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Monday, March 4, 2024
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Patterning The Flocks

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What a beautiful time to be in the woods! The weather is just about as lovely as anybody can ask for; the underbrush has been stripped bare of its leaves, and visibility is fantastic. It’s the perfect time of the year to begin scouting and patterning your turkey flocks.

I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in the field lately with my little notebook and my most valuable scouting aid, a pair of 16×36 binoculars. Distance is my friend; I don’t want to bump into the flocks or be close enough to alter their behavior and travel habits. For instance, I received permission to hunt and guide on a large tract of land in the northern part of our county.

I picked a high point that overlooked a large area, then parked and scanned the fields and wood lines for two hours. I scribbled notes in my book about everything I witnessed, whether it was flocks or lone turkeys.

I note the number of birds per sighting, gender breakdown, the direction of travel, whether they were feeding, and if so, what? I also note the time of day, wind direction and strength, whether cloudy or overcast, and sightings of other wildlife. As the season arrives, all of the notes I’ve taken will greatly aid in how I approach the hunt.

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I’ll do the same on each of the properties I hunt. By opening day, I’ll know my flocks pretty intimately and can formulate a game plan for intercepting the dominant toms. One big piece of information I try to collect is approximately when the flocks begin to integrate.

As you can see, most wild turkey flocks will be gender-segregated outside of the breeding season. The toms are still in their bachelor flocks, but interest in the hens is definitely developing. The bachelors are beginning to follow the hen flocks while maintaining a respectable distance, although they watch everything the girls do.

In a few weeks, the bachelor groups will begin to break up, and you’ll find the dominant toms will start traveling and feeding with the flocks, fighting off the subordinate toms and clearly taking possession of his harem.

I’ve also noted that the jakes are beginning to trail closely on the outskirts of the bachelor groups, giving lots of respect.

If you have questions or opinions or want to say hi, please contact me at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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