Josh Boyd, column and photos:
The bluegrass state offers outdoorsmen and women an abundance of hunting seasons for a variety of game to pursue on a yearly basis. Every hunter undoubtedly has their favorite outdoor pursuits, and some seasons register more freely in the minds of hunters than others. However, due to the numerous seasons that exist and the inevitable overlap between them, some opportunities do not receive the same attention or notoriety as others.
Kentucky's fall turkey season starts September 7th with the archery opener, and although excellent hunting can be had, relatively few hunters will go afield for the sole purpose of pursuing this worthwhile game species. This can largely be attributed to the simultaneous start to Kentucky's archery deer season, which will be foremost in the minds of many hunters.
A substantial number of hunters also primarily associate turkey hunting with being a spring time activity due to the wild turkey's vocal and boisterous displays during the spring season that is so heavily hunted. Although it is true that the strutting and gobbling of the wild turkey during the spring of the year is a thrilling sight to behold, turkey hunting is no less viable of an option in the fall, should the proper adaptations in strategy be made.
Fall turkey hunting draws many parallels to deer hunting in regards to the importance of thorough scouting when preparing for season and determining your approach. Much of this scouting, also in parallel to deer hunting, can be accomplished in the coming month of August as season quickly approaches.
Several strategies can be utilized to much success when scouting in preparation for the fall turkey season. One such strategy at a hunter's disposal is the use of trail cameras. Because of a trail camera's capacity to allow for the gathering of information even when a hunter is not physically present, they make the perfect scouting tool for the fall turkey hunter. Multiple trail cameras can be employed on a farm of which a hunter has access, and the sum of the information gathered through the photos that are taken allows a hunter to conclude travel routes and patterns of the resident turkey population.
The use of binoculars to glass fields from a distance, is yet another tool at the disposal of hunters scouting in preparation for fall turkey season. Many areas, including large agricultural fields and open river bottoms, allow an individual a relatively lengthy sight distance at which to observe the movements and patterns of any turkeys frequenting a particular farm. This allows a hunter to scout multiple locations in a single outing, from a distance, avoiding any nonessential intrusion that could cause turkeys to vary their patterns.
A hunter can also listen from a distance for the vocalizations of a wild turkey in the time leading up to the departure from their roost shortly following daylight. Although audible wild turkey vocalizations are not as prevalent in the fall as in the spring of the year, it is not uncommon to hear the yelps of a hen preceding fly down or a stray gobble on occasion. This strategy can be of much help when attempting to discern the location of roost sites within an area.
Although often overlooked, fall turkey hunting can be an endeavor of much enjoyment for those who seek to diversify their time afield this fall. Through diligent scouting and a little old fashion woodsmanship fall turkey season can be just as productive for a hunter as the highly anticipated spring season.
Note: the thoughts and opinions expressed by Edmonson Voice guest columnists and authors of submitted articles are their own, not necessarily those of EdmonsonVoice.com