Find a Dusting Bowl

Written by Big Game Camera Man on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Year-round, I spend at least one day each week filming deer and turkey.
During the hunting seasons, I spend countless hours in the field.

Wild turkeys' behavior changes throughout the year.
When they're not searching for food, turkeys spend a lot of time grooming their body of feathers. They are very clean animals for a good reason. They're definitely afraid of the forest floor at night, very aware of predators lurking under cover of darkness. Consequently, they roost in trees and absolutely must keep their flight feathers in good working order. A wild turkey that can't fly up to a roost will become a meal for a fox or coyote that same night.

Coming off the roost each morning in the Spring, tom turkeys get together with the hens, eat, and do some breeding. In the Spring and Summer, once each day, usually in mid-to-late morning, the birds go to a favorite "dusting site". They douse themselves in loose dirt and soil to rid their feathers of lice, ticks, mites and other parasites. A dusting site, generally not located near the roosting area, is a bowl-like depression full of loose soil, feathers, and turkey tracks. A turkey's daily dust bath can last anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 minutes.

Take note of dusting sites in the course of your scouting, and you can put the birds' dusting habit to work for you. If the turkeys are close-lipped and not responding to your calls, set up near a dusting site. You can count on the birds to show up, but you have to be cautious. Turkeys may approach the site from any direction, so set up far enough away that you have a good view of the whole area. Do little or no calling; if you do call, do it softly, not agressively. The keys to hunting success at a dusting site are good positioning and patience.

Share the tradition--Take a youngster hunting or fishing!

About The Author

I’ve been in the business of filming hunts for 24 years now. I have hundreds of hours of...

Click here to read more about Big Game Camera Man

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