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.