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How To Hunt Turkey on Public Land | Tips & Gear Reviews From The Hunting Public

How To Hunt Turkey on Public Land | Tips & Gear Reviews From The Hunting Public
February 4, 2021

Hunting turkey on public land comes with an added challenge because of all the pressure they experience on a daily basis. Aaron Warbritton from The Hunting Public came to Gearbox Talk to explain how to handle highly pressured birds on public land, what factors he takes into account when picking a spot to call from on public land, how to use turkey locator calls, what his go-to turkey locators are, what his tried and true calls for those first turkey interactions in the morning are, how do he varies his calls throughout the day, what he recommends for a beginner starting to call turkeys, how calling varies in the spring and the fall, and the biggest mistake beginners make when calling turkey on public land.

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Gear Mentioned:
Woodhaven Combo Cut - Turkey call pack
Half Strut Jake Decoy
Hen Decoy
Strutting Tom Decoy
GoWild Vintage Bottomland Hoodie

Keep Up With The Hunting Public

- Website: https://www.thehuntingpublic.com/
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Brad: if you're ready for turkey season give me a yelp I'm working on some new buttons here

i know I am well sort of I need to work on my calling and now's the time to do that turkey calls are musical instruments do you think a professional pianist would not practice all year than show up to dust off the keys for a performance no the time to practice is now because your big performance is coming the audience is a woods full of gobblers and they will not be entertained by crappy concertos concertos concertos what is it whatever you may know Aaron wore britain better as Aaron from the hunting public these guys have blown up over the last few years because a they make great content and b they have a tremendous ability to show up on public land and get it done every time today Aaron is going to share some of that knowledge he's earned and we're going to talk through things like hunting high-pressure birds on public land how to pick the best spot on public locator calls spring versus fall calling the biggest mistakes people make on public land while chasing turkeys decoys are they go no go and general calling advice that's a lot packed into one show and we're about to dive right in like a gobbler after an old raspy hen but first I need you to subscribe mostly I need you to do this for you so that you find more great turkey content here as it rolls out and I do have a lot more coming but secondly I just need constant self-assurance and getting subscribers makes me cooler or so the internet has told me just kidding don't do it for me do it for you alright enough cackling let's talk turkeys this is gearbox talk with aaron warbritton

 aaron warbritton from the hunting public how's it going man

Aaron: good dude how are you doing

Brad: well thanks for joining us for a little gearbox talk here you guys are all over the country chasing birds turkeys we're talking about deer anything you guys can hunt you're hunting it on public land a lot of times you do some private but you know you guys have have really done well at showing up and and you know finding birds which we're talking about today with turkeys how do you handle highly pressured turkeys on public land

Aaron: oh that's a tough answer you you you go in there and we honestly look at pressure the same for turkeys or deer it's like you go in there and you look at spots you're looking for boot tracks you're looking for trucks at the parking lot you're looking for trucks parked off the side of the road and you're keeping tabs on these areas and you'll notice a lot of times when you find an area where you haven't seen a truck for two or three days in a row and you go in there a lot of times there's game back in there and there's a reason for that but that's why you constantly are on the move checking for pressure because if you don't keep moving and looking at that you know hunting pressure on public land is not it's not one size fits all it's constantly changing

Brad: right yeah that's an interesting answer of watching for the people first so many people lead in with the game sign they're looking for but for you guys it's more looking at the access points and deciding where not to go more or less that's interesting what other factors are you guys taking to account when you're you know trying to find that first spot to really sit down and start calling from when you're chasing turkeys

Aaron: actually it probably comes before that we we try to get to high spots or open spots where we can hear turkeys and that's that's the best way that we found to locate them if you can hear them from a distance or if you can glass them from a distance during the day then you can get in there closer before you start even making a few calls there's there's a lot of instances I'll give you a quick example where we'll pull up along the edge of a blacktop road and there'll be a private pasture out there that runs for 400 yards and on the back of it is the woods that are public and if there's no cars coming we'll shut the truck off real quick hop out and listen maybe I'll hoot her coyote howl and try to get a bird to gobble off the back of that pasture in those woods and if we hear one then we'll drop a pin on it and we'll devise a plan to get in there close to where we heard that turkey and then begin calling to it but it's the location first

Brad: yeah that's really interesting you kind of mentioned a couple of the calls are those your two main go-to's for locator calls

