Be sure to remember that spring gobblers are usually feeding on green foods such as clover, tender shoots of grass, sedges and legumes. In order to locate this new spring growth, gobblers do a lot of scratching in hardwood forest, in old fields, in forest openings and in cultivated fields, footpots and pasters. Spring gobblers also are always looking for acorns and other nuts that are overlooked by other animals. Scratching is a major sign to watch for while scouting in early spring.
The Morning Hunt
Once you get a roosting gobbler to answer your "owling" calls you are ready for the hunt.
If there are a number of hens roosting around the gobbler, you have a problem. Many times you can over come this problem by sounding like the first hen to fly down. You can slap your upper legs with your gloved hands to sound like wingbeats. At the same time, give a loud cackle. To the gobbler, this says there is a hen on the ground ready for courtship.
If the gobbler "hangs up" and won't come in you have several choices;
1).Try a low cluck. Many times this is all it takes.
2).Give a gobble and hope he will rush in to get the hen before the intruder gets her.
3).Give a crackle and hope he rushes in to this "ready" hen.
4).Change callers, going from one caller to another type caller to sound like a different hen. (Example;from a diaphram caller to a box caller.)
5).If he is far enough away, slip closer to the gobbler to sound like a hen coming to him.
None of these are a guaranteed to work, but after some experience you can usually apply the right choice to the right situation and, with a lot of luck, get a hard-to-fool gobbler.
A gobbler will stay in your vicinity for a while and suddenly move off in an opposite direction. When this happens, try to move in a semi-circle around the gobbler and get out in front of him. Take a stand, change callers and try to get him to come to his new hen.
Scouting territory is one of the most important, and most neglected, part of turkey hunting. Unless you can afford to use a guide, you have to scout.
Keep an eye on the ground for tracks, feathers, feeding scratches, and droppings. Dropping can indicate the sex of the turkey; a J shape for a male, round or piled up for a female.
Learn the differences between feeding signs of deer, squirrel, and turkey. A scratching turkey tends to throw leaves in all directions; deer and squirrels, in one or two drections, front and back. Deer feeding on beechnuts will sometimes leave long two-sided furrows through loose, dry leaves. Do not confuse feeding signs with buck deer scrapings, where you may see leaves throwing in all directions but that goes down to bare ground, with generally a hoofprint or two in the dirt.
Start a week before the season begins, listening near your favorite hunting site just before first light and just before dusk. I recommend using a owl call to trick the gobbler. I perfer to listen, or to use my owl hoot sparingly. Then see if there is a pattern to the sounds, such as a dominate deep-tone gobble that always comes from a certain hillside. If so, "put the tom to bed" the night before hunting season and pick out a good tree to set up by, your chances of finding him there the next morning are good.
If you did your scouting more than a week beore the first day of the season, particulary if there is a sudden change in weather, such as a late-spring snow, repeat, looking for fresh tracks, feeding evidence, and droppings.