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Tom Foolery: Outwitting a Public-Land Gobbler

Tagging a public turkey sometimes requires abandoning traditional tactics.

Tom Foolery: Outwitting a Public-Land Gobbler

After the chaos of opening weekend, toms typically retreat to the most remote parts of a public property. The farther you hoof it, the higher the likelihood of finding birds. (Shutterstock image)

According to nearly all harvest reports, most spring gobblers are killed on private land—in most cases by a large percentage. It only makes sense. There is far more private land than public, and most hunters know the private land they hunt—and the turkey flocks on it—far better than they do public land. Due to various agricultural, forest and other land-use practices that can benefit turkeys, good private land typically holds more birds than good public land.

In many ways, hunting public-land turkeys is often like hunting a completely different bird. A lot depends a great deal on hunting pressure, but generally speaking public-land birds tend to be less vocal...

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