Take the less conventional approach and better your chances at a public land turkey.
There are only so many ways a hunter can improve their odds while trying to harvest a gobbler on public land. Many of them are less difficult than we think, it just takes understanding and application.
For all kinds of helpful turkey hunting tips, resources, and gear, Cabela’s Turkey Roost is the place to check. Start there, and you’re giving yourself a leg up.
Try these six tips for public land turkey hunting, and we promise you’ll at least be increasing your odds. It still takes some cooperation, or predictability, from the toms, which can be a lot to ask. Nonetheless, take these pointers to heart.
1. Scout, duh
There’s no sense in walking on to public hunting land for the first time with the expectation of harvesting something. You’ll want to do the homework, familiarize yourself with the area, and locate potential roosts, water, and other hot spots.
2. Have backup plans
There’s something funny about public lands: all of a sudden they’re full of hunters come opening day. If that messes with your initial plans, you better have backups, and backups to your backups. Again, this is where scouting comes in handy.
3. Focus on a combo of concealment and shooting lanes
Find great places to hide with even better shooting lanes to reach a bird. If you only pay attention to one of these, you’ll be less than successful. Find a fantastic combination of the two, and you’re in business.
4. Vary the calls, or else
Especially once turkey season reaches its peak, public land turkeys are going to be tired, and wary, of the same old box calls everyone has been using. Switch up your calls, it’ll pay off.
5. Watch the weather
If it’s raining, most hunters will stay home. That’s why foul weather is probably the best time to go hunting on public land. Call less and move more; the noise of your movement will be stifled by the rain, and there’s less of a need to be aggressive with calls.
6. Be the oddball
Get there earlier and stay later than anyone else. Walk three times as far into the woods as the other hunters. Set up in the thick, thick brush instead of the edge of the wide open field. Hunt in the middle of the week, and avoid weekends. The idea is to have an edge over not only the tom, but the other hunters, too.