Aaron: I would say that al al screech and who I use that a lot because it carries really far I also will coyote howl because it carries real far crows work as well anything high pitched and natural that will carry can work tremendously well for locating birds but you got to be in the right spot in order to do that if you're down in the bottom of a hole with tons and tons of thick cover around you your sound is not going to project near as far as it would if you were way up on the top of the ridge calling down into some open river bottoms below you

Brad: I'm curious you know I kind of mentioned that this shows for for a lot of times people are learning first time or trying to get better at turkey hunting how much do you have to master those locators calls I mean obviously with turkey calls you got to be able to talk the language but turkeys will sometimes you know they'll respond to a car door closing how much have you found you got to be masterful with a locator versus actual calling to the bird as a turkey 

Aaron: well it's certainly helpful and something you should work on as you're progressing as a turkey hunter but you don't have to use that stuff a lot of times just listening just using your ears and being very attentive is what can tip you off to you know bird's goblin people they don't realize when they get into turkey on the turkeys gobble and they're when they're close they're really loud but when they're really far away you have got to you've got to strain your ears in order to hear them in a lot of situations that's why I go back to the listening thing like try to be out there in perfect conditions when it's really calm maybe on an early sunday morning when not everybody is driving around on the roads where you got lots of road traffic in the background or whatever can get to a hot spot where you can hear just focus on using your ears more and when you go to listen for turkeys don't listen for just one minute stand there and listen for 10 15 minutes or more because that turkey may only gobble once but that may be all that you need in order to get a pinpoint on their location

Brad: yeah I know you guys are moving in on a lot of turkeys once you locate them but I'm i'm thinking of you know those morning routines for and a lot of new hunters will just wear out that yelp call like they stick with that what's your tried and true calls that you'll kind of go through your rhythm of and let's say it's in the morning and I know all this stuff varies on scenarios and everything but let's just say conditions are right you've got birds located let's even say pre-dawn you know maybe maybe they're still in the roost what do you guys kind of do in a series of sequences and walk us through what that looks like

Aaron: well if there's turkeys and they're vocal on the roost and we're moving trying to get in tight to them a lot of times I'm not falling I'm trying to use woodsmanship and get as close to those birds as I can or get in front of where I believe they're going to go once they pitch down so I may not say a thing to them until they fly down on the ground I mean it depends on how tight I can get to if I can get within 100 yards of them on the roost I may call to them a couple times and what I want in that scenario is for the turkeys to answer me so if I call really soft and a bird doesn't the bird doesn't gobble back then the next series you know a minute or two later I'll increase the volume so that I'm hoping he can hear it that time and then if he answers me back I probably won't call again until he hits the ground because there is their perspective changes a ton once they fly down you know they can see everything from up top but then once they hit the ground they're like oh no where's she at so that's what you need to hear that that call

Brad: that's a great point so you're not doing as much of like the fly down cackle and all that you're more just trying to convince them there's a bird down there

Aaron: yeah more times than not I will use cackles and call aggressively on the roost just depending on the situation but in general I don't I don't say much I mean focus more on trying to get to the right spot to call than actual calls in themselves

Brad: right alright so so once you've got birds off the roost in the morning as things kind of start to heat up you know how are you varying your calls throughout the morning and then throughout the day

Aaron: I'll probably I'll start to get more aggressive with them depending on the scenario like a if a if a bird and let me know if you want me to to actually demonstrate some of this stuff at any point I got some calls here

Brad: yeah we'll do that in a second

Aaron: if a bird flies down like what we were just talking about and he flies down just over a ridge out of sight from it maybe 100 yards away I'll pour it on him right there I'll call you know fairly aggressively at him with some cutting and some yelping I want him to hear me and know that I'm interested and then I'll shut it down because once I know he's heard me and i've gotten him fired up then he hopefully is going to come in there looking for me

Brad: so you kind of you kind of go with that mindset of not over communicating but once they know you're there just cutting it off and making them curious and wonder where you went

Aaron: yeah yeah and that can all change you know throughout even one the course of the hunt I'll go quiet and let the turkey gobble and do his thing once he knows I'm there and if he starts to come in but then he hangs up I may change my calling tactics I think the most important thing when it comes to turkey calling is don't don't lull yourself into one set of calling don't don't try to just do a five note yelp every 30 seconds the entire time that you're out there because turkeys don't behave that way they raise their you know their inflection and their excitement you know depending on where they're at in their day and which other turkeys they're talking to so don't be afraid as a turkey hunter to throw something different at him you know if you're quiet and the thing's not coming in and it's been an hour or whatever and he's still gobbling then turn up the heat right you know right

