Turkey Hunting: How to Read Turkey Tracks, Droppings, and Feathers

On your preseason scouting trip you don't hear a single gobble, even though it's good turkey country. Should you move on? Not necessarily. It could be that the bird just isn't quite ready to commit to full-throated breeding behavior. Learn these three ways of determining a turkey's gender by the clues it leaves behind and you'll increase your chances of putting your bead on a bird this season.

Droppings
Turkey droppings are easiest to find on bare ground, especially in dusting areas or in scratchings. Droppings from a gobbler are elongated and measure about 2 inches, with a J-hook or clublike bulb on one end. Those from a hen are often more globular and spiral-or popcorn-shaped.

Tracks
Turkeys have three toes, and those of a gobbler are longer. Any track that's more than 4 inches from the heel to the tip of the middle toe is likely from a gobbler. Pay special attention to tracks that show clear segmentation between the toe joints. It takes a heavy bird to push a foot that deeply into the soil. Could be the boss.

Feathers
Feathers from a gobbler's body sport a distinctive black tip. Body feathers off a hen have a chestnut-or buff-colored tip. If you're in good roosting habitat, take note. You might want to start your hunt nearby.