Once you have a few local tips or narrowed your search to some areas to investigate, pull out your CSI kit (binos, backpack and woodsmanship skills) and start putting boots on the ground. As you walk the forest roads, two-tracks or trails in your scouting area, look for tracks, droppings, feathers. Look in the dry roadbed for strut marks, tracks and feathers, indicating a potential strut zone for a lonely tom. Look at the emerging forbs and grasses in the meadows, perhaps some dry areas on the fringe of a meadow where potential dusting areas (denoted by a shallow depression or bowl of sandy dry soil with feathers and a lot of tracks converge) and look for roost trees, potential nesting cover
for the hens and finally, maybe just maybe, see a turkey or two hanging out in the general vicinity. Look at all the “evidence”, consider what you have seen or collected and decide if this place you have scouting has potential. If there is no evidence, probably time to head to the next place. If this place has some potential, pull out that picnic basket and head for a ridge with some good visibility and glass for a while. While glassing, use good technique and glass slowly, glass each area three times before you look to the next section of your search. Remember you are looking for movement or shapes, something dark that should not be there. Think about looking for a black beetle in the grass in your backyard; that is what a turkey looks like at 1000 yards through binoculars.
If the “picnic” has gone well, you may be able to stay in the woods till the sun sets (tell her you want to enjoy a beautiful sunset with her) and hear toms gobbling heading to the roost. Try using a locator call (crow call, coyote call or even a small air horn) to urge a tom into responding with a shock gobble. I stay away from using actual turkey calls while scouting or roosting birds but others will tell you there is nothing wrong with it. Each hunter has to develop his own style and techniques. If you can get a response, mark that location on your map and plan to return to the area during the season to see if the birds are still in the general vicinity.
When attempting to locate Merriam’s, you will probably repeat the scenario above many times. Once in a while, you get lucky and find a good place on the first or second try but that is rare. Look back at question 4 in the article and decide how hard you want to work for that bird. Stay with it and you will find birds or give it up and go fishing.