(StatePoint) Want to hunt turkeys on your home turf this fall? You’ll need to create and manage a habitat that will attract them to your property first.
To get started, consider these tried-and-true tips from farmer, professional hunter and creator of the “Bone Collector” series, Michael Waddell:
• Your lawn mower can help. Yes, believe it or not, mowing the pastures or food plots where you plan to hunt makes a huge difference.
“What you’ll find, is that right at daylight with a heavy dew on the ground, the turkeys won’t come out in a food plot with high grass because they don’t want to get wet,” says Waddell. “You need to keep in mind turkey legs are only so tall and they get their feathers all wet, and it’s just aggravating to them.”
Mow your plots and you improve your chances of turkeys using them.
• But, don’t mow everything. Turkeys use tall grass during the day once the dew has evaporated, so you don’t want to mow your entire lawn too low. Keeping some of the grass high allows the poults and hens to come out and eat bugs while still having shelter from other predators like hawks. Waddell suggests mowing around the edges where you want to concentrate your turkeys, and then creating some lanes through the grass to create a “turkey funnel,” so to speak.
“Now I’m a man who likes to be successful,” says Waddell. “And this works. Year after year, I do this and it pays off every year.”
• Keep your blades high. While you can maintain your property with a tractor or bush hog, Waddell says his lawn mower is more convenient. Just be sure to mow at a high blade setting to avoid damaging the machinery with rocks and other debris. Waddell explains that he uses the same Exmark Lazer Z zero-turn mower to maintain his home property, so it’s important to keeps his blades in good shape.
For more of Waddell’s tips and secrets, check out the new Exmark Original video, “Backyard Life, Turkey Habitat Tips.” The episode can be found by visiting Exmark.com/Backyard, a multimedia destination with a focus on giving home and acreage owners the tips and know-how to make the most of their outdoor experience and live more life outdoors. You can also access content on lawn-and-garden, outdoor cooking and rural lifestyles.
A good turkey habitat in turn creates good hunting opportunities. To ready your property for turkey hunting season, build out a plot of land that is friendly for turkeys to nest, feed and hide from other predators.