Low-impact, Fast-track Scouting puts Media on Turkeys

Generations of hunters have been taught to scout spring gobblers by searching for droppings, scratching, feathers, and tracks, but so many of today’s ‘working man hunters’ have no time to cover ground looking for sign. This includes me! As a professional turkey guy with 16 hunters coming in to the Missouri Ozarks for a big media hunt in late April, I had no time to find turkey poop in 16 locations.

Over the years I have fine-tuned my low-impact ‘power scouting’ method that works great even when you have limited time, and when you’re expected to find turkeys on new ground you’ve never seen in the light of day. And even when you’re expected to do this for a large group of hunters, something I do all the time.

Here’s how to do it…
First, using whatever road access points I can find and starting at higher elevations, I cover lots of ground using excited turkey calls. When birds respond, I know where they are, approximately how many gobblers are there, and where they’re headed. Then, after listening to the birds, and watching them (if possible), I drive to lower elevations to fine-tune the scouting.

To be clear, I’m not walking around in the hunting areas; I don’t disturb turkeys at all, because I’m just communicating with them, using owl hooting and turkey calling. By checking them from above and below, I can really figure out where they roost, and where they go after they fly down.

By documenting all of this with my video cameras, I can show hunters, ahead of time, the birds in their area and what to expect from them on the day of the hunt. We have great success using this scouting method all across America—and no matter where we go, we hear that we should not call to turkeys on the roost, or call to them before the hunt. So until recently, I had stopped telling people this is how I do it. Honestly, I have scouted like this for almost 30 years, and we’ve left a trail of blood and feathers everywhere we’ve been.

Enjoy these pictures and maps from our recent media hunt. Besides these birds that were taken, there were plenty of close calls. Everyone was put in a pre-scouted area that had gobbling turkeys in it.

If this low-impact, fast-track scouting works for a camp of 16 hunters, imagine what you can do on your favorite farm that you already know well!

Ray Eye is a MidWest Outdoors hunting instructor. He was raised in the turkey-rich hills of the Missouri Ozarks, and is considered the dean of America’s professional turkey hunters. It’s less widely known that he is an expert hunter for many other species. Eye has produced an online course, “Calling is Everything,” that details how to call turkeys at any season of the year. Find it at eyesontheoutdoors.com