunting grounds.