Public Land hunting

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
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kygobbler
 
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 3:49 am
Location: KY

Public Land hunting

Postby kygobbler » February 28th, 2014, 8:25 pm

I am thinking about doing some public land hunting this spring. I have never hunted public land before so I'm wondering if you guys can give me some tips. The only time that I will see this land is when I hunt it. It is an old strip mining land that is rough but has turkeys from what I hear. I have read that the birds there are really hard to hunt so I will probably wait till the last week of the season to hunt it. I'm hoping everybody has given up by then.

If you use Google earth and look at property, what are you looking for that gives you clue that it will be a good spot to hunt or not. I have tried this on the property that I already hunt and nothing really sticks out to me that turkeys are there.

Also, what are some unwritten rules besides common sense. Like don't walk through someone's decoys and use them as your setup. I don't want any logs thrown at me. :lol:
Is it turkey season yet?

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 4:26 pm
Location: Reeseville Wisconsin

Re: Public Land hunting

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » February 28th, 2014, 10:57 pm

If it's a big enough area to let you move without being seen, that will help you a lot. Without being there much and not knowing the lay of the land, food sources and roosting trees, is going to be tough. What I've found on late seasoned public birds that have had a bit of hunting pressure on them, it's a lot like fall hunting, birds won't travel far off their natural travel paths, they stick tight to them and don't venture very far off them. They like the middle of open areas to feed and strut in where they can be seen at a distance, and will spend quite a bit of time in them, unless the jakes run them off? If there are a lot of jakes in that area a gobbler won't be talking much on the ground, but he doesn't have too because every hen in that area knows a boss gobblers strut zones. If the boss gobbler has been taken, then there will be quite a bit of gobbling to establish the new boss. Myself, I like to look at an open area that has quite a bit of small trees around it, like box elder trees or an area that has quite a few dandelions starting to grow, they are both a great food source, and areas that have quite a few pines, big and small.
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charlie elk
 
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Re: Public Land hunting

Postby charlie elk » March 1st, 2014, 2:17 pm

kygobbler wrote:If you use Google earth and look at property

From a detail perspective, In most areas Google earth is almost worthless. The property boundaries are almost never accurate nor the vegetation cover. Most aerial photos are out of date or contain overlays. The satellite images are of some value depending on when they were taken and the time of year. You can get a good idea of the topography.
Most game departments have a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) of some kind on their sites. These are much better from a hunter's point of view.

These days due to the modern farming practices in many cases the public land is better hunting because the habitat is so much better. On areas where more pressure I will hunt later in the day after most have left. From experience the vast majority of hunters leave by 9- 9:30 to get breakfast or whatever.
The maps I use are HUNT by onXmaps, they sell a chip for Garmin that displays land boundary and features on my GPS. Accurate to a meter.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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Gobblerman
 
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Re: Public Land hunting

Postby Gobblerman » March 5th, 2014, 9:26 am

One big mistake hunters make when hunting new country, especially if it is a large area with few and scattered birds, is to start hunting before finding out where the turkeys are. You always want to find the gobblers before you start hunting them. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it is often a real issue for hunters.

When I hunt an unfamiliar area, the first thing I want to know is how many gobblers there are around, where they are on the property, and where they are roosting. It is a rare turkey hunting area that does not have gobblers that will do some gobbling on the roost at first light in the morning, and often, they will do the same at last light in the evening (although this time period is not nearly as reliable in some places).

Therefore, my first course of action is to use my first, early-morning, first-light period to find gobblers that are gobbling on the roost. Getting maps that show road systems of the area, topography, and preferably land status (public/private holdings in the area) are an essential part of this pre-hunt planning. Studying the maps, and then planning a sound gobbler-locating plan for the first (and sometimes subsequent) mornings is one of the most important keys to success.

A key element in this process for me is the use of a good locator call, or calls, that I have confidence in to get those gobblers that are around to shock gobble on the roost. Some hunters disdain the use of locator calls, preferring to sit and wait for gobblers to announce themselves. That is a very limiting attitude when hunting large areas. The time spent sitting and waiting for a gobble is time wasted when you can use a locator to get a gobbler to respond right away, mark his location, and then move on to another spot.

Why spend time finding locating more gobblers when you hear one already? Because on public land, there are probably going to be other hunters around,...and they may well be hunting the same birds you are going to hunt. Finding as many gobblers as you can,...and their roosting sites,...gives you flexibility in choosing where to start hunting. There are almost always gobblers that roost in places where they are going to be hard to hunt,...or are likely to have other hunters on them,...and there are almost always gobblers roosting in places that have obvious set-up potential, or are far enough away from a road, or there is some other reason why you might have them to yourself.

Choosing the right gobbler to hunt before starting to hunt can be a key ingredient to success. This is why it is so very important to assess the area you are hunting, and locate the gobblers that are there, before you start actually hunting them. If you are in the woods are the right time, and use the proper tactics for covering country getting those gobblers that are around to announce themselves, you will be taking a major first step to success.
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kygobbler
 
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Re: Public Land hunting

Postby kygobbler » March 5th, 2014, 9:47 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. The property has 45,700 acres broken down into 4 different sections. So there is a bunch of land to move around. If I strike out this spring then I can go back in the fall and learn more from the land and the birds.
Is it turkey season yet?


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