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Author Topic: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?  (Read 400 times)

Offline Mossberg90MN

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How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« on: May 19, 2020, 06:41:00 PM »
How do you guys find strut zones in the woods? Aside from actually seeing the gobbler in the strut zone. Having a tough time chasing silent gobblers... I know they are there, so they must be hitting the strut zones.


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Offline silvestris

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 07:24:51 PM »
Primarily the gobblers will strut where the hens choose to feed and that will change from year due to preferred food availability.  I can’t identify strut areas without seeing/hearing gobblers.

Offline Mossberg90MN

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 09:13:33 PM »
Yea I imagine it’s can be hard to pin point without hearing him gobble from that spot a number of times or seeing him.

Guess I’ll have to look for places with heavy poop concentration.


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Offline AppalachianHollers

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2020, 11:41:55 PM »
In areas with lots of ridges you usually can find an area that flattens out; it’s often worth checking for patterns in the leaves to determine if any strutting/scratching has taken place recently.


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Offline Marc

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 01:06:23 AM »
I have noticed that there are some places in which birds strut year after year within a few yards...  Other times it changes from day to day, or hour to hour.

A tom will strut when he feels that a hen might react to his strutting (and drumming).  Sometimes this is an area where hens have been the last few mornings, sometimes it is where he sees or hears a hen that might be interested in their displays...

I feel like birds like to strut and breed in open areas...  Partly due to being visible to hens, and partly due to the difficulty of predators sneaking up on them.

Some things I have noticed:

*In hunting rolling foothills, turkeys seem to prefer grazed areas with low grass over un-grazed areas with taller grass (probably due to predators).     

* The peak of a saddle with an open area, where a tom can be seen and heard from some distance, where it would be difficult for a predator to sneak on him is a good area.

*Bowls surrounded by woods are prime areas.  They can be seen by hens for a long ways, and it is tough for predators to sneak on them...  Also tough areas for a hunter to set up without being seen.  I know of a couple of bowled areas that are popular strut areas right after fly-down.  Large open areas in a depression surrounded by woods, and all but impossible to approach without being seen/heard.  Hens can be seen from the roost by toms (and vice versa), as can predators or hunters.

And on dirt roads, or grassy knolls with heavy strutting, you will sometimes be lucky enough to see what looks like bicycle tracks from a drunk guy doing donuts....   Wet grass in the morning, you can sometimes see the walking trail of birds, with intermittent areas of bilateral disturbance from strutting on either side of that trail...
Did I do that?

Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.

Offline Mossberg90MN

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 10:18:56 AM »
In areas with lots of ridges you usually can find an area that flattens out; it’s often worth checking for patterns in the leaves to determine if any strutting/scratching has taken place recently.


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Yea I did key in on benches on the ridges to look for sign, it’s getting so thick in the late season it’s hard to tell.

I may just have to hope one turkey accidentally gobbles!


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Offline Mossberg90MN

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 10:19:56 AM »
I have noticed that there are some places in which birds strut year after year within a few yards...  Other times it changes from day to day, or hour to hour.

A tom will strut when he feels that a hen might react to his strutting (and drumming).  Sometimes this is an area where hens have been the last few mornings, sometimes it is where he sees or hears a hen that might be interested in their displays...

I feel like birds like to strut and breed in open areas...  Partly due to being visible to hens, and partly due to the difficulty of predators sneaking up on them.

Some things I have noticed:

*In hunting rolling foothills, turkeys seem to prefer grazed areas with low grass over un-grazed areas with taller grass (probably due to predators).     

* The peak of a saddle with an open area, where a tom can be seen and heard from some distance, where it would be difficult for a predator to sneak on him is a good area.

*Bowls surrounded by woods are prime areas.  They can be seen by hens for a long ways, and it is tough for predators to sneak on them...  Also tough areas for a hunter to set up without being seen.  I know of a couple of bowled areas that are popular strut areas right after fly-down.  Large open areas in a depression surrounded by woods, and all but impossible to approach without being seen/heard.  Hens can be seen from the roost by toms (and vice versa), as can predators or hunters.

And on dirt roads, or grassy knolls with heavy strutting, you will sometimes be lucky enough to see what looks like bicycle tracks from a drunk guy doing donuts....   Wet grass in the morning, you can sometimes see the walking trail of birds, with intermittent areas of bilateral disturbance from strutting on either side of that trail...
Good advice, I’ll have to definitely keep these spots in mind. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to find one of those spots used year after year.


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Offline AppalachianHollers

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 10:31:58 AM »
In areas with lots of ridges you usually can find an area that flattens out; it’s often worth checking for patterns in the leaves to determine if any strutting/scratching has taken place recently.


