First public land hunt, any advice?

BHC

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I'll be traveling to central Al this Friday afternoon, hoping to find the path less traveled and locate some turkey! I guess I'll jus feel them out sat morning, hopefully givem what they like... I'll carry I jake & hen decoy in my vest in case the set up calls for them... Primary call will be a diaphram, will also carry a slate and a glass pot call, also a box. I'll carry my haint gobble call but doubt I'll use it being public land... I'll be carrying my Mossberg 935 w a .690 jelly head choke tube with hevi shot mag blend 3.5" 5,6,7 shot. If my younger brother doesn't have baseball practice, he and my dad may tag along. Be nice to get them on their first turkey...
Any advice specifically related to public land? How to park, what to look for, calling, etc.?
 

BHC

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Yes I guess, I didn't know they weren't before.. In the outdooralabama website, it said decoys permitted where the turkey seasons are listed by county..
 

woodsman87

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Good luck, you will probably need alot of it. I grew up turkey hunting in AL and down there, especially the public land is as tough as anywhere. I would not use a decoy on public land. I would get to my spot 2 hours before gobbling time, maybe earlier. There will be hunters everwhere.
I would be prepared to walk alot, and if you are going to the Talladega National Forrest or the Chocolooco Management area, it is really mountainous.

If I located one on the roost, I would get as close as I can, but will be tough as open as the woods are. Once I sat down, I wouldn't call to him in the tree at all. If you do, I would limit it. Wait till he flys down and call very soft and sparingly, just enough to let him know you are there.

I probably wouldn't try to blow a locator call if you are listening from the road. Hunters have probably already done this everywhere by pre-season scouting the past two weeks. Them turkeys get sharp fast.

This is from my experience on Choccolocco and Talledega National Forest, it may be different if you aren't going here.

good luck buddy, My dad and cousins are getting to go in the morning, but I can't until next week. So jealous

P.S. Another big tip. Google earth land you are hunting. Look for pastures, food plots, hayfields, thickets, whatever. I know that Choccolocco has some food plots planted, and Talledega has some pasture/field land and borders other pastures.Look for logging roads, and any information that may help you. Also, if the google earth picture is taken in winter you should know where the pine trees are, and we know that pine trees are good roosting sites. Look for creeks, turkeys love to roost above creeks, do not know why, I just have observed over the years that they do.

Do alot of walking/scouting through hardwoods. Turkeys are still probably feeding alot on acorns. Look for scratchings that are fresh, and sit and wait as long as you can stand it. Also, if your working a hardwood ridge, please listen and pay attention. A big flock of turkeys is pretty loud while scratching in the leaves. Look under pine groves for likely roost spots. Look in food plots for droppings tracks, dusting, etc. Glass and look out in big pastures. Them turkeys down there love to strut in them pastures.

Just hunt and have fun!
 

Southern Sportsman

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If you find one, dont "make him" gobble any more than necessary - be it owl hooting or calling. Every gobble he makes is liable to attract other hunters.
 

catman529

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good luck, expect to see other hunters, but try to get away from obvious spots where people will just go and listen for birds. If someone walks in and sets up in your area don't be discouraged unless he spooks all the birds away... I killed my first longbeard when another guy came in after me and set up a blind and decoys 350 yd across the same field I was hunting. I ended up getting busted by one gobbler at <5 yards and they went out to his decoys, he killed one, and they came back to me and I killed one.

Are you going to stay all day? Catching em strutting before they go back to roost is another possibility. I came this >.< close to killing one on sunday evening of opening weekend last year. I made a cluck and purr and for some reason that spooked him. So don't call too much like I did....
 

AT Hiker

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Where in AL are you going? Talladega NF is huge and on both sides of the state, then yo have a few WMA's as well.

I would say get a map and study the terrain, look for the larger un-broken areas (areas where there is little to none private). Might want to google earth it and make sure timber has not been harvested recently in the area you are going.

Remember hunting closes at 12 or 1 pm on the WMA's.
 

woodsman87

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AT Hiker said:
Where in AL are you going? Talladega NF is huge and on both sides of the state, then yo have a few WMA's as well.

I would say get a map and study the terrain, look for the larger un-broken areas (areas where there is little to none private). Might want to google earth it and make sure timber has not been harvested recently in the area you are going.

Remember hunting closes at 12 or 1 pm on the WMA's.

Yes make sure you know your rules for the WMA's. Talledega has WMA's enclosed in it, make sure you know what is going on.
I had some success in Talledega, but it is tough hunting. I wouldn't trade it for the private places I have now, but it is a decent public place with enough huntable turkeys on it. It is fun hunting when you can stall all day and hunt for turkeys. The spots in Cleburn, Calhoun, and Clay counties were just beautiful woods.
 

BHC

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I'm going to Sam R Murphy in Marion county. I've googled earth it found three starting points to check tommorrow.. I jus want to get away from the majority of ppl...
 

BHC

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I been trying to get in touch with the area biologist to find out where everyone goes, aka where not to go. Roads used most etc. like I said I've got 3 areas picked on map no idea which is best..?
 

woodsman87

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I cannot help much on Sam R. Murphy, never been or know anybody that has been. But most public birds will be very very tough to kill, and there will be hunters everywhere, especially it being opening weekend.
 

BHC

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Well went to Sam murphy today and found a good starting point, quite a bit of sign. Just hope there talkin in the mornin! And hope wind stays down till lunch time!
 

AT Hiker

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Just got back from Talladega NF, not one single bird made any noise on the roost. The only bird we heard gobble was this mid-morning and it was a jake...needles to say he made his way back home to TN.

The interesting thing is the birds here in middle TN are a couple weeks ahead of those southern AL birds, even though the weather is more conducive there.
 

woodsman87

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BHC said:
What all good public land is there in bama north of tuscaloosa?

Never been to this one, but I hear talk of Freedom Hills WMA in Colbert County to be ok turkey hunting. It is well north of Tuscaloos. There is another WMA in Waterloo, AL. It is very close to TN state line. Right below Wayne or I think Hardin Co. TN.

But their season probably doesn't open until April 1st.
 

woodsman87

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AT Hiker said:
Just got back from Talladega NF, not one single bird made any noise on the roost. The only bird we heard gobble was this mid-morning and it was a jake...needles to say he made his way back home to TN.

The interesting thing is the birds here in middle TN are a couple weeks ahead of those southern AL birds, even though the weather is more conducive there.

I believe it is always like this. I have hunted both states for many years. The bama birds are probably farther along, but they are a different type of turkey. They do not do near the gobbling, in most cases, that they do up here. Especially them Talledega NF turkeys.
 

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