Nothing will ever replace boots on the ground scouting techniques.
However, in this digital age, we should take advantage of all the information readily available that can help us ‘scout’ from a distance. One source of information I’ve found extremely helpful is Google Earth. The program is available online, as a desktop application or an app for mobile devices.
Here are three ways I utilize the Google Earth. I hope you can take advantage of before chasing some gobblers this spring.
Cover types using the imagery clock:
(If you’re hunting the same piece of land as previous years, this tool may not be as beneficial to you). Once selecting the clock, a sliding bar is shown, and you can go back in time to view archived imagery stored in Google’s database. As I go through the various years, I pay close attention to imagery taken in the spring. Spring images can provide a great amount of information including the location of coniferous trees, where early green up occurs or where there may be large stands of hardwoods.
The wild turkey inhabits all types of habitat and terrain features. It is important to know the terrain you’ll be hunting as it may impact your hunting methods. Google Earth makes it easy to determine a wide arrange of terrain features. Their 3D viewer makes features such as cliffs, streams, or ditches easily identifiable.
Finding ‘hidden’ hot spots:
Have you ever had a gobbler fired up, but he never seemed to leave a particular spot? That gobbler was likely stuck in one of his favorite strutting spots. It may include an old logging road going up the side of a bluff or a slight opening in the woods from when it was pastured many years ago. Whatever the case may be, looking at your hunting property from above can help you easily locate those ‘hidden’ hot spots that are not as easily found from the ground.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to utilize digital maps before your upcoming hunt this year. It’ll help you cover more ground, find those roosting locations and show you those ‘hidden’ hot spots where a gobbler might get hung up.