Hunter Etiquette

godores

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Aug 17, 2012
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Hey Everyone,

This is my first spring turkey hunting and I've run into an issue a number of times and I wanted to get everyone's take on it.

So I hunt on public land, and am already seeing why people talk so much trash about it. Every time we have been hunting we have run into other hunters... so here is my question:

- How do you ensure that you do not set up too close to another hunter, and how should you ensure they do not set up too close to you?

We set up on the edge of a field one time and had a guy start shooting his gun in the air and yelling because he heard us calling and thought we were too close. He ruined our hunt and probably some other people's just because we couldn't see him hiding 100 yards into the woods. We saw his truck and realized that we were actually there well before the other guy, but we like to sit quiet for a while in between calls so he didn't realize we were there. My buddy and I just got up and left because our day was obviously done, but walking out, we had no clue what we should have done differently.

What obligation does a responsible hunter have to check for other hunters and is there a standard signal to alert other hunters you are there without ruining your hunt?

Thanks
 

woodsman87

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I think it should be a mutual respect between hunters to not bother other hunters, and if you see someone else it should be an honest mistake. I dont hunt much public land because of stuff like that, and my best private spot has several other hunters it is almost like public, luckily after opening weekend or two I am about the only one there.

Hunting is very dangerous, and no bird should be work getting shot or shooting someone else, but there are those people out there that try to get gobblers at all cost.

Sounds like the guy you encountered was a total jerk, and has his priorities mixed up and needs to go learn some manners. If you have his vehicle recognized, I wouldn't be anywhere near him. He may be where the best spot is, or you may have been there first, but there are those inconsiderate ones out there that are dangerous to hunt around.
 

woodsman87

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And I don't know of a standard signal that works well without spooking birds. I would stay stand up and yell in a clear loud voice so that he will no where you are. Flashlights work well in the day, alghouth I have had one time where somebody completely ignored my flashlight blinking at him.
 

PinchPoint

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Knoxville Tn
Thats part of it unfortunately!You are gonna run into stuff like that on public land, sometimes private can be the same way! My advice is to just go where others won't. Last week (private land) on my way into a farm, a guy climbed out if MY blind. That breaks all hunter etiquette in my book!! I wont state what was said on here...
 

Bone Collector

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I assume you're hunting Priest or Yanahli? I don't hunt Yanahli so I can't help you. If you are hunting Priest the thing this time of year it is going busy. The parcels are broken up, so you have two options. 1. if you see a car/truck, go to another area, 2. go in and hope you don't set up to close.

There is no way to know where someone is. The way I do it is if I get to a small area and see a ca/truck, I leave. If it is a large parcel, I make a game time decision. Most people on Priest do not set up blinds and decoys. They walk around calling and glassing fields, or will go into the woods and sit against a tree and call. This can make for a dangerous situation, but generally there is plenty of area to move around and set up.

If I see a blind with decoys I go the other way, likewise if i see someone setting up close to where I am set up I will try to let them know I am there in hopes they will move.

I hope that about covers all the scenarios. in the end though it is public land, you can't make someone move.

Also as a bit of info, if you are hunting Priest the birds will be few and far between for now, but as people give up, hunting pressure decreases and birds reappear.....
 

godores

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Thanks for the responses! I guess if the guy had followed the advice and not parked right next to us the incident would have been entirely avoided. I like the car approach, so thanks for that Bone Collector.

I've been hunting Yanahli and it has been pretty packed, but there are a ton of little nooks and crannies that I still havent explored. I guess my future plan is to have half a dozen or so spots picked out and find the one without cars nearby.

Thanks again for the advice, guys!
 

WMAn

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Williamson County
What BoneCollector said is spot on. When hunting public land with small parcels or limited access, I move on if someone is already parked. I do my best to get there first and hope others extend me the same courtesy. But, they usually don't.

Be very leery of hen calling. The hens don't call much in the spring so if you're hearing a lot of it chances are it is another hunter. For this reason, use caution when moving in on a gobbling bird.

On the other hand, limit your calling and when calling to a gobbling bird get him headed your way and shut up. The more he gobbles, the more attention he'll attract from other hunters.

After green up, scouting is your best weapon. Try to get within 50 yards of a roosted bird. If you can't see him fly down, you are not close enough. That way if somebody does come in on top of you it may not matter.
 

RUGER

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Sadly, common courtesy is often lacking in the turkey woods.
Seemingly moreso than deer hunting.

Gotta love people that park right next to ya. :D

Public land is just that though.
 

J-WO

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I hunt alot of public. If someone is parked there,I move on. Opening morning we were setup on a ridge where I knew some birds were roosting. A guy came walking up before daylight,presumably to setup on the same ridge. We flashed our lights at him when he was 100yds out,he flashed back and moved on. That's how it needs to be. I will also say that I haven't run into one jerk on WMA's in my 7 years of hunting them,which to me speaks alot to TN hunters in general.
 

RUGER

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That's impressive J-WO.
Glad to hear it.

