(Pictures courtesy of Tony J. Peterson)

Ten years in the past, I had a completely action-packed day of turkey searching on public land in central Nebraska. The gobblers sounded off all day lengthy, and between them and fairly a number of shortbeards, I known as in additional birds than I ever have in a single sit.

What I didn’t do, was kill one.

In a irritating sample that repeated itself a number of instances all through the day, I’d get a single hen, or a bunch of them, to fire-up and head my method. However they’d hit an invisible wall at 50–100 yards and finally slink off, or worse, give me a drive-by simply out of vary.

At noon, I acquired out of my blind and realized that its prime panel was glowing within the spring solar simply sufficient to trigger the birds to query the entire setup. It wasn’t sufficient to get them to dash away, however it was sufficient to maintain my tags unfilled.

My lesson realized that day caught with me, and ever since then I’ve turn into fairly meticulous with my setups and my conduct when birds get shut sufficient to actually eyeball my decoys and blind.

Pure Or Nothing

The gobblers you watch on outside TV, sprinting in to calls and paying no consideration to a blind that was popped up that morning in a wide-open area, aren’t fairly the identical turkeys lots of us are searching. On public land, this may work on opening weekend, however it doesn’t take lengthy earlier than the native birds smart up and turn into leery of the sudden presence of a blind.

Merely tucking a blind right into a patch of cedars, or snugging it as much as a deadfall, is likely to be sufficient. However on lots of public floor, you possibly can’t trim something to actually brush-in your blind, however you may be capable of stack up some lifeless limbs to offer your blind some depth. Regardless, in case you have the prospect to make use of some pure terrain to your benefit, do it! And whenever you do, contemplate all potential instructions from which turkeys may strategy your place.

If turkeys decide to your setup, wait till they’re locked-in to your decoys earlier than maneuvering into place and drawing.

So far as decoys go, assume pure. For those who’re on a two-track between two hayfields, think about how actual birds would use the lane — and take into consideration what turkeys appear like as they transfer. They virtually all the time are likely to feed and journey in the identical basic route, with the hens within the lead and the toms within the again.

For those who’re utilizing a breeding pair of decoys, make them seen, but in addition tie them in naturally to another decoys (if any) you select so as to add to your setup. This may seem to be overkill, however the entire level is to promote the setup to the entire birds in your space, and never trigger a single synapse of suspicion to fireplace off.

The Most Essential Moments

Final season, a buddy and I made a visit to South Dakota in mid-Could. We figured the strain of the early season would have died down by then, and that we’d be capable of discover some birds on public floor if we seemed lengthy sufficient.

What we didn’t plan for was wind gusting to 40 mph. This lent an added aspect to our setups that meant we needed to preserve our decoys and blinds from not solely blowing away, but in addition from transferring in any method that might spook birds.

It was a problem, however after relocating for a day setup on the third day of our hunt, I noticed three redheads coming my method. The jakes hit the 40-yard mark and stopped lifeless of their tracks. For a tense minute or two, they seemed every little thing over earlier than cautiously strolling nearer to the decoys.

When the trio lastly dedicated to my decoy unfold, I put my pin on the closest hen and let him have it, which was a reduction. The way in which these kids approached, I figured they’d see or hear one thing that they wouldn’t like and by no means provide a shot.

I’ve bowhunted turkeys on public land in lots of states, and discover these birds to be much less tolerant of little errors. From brushing in your blind, to setting your decoys in a pure method, your aim ought to be to eradicate something which may be a magnet for hunt-wary birds.

Now, I wouldn’t peg South Dakota birds because the hardest I’ve ever hunted, nor would I say that jakes are as cautious as hens or grownup toms. But these youngsters weren’t suicidal, and actually, a lot of the birds you’ll hunt on public grime aren’t both.

Turkeys virtually all the time observe an identical script, the place they’ll get shut sufficient to both imagine in your setup or turn into satisfied one thing is up. That is the second when lots of bowhunters make the error of scrambling to get into place. This opens up the opportunity of them both seeing your motion or listening to your stool squeak as you progress round. If both occurs, you’re in bother.

If the birds provide you with superior warning they’re on their method, you will get prepared. However do it in such a method that lets you be snug. You may end up pinned down with a sluggish strategy, and if that occurs, you don’t wish to transfer.

If, then again, you immediately lookup and notice there’s a longbeard staring holes by way of your decoys — freeze. Let the encounter play out so long as it must. If the gobbler doesn’t see or hear something he doesn’t like, he’s most likely going to come back in. When he does, let him get snug in your decoys. A turkey that has purchased into the setup is a hen that may fall underneath the decoy spell. That hen will allow you to seize your bow, draw, and shoot, with out paying a lot consideration to what’s happening within the blind. A hen that hasn’t absolutely purchased into the ruse and dedicated, possible gained’t.


Bowhunting public-land turkeys could be far tougher than it ought to be. However that’s the enjoyable of it. These are the birds which have encountered sufficient people to know that they’d moderately survive than threat all of it on a possible girlfriend. However, in the event you actually contemplate your blind and decoy placement, in addition to the way you’ll deal with the second of fact, the chance to purpose small will occur.

Gobbler Gear

Montana Decoy XD Turkey Decoy

Bowhunting turkeys can typically really feel extra like an elk hunt after lugging in the entire gear. To alleviate a few of that weighty burden and nonetheless arrow birds, contemplate the brand new XD Turkey Decoy assortment from Montana Decoy. The XD stands for Further Element, which you’ll see in the event you take a look at the MISS PURRFECT XD and the JAKE PURRFECT XD. Used individually or paired up, these decoys weigh subsequent to nothing and match within a daypack, making them the proper alternative for common-ground hunters.

Primos Double Bull 2 Panel Stakeout Blind

One other approach to trim weight with out sacrificing an opportunity at filling your tags, is by choosing up a blind like the brand new Primos Double Bull 2 Panel Stakeout Blind. Lined in Mossy Oak’s Bottomland camo, this super-lightweight blind is good for tucking into area edges, patches of cedars, or wherever you count on to name in a tom. It’s additionally designed with a number of viewing/taking pictures ports, and one-way, see-through partitions that let you preserve tabs on birds with out the danger of getting busted.

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