The old days of gaining hunting permission by knocking on doors are fading away fast. For those who have lost hunting spots or can’t find a place to go, try some public land.
1: Hunt during the week
Use common sense. Is there going to be more hunters on public land on Wednesday or Saturday? Try going an hour before work and making a quick setup. Better yet try roosting a bird during the weekand get in tight the next morning. In most of these situations your opportunity will be early, right after the tom pitches down. If he goes the other way-live to fight another day.
2: Have several options
Don’t limit yourself to one tom on one small tract. These can be great places to kill one but prepare for the worst. If another hunter comes in and ruins this bird your day is over. Make sure to scout the big area just up the road in case you need to go to plan B. The more ground you know, the better the chances of you finding an unpressured bird to hunt.
3: Hunt mid day
Most hunters will be sitting in the parking lot at first light. Many of them will either kill a bird or give up within the first couple hours. It might be the best plan to sleep in. You’ll see fewer people in the woods around lunch time and have a better chance of finding a lonely tom.
Note: Hens go to toms first thing in the morning when gobbling is at it’s peak. As the season gets later those same hens will leave the boys mid morning to tend to their nests. This is the perfect time to catch a pressured tom with his guard down.
Women will make men do crazy things. Same goes for turkeys. The stubborn tom that just lost his girlfriend may turn suicidal and run into the call. Other hunters are at Subway getting a foot long with a side of tag soup. Your eating wild turkey. How sweet it is.
4: Avoid the pressure
This one may be hard to do in some situations. Best bet is to find a good walking stick and lightweight pair of boots. Go further than everyone else and you’ll find turkeys that are much easier to call. Birds that aren’t hunted are hard to come by on public land. If you find one-whatever you do-don’t spook him. There’s a good chance he’ll be in the same spot again. Why would he want to move back to the spot where he saw hunters every day? Keep the pressure down and kill him.
5: Work together with other hunters
Don’t be the guy at the parking lot chewing people out for spooking “your” turkey. It’s PUBLIC land. Take a chill pill. Each and every person with a tag in their pocket has a right to be there. Be fair to other hunters and give them their space. Talk to them at the parking lot and congratulate them on their success. Share information with them and they might do the same for you.
Be good to the resource and fellow hunters that use it. Hunting access is becoming a big problem. Ask yourself this question-would you rather hunt public land with others or not hunt at all? It’s an easy answer for me.
5 Public Land Tips was last modified: February 9th, 2017 by Bill Winke