John's Journal...


GPS Your Hunt Plan

Click here to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: In preparing for turkey season, you can't know where you'll hunt. The tom himself will dictate the place you'll hunt, the type of terrain you’ll have to cross, and how wet you'll get before you return to your truck. During the spring while turkey hunting, I'll usually get lost and need some type of navigational device. The hand-held GPS (global positioning system) will aid your scouting and your hunting turkeys this season.

Just like a good quarterback has several game plans, depending on what happens during the game, a turkey hunter needs a game plan that will enable him to hunt a bird during the entire time he has to hunt. Often a hunter only plans to go to a spot where he can hear turkeys gobble from the roost and then try to call a bird to him. But if that turkey doesn't come in, another hunter or a predator spooks him, the tom gets with his hens, or any one of a hundred things happens that prevents the bird from coming to the hunter, then the hunt's over. However, by scouting, you can locate hunt sites you can go to at various times of the day and have a chance to call a gobbler. To maximize your hunt time, you must move quickly and quietly from one location to another by the shortest route, which a GPS receiver helps you do. If
Click here to enlarge you've discovered an area while scouting that you want to hunt, perhaps a spot near a field where turkeys bug, a loafing site, a strut zone or a feeding site, save them in your GPS receiver as waypoints. You also can mark a location where turkeys like to move and breed before they fly up to their roosts. You can hunt this plan all day with your GPS
receiver, if you live in a state that allows all-day turkey

For example, if you don't get your turkey in the morning and you have to move several times to position yourself to call him, instead of continuing to fight that bird, you may want to go to a strut zone, feeding site or loafing area later in the morning where you may meet that gobbler or another one. You Click here to enlargecan pull up the waypoint and punch the NAVIGATE button to go there. The hunt I made for the Slue-Foot Gobbler illustrates how a GPS receiver can help you get your bird. My hunting companions and I had named one bird that had whipped us repeatedly Slue-Foot because of his funny gait. This turkey gobbled well from the roost. Then he would fly down within 60 or 70 yards of a calling position and strut and drum to get a hen to come to him. If she didn't show herself, he wouldn't move any closer to where he'd heard the call. One day I decided to chase Slue Foot. As he gobbled walking away from me, I tried to stay close enough to hear him when he gobbled yet far enough away so he couldn't see me. I followed him across the top of a ridge and down the side of the ridge to a little bench where he had set up a strutting zone.

Click here to enlargeSlue Foot could see everything coming up the side of the
mountain from this vantage point. When he gobbled, he could
spot a hen coming from 150 yards away. I had absolutely no way of moving close to the gobbler without his seeing me from the bench. Through my binoculars, I watched the gobbler until he left the bench and went back up the mountain. I moved down to the bench, cut brush, made a natural blind, took a GPS reading on the blind and then left the area. Before daylight the next morning, I used my GPS receiver to navigate in to the bench and the blind from a different direction than the turkey would come from and waited on him. When I heard Slue Foot gobble, I gave a few purrs to make him think a hen had reached his bench before he had. At about 10:00 a.m., I saw Slue Foot coming at about 100 yards. I never called again as the bird moved down to the bench to gobble, strut and call up his hens. My hand-held GPS receiver had allowed me to find the bench and the blind in the dark and bag Slue Foot.



Check back each day this week for more about SPACE-AGE GOBBLERS

Day 1 - The First Time I Used Space-Age Technology to Hunt Turkeys
Day 2 - Be Lost No More
Day 3 - Hunt Non-Pressured Gobblers
Day 4 - GPS Your Hunt Plan
Day 5 - Give a Turkey to a Friend



Entry 289, Day 4