Seasonal Turkey Movements (?)

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by shaman, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. shaman

    shaman 8 pointer

    Jul 20, 2004
    Neave, KY, USA.
    This is going to get down in the weeds.

    For most of the past decade, I've noticed a phenomenon this time of year that seldom gets discussed. My farm is 200 acres in SW Bracken County, KY about 10 miles from the Ohio River. I'm about 2 miles from the Licking River and the predominant feature of the land is a series of sinuous ridges with hollows between. For the past 10 years, I've noticed that when I come back to camp after a winter hiatus, there are sometimes just plain flat no turkeys around. As the season progresses, they'll suddenly show up, take their places on the ancestral roosts, and conduct business as usual. At times, I've wondered if they were ever going to show up at all. At times I've wondered if they were there, and just being extra quiet. This past weekend, I believe I witnessed proof that they really do migrate.

    On Saturday, I went out with my recording gear to record one of my podcasts. I heard no turkeys on the property and came back in empty handed. I ended up at one of my listening posts, and just enjoyed the sunrise. On Sunday, my granddaughter went out with me, and we went back to the same spot. What cued me back was that when I got up that morning, there was a gobbler gobbling in the bottom down below that listening post. So we went out there. He didn't gobble much-- only a couple times in the half hour we were there. Still it was enough to get the Mooselette stirred up.

    Sunday afternoon, my security camera caught a gobbler on his way out of the bottom, waddling up into the pasture in back of the house. My guess is that by next weekend, the usual suspects will be back in their roosts with just 2 weeks left before season.

    My questions to you are as follows:

    1) Do any of you see this seasonal migration?
    2) What are they coming from?
    3) What makes them move?

    This migration doesn't happen all years, or if it does, it happens before my return (usually just after March 1). In fact, some years, I've already gotten enough for 2 or 3 podcasts by now. This year has been a complete zilch. So was last year-- just no turkeys to record.
  2. childersb24

    childersb24 6 pointer

    Mar 25, 2010
    The place I hunt has turkeys galore in the fall. Spring comes and nothing. Maybe 1 or 2 birds. Last year for example I decided to go fall turkey hunting and called in 9 longbeards. Spring came and there was 2 gobblers around.
  3. Munson

    Munson 10 pointer

    Dec 24, 2011
    Natural Bridge
    Food sources imo. They group up and travel farther during fall/winter. I suppose the pecking order plays a roll as well when breeding is thrown in the mix. If a farmer feeds grain during winter thats usually where the birds are around here.
  4. Bee

    Bee 8 pointer

    Mar 14, 2005
    Very general answer--I think the hens go to prenest territory to search out nest locations , and generally, move from upland oak country that is drier , acorns, and south side warmer in winter in to the green sides of north exposure hollows with moisture so chicks can have water, greens and more insects easily available at hatch time. Noticable particular in mountains of appalachia maybe more than low country. Farm ground feedlot turkeys may not make this move as dramatically due to availability of food and water around large cattle grounds.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  5. trapper perry

    trapper perry 12 pointer

    May 10, 2009
    Last several years on our farm in Henry Co we'll have gooblers in the fall but come spring time they'll be on the neighbors.Very frustrating.
  6. rlb165

    rlb165 10 pointer

    Dec 10, 2001
    shaman, I’ve noticed the migration thing, but like you said, it’s not consistent, at least not here.
    I’m in southern Hardin County. Our area is mostly woodlots, row crops, and hay/pasture fields.
    This picture was taken a week or two before season came in, in 2016.
    I hadn’t seen a turkey, or even a turkey track, for months before this picture was taken, then BOOM, there’s a field full of them.
    Most seasons, there will be a half-dozen or so Toms around. During Fall and Winter though, it’s hit or miss, feast or famine.
    We logged our place in 2014, and our woods are like a jungle now. I BELIEVE that turkeys use our woods less in winter, now that they are so thick.
    bondhu and Recurve77 like this.

    OLE RASPY 8 pointer

    Sep 9, 2018
    Barren county
    My farm in barren county has no Turks in the fall. They come back around January and stay till June.
    Farm I hunt in Logan county is bout the same way. It’s crop fields there so I know the food is there in fall but no Turks.
    Our family farm in butler county they are there year around.
    So I really don’t know the rhyme or reason.
  8. nontypical2002

    nontypical2002 6 pointer

    Feb 26, 2006
    That's either a dominant Jake or dumb one strutting with all those Tom's.....
  9. Tom Threetoes

    Tom Threetoes 10 pointer

    Oct 4, 2002
    southern Indiana.
    Back a few years ago before turkeys got scarce around here, I never bothered to listen or scout on our place till a week or 10 days before season because they just weren't there. But they always showed up in time for the opener.
  10. Drahts

    Drahts 10 pointer

    Apr 7, 2015
    Shaman, I've noticed definite migrations both here in KY and in PA and MD where I have hunted. In MD we would see zero birds most of the fall, then bout April first, they'd move back in. Soon as August hit they'd pull out and head for the mountain where the acorns were always best. Here in KY they move out typically about the first of Dec and return bout the first of March. This year they were gone a lil earlier and came back a bit later, but it was all food related as we had next to zero acorns and most other foods were gone til the fields started to get going. The only crop planted near me is bout 1 mile away and this year it was corn, and they didn't pick it til bout 2 weeks ago. Birds have been there since late november. I could go down there anytime and see a couple flocks.

    In my experience they have areas they like to breed and areas where they have seasonal food that is consistent.
  11. hunter40502

    hunter40502 8 pointer

    Mar 5, 2014
    Bracken County

    Shaman, we must be practically neighbors. And my property looks just as you described, here in Bracken county. I have 51 acres, with three finger ridges and small hallows between them. they all Peter out on a bottom where there is a creek. On the other side is a bench that wraps around on the other side of a seasonal creek. Either way, I too have noticed they turkey's "disappearing". I put that in quotes, because they are not on my trail cameras in my clover plots, but I see signs of them in numerous areas around the property scratching for bugs. In spring they move back to the plots. I have noticed, however, this spring, my neighbor has all the gobblers, and I have all the hens. LOL. But as you said it all comes together right about now. Last week gobblers started showing up in my clover fields.

    IN short I too think it is about food sources. Good luck all, this spring.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice