7 Public Land Turkey Hunting Strategies
More recently, turkey populations in several states are in a downward trend. Additionally, social media has resulted in hotspotting for both resident and non-resident hunters. Lower populations and willingness to travel have made turkey hunting tougher, particularly on public lands where birds are pressured. Some simple tips and tricks will help all hunters hunting these high-pressure areas.
Why Hunt Turkeys on Public Land?
Tip #1: Know What To Look For
Where are the open fields? Are they brushhogged, burned or planted to some type of food plot that would attract foraging hens or strutting toms? Are the open fields grown up with tall grass or brush? These types of details are critically important to understand before you hear the first gobble. Some of these features change annually, like the condition of certain fields. When a bird starts answering your call, you need to know if he can physically get to your location or if physical barriers such as woven wire fences are between you. Knowing physical barriers will help you select the best location to set up when you hear a gobble.
Knowing landscape intimately can pay off in another way as well. When the situation arises needing you to reposition, knowing where a rock wall or a thick field is located can help you conceal yourself. Contour can be used the same way. Knowing how steep a drainage is and the visibility from adjacent ridges can aid in maneuvering. Using creek beds and knowing where the high banks are located will conceal movement and can make the difference between a heavy turkey vest or a spooked bird.
Turkeys don’t like entering places where they can’t see danger. Fields with tall grass or brush are easy ambush sites for predators and centuries of evolution have taught turkeys to avoid such places. Contour can be another factor. If a gobbler is answering from a ridgetop with a drainage between yourself and him, depending on the steepness of the slope he might make the move. However, having two drainages between yourself and him lowers the odds drastically. It is always best to position yourself on the same ridge as the bird.
Fields can be an ideal location for turkeys to strut in if they are open, not overgrown, and provide unobstructed use of their best trait, their eyesight. The same goes for cedar thickets. If the thicket becomes visually obstructive to a turkey, whether within timber or an old field, they will avoid it.