Scout Early For Gobblers
by Terry Rohm
Reading turkey sign is much like reading deer sign — there is general turkey sign and there is specific gobbler sign. Large areas of scratched up leaves indicate a flock fed through that area. Lone gobblers make single "V-shaped" scratch marks (about 18 inches long), often at the base of trees.

A gobbler's track is usually more than four inches long (middle toe to rear of "heel" pad); hen tracks are almost always less than four inches. A jake gobbler's track may be as long as an adult gobbler's but is somewhat thinner. Dirt or sandy roads and sandbars along creeks are favorite strutting areas for gobblers. There will be many gobbler tracks, often in a circle, and marks where his wing tips dragged along the ground.

Gobblers have glossy bronze-green feathers tipped with a black band, also glossy. Hen feathers are duller and are edged with brown. Gobbler/jake droppings are large and straight or "J-hooked"; hen droppings are smaller, looped or simply a formless mass.

Guns For Gobblers
by Bill Jordan
The 12-gauge with heavy loads of two ounces of No. 4, 5 or 6 shot in a 3-inch shell is probably the most common turkey gun and load. It’s popular because it works. The "Big Guns" of turkey hunting shells come in 3 1/2-inch cases. The 10-gauge magnum and the 12-gauge 3 1/2-inch magnum both pack 2 1/4-ounces of shot. These provide a lot of wallop on both ends of the gun.

However, lighter loads and smaller gauges are also effective. Many 3-inch shooters find that 1 1/4-ounce loads pattern better in their guns. Standard "short" magnum, 2 3/4-inch 12-gauge shells with 1 1/4 to 1 5/8 ounces of shot give you about 90% of the range and will deal with about 98 percent of the gobblers that the big guns do. For smaller and younger shooters, a tight-choked 20-gauge with well-patterned 3-inch magnum loads carrying 1 1/8 ounces of shot will cleanly take 30-yard gobblers if you hit them, as you should, in the head and neck.

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