Public land turkeys can be tough to hunt.
Hunting pressure is often intense and the birds have usually had some educating encounters with hunters. Scott Ellis grew up hunting public land turkeys in his home state of Florida.
Watch the video to learn his keys to taking down one of these hunter-wise toms.
Scott’s right. The biggest problem you’ll run into while chasing public land turkeys is other hunters. The best way to avoid this situation is to hunt where others won’t or don’t; far from roads or in overlooked corners of the hunting area.
Since the birds you’ll be chasing have heard and seen it all, they are not likely to come charging in to aggressive calling like their private land cousins sometimes will. Adjust your your strategy accordingly.
Call softly to imitate a hen that’s just as nervous as the gobbler you’re trying to attract. When you think you’ve waited long enough for a gobbler to come in, wait another 15-20 minutes before making a move. Public land turkeys often come sneaking in slowly and silently.
The quiet nature of public land turkeys can also work in your favor. Once you’ve located a bird and setup, your goal should be to get that turkey killed with the least amount of gobbling, since a fired up tom will more than likely attract unwanted competition from other hunters.
Scott also mentions hunter etiquette in the video. If you hear another hunter working a tom, move on as quietly as possible. You’d want them to the same if the tables were turned.
Public land turkeys are tough, but tagging one is that much more rewarding. Use these tips while hunting your local National Forest or WMA this spring and you’ll see more success.