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Yea I did key in on benches on the ridges to look for sign, it’s getting so thick in the late season it’s hard to tell.

I may just have to hope one turkey accidentally gobbles!


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Sadly not all turkey habitat has turkeys...but man is it exciting when you find a strut zone on a saddle!
In my case, it was unfortunately on my last hunt day. Ah well, I know where to check next year.


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Offline tlh2865

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2020, 05:05:33 PM »
Obviously the easiest way is to either see a bird strutting in a particular area or, hear him gobbling there consistently for extended periods on multiple occasions.
Given that your question is about finding them in the timber when they aren't gobbling I would say that your best bet is knowing the terrain.
If you can get on a gobbler in the morning close enough that you can tell which direction he heads off the roost, think about what prime strutting/feeding ground is in that direction? There's some great info here about what terrain features to look for. If you're going in completely blind and you want to find his strut zone, that'd be my strategy.
If you have any prior experience on strutting activity then those are great places to start. Likely the reasons they were strutting there one or two springs ago have not changed

Offline WPA Bowhunter

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2020, 01:37:48 PM »
A huge factor in this I believe is knowing the roost area's and wether your birds are roosting together or if the gobblers are separate from the hens. They will work an area right off the roost that they know Is a common place for hens to be at or if they obviously pitch down with hens. Another great place is logging roads if there are any and always remember to check the small interior finger ridges that run off the main ridge if there is any amount of hunting pressure.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Offline AppalachianHollers

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2020, 02:00:52 PM »
and always remember to check the small interior finger ridges that run off the main ridge if there is any amount of hunting pressure.

Not bad whitetail advice, either.


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Offline Mossberg90MN

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2020, 02:25:30 PM »
Thanks for the advice guys! I think I might head into the area in the fall and really tear the piece of land apart and get a good feel for it. Come next spring I’ll have a very good idea for what’s going on and where.


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Offline ChesterCopperpot

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2020, 04:44:31 PM »
I have noticed that there are some places in which birds strut year after year within a few yards...  Other times it changes from day to day, or hour to hour.

I think that's absolutely right. Sometimes they'll keep using one place all season, sometimes they'll move day to day following hens. And some of those places will happen year after year, but most probably won't. The places I've seen that become sort of annual/habitual strut zones are areas where there really aren't that many prime places to use. I think about a place I hunt in South Carolina, super thick hardwoods with little topography, and when you find elevation changes, small knolls and then especially the saddles between two knolls, there's always gobblers strutting there year after year. There's not much high ground to be had and that high ground is a hell of an advantage for those gobbles to carry. Then in the mountains of North Carolina where I live I've had some birds roost in the same tree day after day. Might wander a quarter mile and always find his way back to that same tree of an evening. Then I've had them move all over the place like gypsies. Usually when I find a good strut zone I find it when a bird hangs up. He gobbles at one end, struts to the other side, gobbles at the far end, you just hear that back and forth of him covering that space. Occasionally I've found places, particularly in old logging roads up here, where you'll see marks from them dragging their wings. I think for the most part it all just depends on the bird. About as many personalities in turkeys as there is in people--loud mouths and folks that wouldn't say boo to a goose, homebodies and wanderers, etc.

Offline Mossberg90MN

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Re: How to identify Strut zones in the woods?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 11:25:42 PM »
I have noticed that there are some places in which birds strut year after year within a few yards...  Other times it changes from day to day, or hour to hour.

I think that's absolutely right. Sometimes they'll keep using one place all season, sometimes they'll move day to day following hens. And some of those places will happen year after year, but most probably won't. The places I've seen that become sort of annual/habitual strut zones are areas where there really aren't that many prime places to use. I think about a place I hunt in South Carolina, super thick hardwoods with little topography, and when you find elevation changes, small knolls and then especially the saddles between two knolls, there's always gobblers strutting there year after year. There's not much high ground to be had and that high ground is a hell of an advantage for those gobbles to carry. Then in the mountains of North Carolina where I live I've had some birds roost in the same tree day after day. Might wander a quarter mile and always find his way back to that same tree of an evening. Then I've had them move all over the place like gypsies. Usually when I find a good strut zone I find it when a bird hangs up. He gobbles at one end, struts to the other side, gobbles at the far end, you just hear that back and forth of him covering that space. Occasionally I've found places, particularly in old logging roads up here, where you'll see marks from them dragging their wings. I think for the most part it all just depends on the bird. About as many personalities in turkeys as there is in people--loud mouths and folks that wouldn't say boo to a goose, homebodies and wanderers, etc.
Yea they all definitely have there own personality!


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