Turkey Hunting Public Land Etiquette2019-04-15T15:56:36-05:00

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  • AvatarV1NC3
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    Post count: 2

    Hey everyone, long time lurker. I just wanted to check to see what the general opinion on this topic is from the fellow Iowan’s that I share the woods with. So here’s the story.

    For the last 3 weeks my hunting partner and I have been patterning birds, one group specifically. This group was on a public tract, and it was a sizable group in a very specific spot about 1.5 miles from the closest parking. We knew their roosting location, where they wanted to fly down to, and where they liked to feed. We had this group pretty well targeted. We were both acutely aware of the fact that this is public land, and there are lots of things that could happen, so we had a couple back-up areas in mind should we have seen a truck in the drive. That being said, this entire time, we hadn’t seen any trucks, footprints, or any real sign that other people had been in or out of the area, and the birds were behaving in very similar manner from the first day we saw them, so we had suspected this spot wasn’t getting much traffic.

    Fast forward to this last Saturday. We were in our spot, hunkered in behind our blind with the decoys out and everything, well before 5 a.m.. We had picked a pretty good spot that we knew was a regular fly-down and strut spot for a couple of Toms. We liked the spot because it was far enough away from the roost we felt it was pretty safe that we wouldn’t spook anything, but we had some confidence that they would still be showing up there. At about 6:45 we heard an explosion from 200 or so yards in the woods in the direction of the roost.

    Needless to say we were frustrated. I know that it is public land and everybody has equal rights to use it. I also understand that somehow they got the edge on us by sneaking in close and making something happen (whether they shot straight into the roost, I have no idea.). To add insult to injury there was a nice clump of turkey feathers laying on the ground next to our truck when we got back.

    The very next day we changed the strategy in our setup, but this time, almost no gobbling. Maybe it was the weather, maybe we got busted going in, but the birds were silent all morning. From the trees down to the ground, the only time they gobbled is if a hen sounded off loudly with some intense cuts and yelps.

    I guess so far this mostly sounds like complaining, but my question to all of you is this. If you see a truck in the parking lot, is it off to spot #2? Or are you still hunting it? Am I wrong for thinking this was a common courtesy that most hunters pay to each other?

    Note: I would be remiss if I didn’t add that this is the only time this has happened to me on public land, which I hunt frequently. So I know that the majority of folks out there are wonderful and courteous. I’m just still licking the wound.

    • This topic was modified 3 months ago by Avatar V1NC3.
    Avatarropeknot
    Participant
    Post count: 38

    If there’s a truck in the drive and you don’t know which way they went, off to the next spot. Always better to be safe.

    OldbearOldbear
    Participant
    Post count: 2787

    If its a 1 1/2 mile walk in who knows where the other person went.  Possibly they weren’t as diligent in their scouting as you were  so I don’t think I’d move on in that case.  Might depend how good your other options were.

    Mayor of Hickory Grove

    AvatarTeamAsgrow
    Participant
    Post count: 9151

    If it was truly a 1.5 mile hike back, they probably had no idea where you were. They clearly knew where the birds were roosted, and the fact that they were 200 yards away they had no idea where you were hunting. Take your lumps and fill the tag elsewhere. Sucks, but that is how public land goes.

    scruffyscruffy
    Participant
    Post count: 2403

    So is there a Paul Harvey’s “the rest of the story”?  How have the rest of your hunts been???

    AvatarV1NC3
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Thanks everyone, very interesting to see the different opinions. It was a big piece of land so it would seem that the odds of encountering each other were pretty slim, but as all hunters know, Murphy’s law prevailed. Personally, I always found that I would rather miss the opportunity on a bird than create the possibility of spraying someone else with bb’s.

     

    Scruffy, sadly that was pretty much it on that spot. I went out Monday afternoon to see if I could get a stray tom to gobble back or sight and stalk something. No bueno. I saw one tom in a much different area of the woods but it was 2 minutes to the end of shooting hours and I was a good jaunt away. My hunting partner and I do not have the tags for 3rd season, and we both have family functions so we will be off. I’m thinking I may go see if they are still hanging around during 4th season but I think at this point they have been pushed really hard (and I am really tired of making the same drive). Probably time to pursue whatever I have for private land options. If I have nothing else to show for it, I have to say that I have learned ALOT this season. So that’s good.

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