They don't roll like that at LBL though. :D
 

woodsman87

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There are some strange folks out there too, I was deer hunting once and a guy come walking under my stand with a bow and arrow, spot and stalk hunting in october in hardwoods. He said "I think a little movement is always good"
 

ImThere

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What bone collector said is spot on
I never called on Percy to many other hunters doing it. I killed them there quietly spot and setting up where they were headed. I do call on Yanahli i usually don't see many hunters though. Most time the only hunters i see are the ones i take with me lol i call on Normandy i usually don't see people once i get off the main trails
 

catman529

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Franklin TN
redblood said:
hunt during the week and never, ever, ever hunt opening weekend
I killed a bird opening weekend and didn't see another hunter

godores, that guy who fired in the air is a total buttwipe... someimes people will walk in on your setup and sometimes you walk in on people, it's public land and it will happen. Last year on opening morning a guy walked in past me and I whistled at him, he seemed pretty nice and told me where he was setting up (closer to the roosted birds than I was set up... oh well). He ended up killing a jake right after flydown and I didn't kill anything, but it was OK... A few days later, I was hunting another area in the corner of a field and had a guy set up a blind and decoys 350 yd across the field from me, after I was already settled into my spot. After some gobblers came in behind me and one of them showed up at 5 yards and busted me, all the gobblers and hens went out across the field to his decoys and he shot one. Then the birds just started walking back toward my end of the field, and I shot the first gobbler that came into sight.

Sometimes another hunter can ruin your hunt and sometimes you both might kill a bird, so it's not always the end of the world when two are setup near each other.

All that said though, I much prefer having the woods to myself. I avoided bigger tracts of land and big fields this year on opening morning, and didn't see another hunter, saw and heard plenty of birds, and killed a gobbler before noon.
 

WestTn Huntin man

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It's been awhile since I've hunted Yanahli .My way to avoid other hunters there was with a canoe. Most hunters don't like to get to far from where they park.A lot of Yanahli is easier to access from the water.I would quietly float down stream until I heard a gobble then park the canoe. Stalk until U find a good set up then do a little calling. It is against the law to hunt from a moving boat.Make sure not to shoot or call while the canoe is in motion. Turkey's need a drink 1st thing in the morning and in the evening before they fly up to roost for the night.There are some islands in the river that have roosting trees also.
 

catman529

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WestTn Huntin'man said:
It's been awhile since I've hunted Yanahli .My way to avoid other hunters there was with a canoe. Most hunters don't like to get to far from where they park.A lot of Yanahli is easier to access from the water.I would quietly float down stream until I heard a gobble then park the canoe. Stalk until U find a good set up then do a little calling. It is against the law to hunt from a moving boat.Make sure not to shoot or call while the canoe is in motion. Turkey's need a drink 1st thing in the morning and in the evening before they fly up to roost for the night.There are some islands in the river that have roosting trees also.
I might be wrong but I think you can shoot from your canoe, it's only illegal if the boat is moving from mechanical propulsion ie. a gas or electric motor, but drifting in the current or from your paddle I think that is legal. Someone from TWRA could confirm this but I think that's what I've heard them say if I remember correctly.

Oh and how did you get back upstream in the canoe? I took my 1432 flat bottom with 5 horse motor downstream to scout an would never have made it back upstream without the gas motor. I ended up just hunting from road access (sometimes walking over a mile in) but the boat is definitely an option to hunt with if needed.
 

WestTn Huntin man

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2 different Horseshoe bends that are easy portage spots for a 7 ft canoe. Other times I used the buddy system.I'd take the bigger canoe and get dropped off or picked up.Hunted a few times with other guys and used 2 vehicles.Put in one spot and take out at another.
 

godores

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Nashville & Maury County
Wow.. I am continually blown away by how helpful and encouraging everyone on this site is. I've definitely heard some good ideas on how to proceed moving forward. I really just wanted to make sure that I wasn't out of line or missing something since he got so angry so quickly, but it sounds like I just got really unlucky that day. Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to post to the kill pics thread before the season ends! Thanks again for all the help!
 

WestTn Huntin man

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It is not unusual when hunting public land to run across people that think the spot they've picked belongs to them personally.All season long. The general rule of thumb is the 1st one there that day has Dibs.
 

Bone Collector

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-for the obvious and popular spots such as fields etc, hunt them after 9 in the morning. By 9 or 9:30, turkey woods empty out, especially of amateur hunters. Where a 10,000 acre WMA may have 50+ hunters at 8 am, there will be less 10 by 9:30, probably even 5 or less. I would rather have a solitude hunt with 1 gobble than a gobble heavy hunt with other hunters all around me. Go for the solitude in the early morning and then move in on more obvious area in the mid morning.
90% of the time I get up around 7 dilly dally get dressed head out get out there around 8. this way I see where people are and know which areas have had pressure that morning. Then i find an area with no cars (doesn't mean no one is there) and hunt there first. if i strike out, I move. often i find after 9 cars start disappearing. I will hit other spots I know no one has been in and often circle back on the areas I know people where in and vacated. Animals know when folks leave and they come out.
 

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