Trail cameras are great companions for a hunter. Not only they are used for large hunting games and research purposes, but trails cameras are also used for turkey hunting . There is not a specific type of trail camera for turkey hunting. But with normal trail cameras, you can still bring them to your dining table. And here is how to do that:
Similar to any other hunting game, scouting and researching is the crucial first step. The difference between a professional hunter and an amateur is that: the pro controls the number of their preys. They hunt for a living, and they make sure that there will be an inventory for them to choose from. On the other hand, an amateur shoots everything in sight as they only care about what they find that day.
To be successful, you need to learn site by heart. Walk around and install your cameras in important spots. You need to know their hideouts, bedding sites, feeding destinations and travel routes. Having a camera at those places will help you to learn the pattern easier. Later on, you can find pick off and have a constant supply of turkeys.
Try to install your camera high above the ground and at the edges of the site. This way, you will have an angle that covers most of the field and knows what is happening.
Roost sites are where you will be able to find turkeys the most. There should be a lot of trees on a roost site. You will know it’s a roost site when you see one. To narrow your choices, search for horizontal limbs and mature trees. They tend to roost in the tallest trees with most visibility. Search for these trees and place your camera underneath their droppings. Place it far away to have an overall view of the tree. This is a great place to hang a camera. Find the best trees with droppings underneath them. Back off about 40 feet and hang the camera.
Sign to look for:
- J-shaped droppings under limbs (toms and jakes)
- Spiral-shaped droppings under limbs (hens)
- Primary wing feathers
- Tracks pointing in multiple directions
Unlike deer, turkeys travel, wander, but they still follow certain routes. Also, they use terrain to their advantage. To place trail camera for turkeys, you should look for geographical features like fence gaps, benches and creeks. These things will alter their movement. It’s not uncommon to find dust bowls along travel routes. Dust bowls are exposed depressions where toms and hens cover themselves with dirt. This helps reduce parasites.
Sign to look for:
- Tracks pointing in one or two directions
- Dust bowls
- Black-tipped breast feathers (toms)
- Gold-tipped breast feathers (hens)
This is the place where the males go on searching for the females. The time when turkeys do this is around mid-morning to mid or late afternoon. This is a spot to install your trail camera for turkey hunting.
Any geographical feature can be a strut zone. There are still some features attract them more than another: hilltops, beaches, creek banks, stretches on the roadbed. As long as the spot is visible, the place can turn into a hotspot for turkeys.
Sign to look for:
- Wing drag marks (from strutting)
- Tracks in all directions
- More tom droppings than hen droppings
Locating trail cameras for turkey hunting
Use mapping tools like Google Maps. It will help you to locate potential areas where turkeys roost, travel, and feed. Of course, walking around the place is also important, you need such tools to know where you are heading.
One of the most important things to do is to learn the terrain. Walk around, observe and learn the paths. You need to know the hunting site better than the turkeys themselves.
You should place your trail cameras in flat and open areas that can be a potential food source and of course, with good visibility. Large fields, watering holes, dirt roads are also the places to consider. Use multiple trail cameras for turkeys if the resource allows you to.
Look out for droppings, feathers, scratches or dust bowls. These things will make it easier for you to set up your cameras.
- Just like deer, turkeys need food sources in the spring and the late season. Oak acorns and mast are ones of their favorite foods. Keep in mind that Turkey also follows cattle. Place your trail cameras near cattle sites.
- It’s a good idea to scout the strut zone before and during the hunting season. You can follow the sounds they make in the morning or in the evening to find the zones. Stay away during the off-season. You don’t want to create additional pressure on them.
- Look for low grass height. Turkeys tend to search for places that are highly visible.
- Look for dust bowls. These are the places where turkeys place dust on themselves to help them removing parasites from their body. These areas are also ideal places for your trail camera.
- Getting to the woods in the evening will make it easier for you to locate their roost site. This is the time when they make sounds and fly back to their roost. Remember not to pressure the sign, since you may cause them to relocate.
In the springtime, farmers break the ground for crops. And visible and exposed ground can turn into a hotspot for turkeys. Diced or plowed ground gives turkeys easy access to insects and other creepy crawlers.
Placement and setting tips
- You should invest in multiples cameras. They are worth the price because once you have learned their pattern. It’s not hard at all to find dozens of them a day.
- Set the sensitivity level of your trail camera for turkeys on high. Turkeys are smaller than deer. They may pass the camera without triggering the motion sensor.
- Set up the camera high above the ground and on the edges of the field. This will help you to catch all the movement down there.
- Set your camera in the Time Lapse mode to learn their movements. You will be able to observe a day in a few minutes. This enables you to capture animals that aren’t close enough to trigger the motion sensors. Setting your camera to take a photo every 10 minutes will suffice as turkey, when not pressured, will move slowly through a large field.
- Check your trail camera manual to be sure, but a majority of trail cameras set on Time Lapse will also take photos when there’s movement so you won’t miss any action.
Interpreting the photo is just as important as taking the photo. If the photos that the camera takes are in the early morning, and late afternoon, you are near a roost site. If you only get morning photos, they are traveling to their roost site and their feeding place. If it’s only in the afternoon, that maybe the path they use to travel back to their roost site.
Checking and logging
- You should check the camera often. A few days or a week is plenty of time to gauge activity. The best scenario is to have a wireless Wi-Fi camera. You don’t want to approach the site too much and create pressure on the turkeys.
- The best time to approach the site is when the turkeys are not active. It should be in the mid-afternoon. Bring additional SD card if you need to replace them. Make sure that you are scent-free and be quiet not to scare them. You may cause them to relocate.
- Keep track of your turkey by using the tagging features.
- Having a detailed log highlighting appearance dates and times can help you not only this season but future seasons as well.
We hope that these trail cameras for turkeys’ tips have provided you with sufficient knowledge of your hunting seasons. If you are still hesitating to buy a camera, buy it. You will notice the difference.