Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Spring turkey season is my favorite time of year. After a few months of down time, it's a welcome escape to the woods and hearing those early morning gobbles is just magical! As opening day inches closer, I'm doing quite a few things to get prepared: practicing calls, double checking gear and decoys, boots on the ground scouting and checking the shot pattern on my gun (I'm trying new shells this year). But one thing you might not think about is electronic scouting.
During the 2019 spring turkey season, I used the BaseMap app to provide some much needed information about Idaho's "Access Yes" areas and where turkeys generally tend to be in the state, but there are many other features that users will find helpful before, during and after season.
1) Research Unit and Season Data
If you're new to a state or looking for a new place to hunt, BaseMap offers state-specific layers for turkey hunting that includes unit/zone boundaries, season dates, harvest data and draw odds. The options vary by state depending on what information is available by each state and based upon their specific turkey hunting regulations.
2) Wild Turkey Range
Prior to and during my 2019 hunt, this layer in the app proved to be extremely useful. Since moving to Idaho, I've only hunted turkeys in one area, but due to the sheer number of people there, I was hoping to find someplace new. Using the Wild Turkey Range layer, I was able to see the general areas where turkeys could usually be found and was able to locate some new places to scout and hunt. I also learned there are turkeys found in many areas that I never would have guessed!
3) Public Land and WMA/Access Yes! Properties
Combined with the Wild Turkey Range, using the Nationwide Government Lands, Idaho Access Yes! Properties and Idaho WMA's layers, I was able to find new areas that were available to hunt. For Access Yes! properties and WMAs, it was still necessary to research those areas further to confirm turkey hunting was allowed but having a guide to at least identify where they are generally found and possible areas to hunt was helpful.
Using these layers, I was able to scout electronically prior to season on my phone and desktop, then go out and scout on foot to see if I could find tracks and other sign to determine if these would be places I would want to hunt during season. I ended up finding a spot 30 minutes from my home that was loaded with turkeys!
4) Aerial Imagery
Having a visual guide is always helpful when scouting or hunting new areas. The topo maps helped me get a good understanding of how steep the terrain would be in areas I was unfamiliar with, while the satellite views provided me with a good visual of the property's layout. Since turkeys roost in trees, but tend to strut in fields, I could look for open fields or clear cuts that had wooded lots nearby.
While out scouting, using the SmartMarkers to mark sign such as tracks, scratching, or droppings gave me a visual of possible patterns and roosting areas that I could reference while hunting. The SmartMarkers include weather conditions so if I found and marked fresh sign, I could reference that during future scouting trips or while hunting to compare the conditions to see if they had an impact.
6) Harvest Log
Once the hunt is over and the tag is notched, BaseMap has a Harvest Log feature where you can log your trophy and share with other app users. The Harvest Log allows you to select your species, weapon and enter all of the details of your trophy including weight, beard and spur length.
Other features that are helpful include Offline Maps that can be used if you plan to hunt in areas where you won't have cell service, as well as Location Sharing if you are hunting alone and want to provide friends/family with your location as a safety precaution or if you're hunting with a friend and want them to know where you are.
BaseMap offers two subscription types. The free/Basic version has limited features, but is a great way to give the app a try. The Pro version offers many other features and is available for $29.99/year. Use code "huntressview" at www.BaseMap.com to receive 20% off your Pro subscription. BaseMap is available for iOS and Android
Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting elk, deer, turkey, pronghorn and waterfowl. She is a team member at Huntress View, Pro Staff for Browning Trail Cameras and Brand Ambassador the BaseMap app. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.