Brad: so what what's your go-to call man what are you using to to do most of your calling on turkey hunting

Aaron: I use a mouth diaphragm call for the most part and I got a whole pile of them here I got a bunch of different cuts and whatnot i've been using this combo cut yeah for about 10 years now and i've got 15 or 20 different ones sitting right here right now the thing with mouth calls is everybody's mouth is different so if you're just getting into calling turkeys with a diaphragm call it's good to get you a half dozen of these things all different you know different different brands right yeah absolutely different cut styles different latex thickness whatever and just practice with those until you find one that suits your mouth best that you can make sound most realistic then you go out and get you some more of that same style and practice the different vocalizations with it

Brad: so zoom is notoriously terrible for calling examples it almost always mutes you but let's give it a go here and see if we can get a little bit of sample of your turkey calling

Aaron: what kind of coll would you like to hear

Brad: let's let's say you got one hung up

Aaron: oh if I got one hung up and he's 100 yards yeah


Brad: well done that that kind of went in and out I'll do my best to fix it in post but awesome you you guys have a ton of great content too so we won't dive too deep into the how to calling and more kind of interested in the tactics and the gear today do you box call at all are you guys mostly using diaphragms

Aaron: no we use box calls and slate calls and crystal calls and whatnot I don't pack a box call much anymore I usually just have a good loud glass call with a couple of different types of strikers with me and my vest and I don't use it very often the only time when I use it is when I'm trying to locate birds at a long distance say 400 yards or more or if I'm hunting in high wind conditions or something like that most of the time I'm using these different diaphragm calls because that's what I can make sound most realistic

Brad: right right what do you what do you recommend for a beginner let's be real clear here on what they should try because diaphragms are a little tricky but when you're first getting started out what do you recommend to somebody that's trying to let's say it's their first year turkey hunting

Aaron: I call rather I grew up using a push-pull call which is very basic box call you know and we called in all sorts of turkeys with that thing just learning how to make light little subtle clucks and just those very simple yelps the trick is being able to make those sounds at the right time from the right spot you know and then you can practice all the rest of these calls as you go slate calls they get box calls are easy to learn on as well depending on the brand that you get and mouth calls if you go with something like a double read instead of a three reed or a four recall or even a single read call to start with you'll you'll start getting your position right and all you want to do is just make sound out of that thing initially and then you can start to work on yelping and stuff

Brad: yeah yeah that's a great point also for the beginner what do you guys recommend or or what's your thought process around run and gun versus a blind

Aaron: either or I to be honest both can be very effective it sort of depends on the person's disposition and what they want to do you know if I take a kid or a new hunter out there turkey hunting and they don't really want to walk around and beat their feet all day they'd rather sit and just kind of watch nature than a blind is a great option you know when a lot of times in certain scenarios a blind may be the better option if you have a small piece of private land you can't really run and gun on it you gotta wait for the turkeys to come to you so that may be a good choice but if you have a younger person a younger kid that's real active you know we've got a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old in our house and there ain't no way I'm gonna get them in a blind for more than five minutes so I can you know we can run and gun and move around on the turkeys and stuff but I think it's good to try both honestly yeah I like that advice a lot of people would say with a kid you want to do a blind because they're moving and they can watch a tablet or whatever like i've seen bunch of people's opinions on that but I like your point of like they want to be moving so why don't you move you know it's like that's more exciting for them you might blow some birds but that that's hunting in general you know you're like I get spotted by turkeys all the time when I'm deer hunting like that's gonna happen no matter what speaking of deer hunting and turkey hunting overlapping for a little can you talk a little bit about for the beginners how that calling approach is going to vary spring versus fall

Aaron: I it doesn't vary a whole lot for me I mean I'll use more kikis and stuff in the fall trying to get birds you know younger turkeys to commit but I wouldn't worry about it if you're a beginner I would just focus on your your basic calls like clucking cutting yelping yeah and then the different variations within yelping you know you can yelp like three times like that or you can sit there a live hand she might yell just non-stop for 30 seconds you know 30 or 40 notes in a row right I would just focus on mastering those initial calls and and then trying those at different times and in different variations

Brad: that's great advice going back to public land a little bit you know if somebody doesn't have access to private and they're looking at public land I'm kind of curious on on what you think some of the bigger mistakes people make when chasing turkeys on public

Aaron: I think a lot of people get go to parking lots and they walk down the main path and they I mean it's just the path of least resistance right it kind of goes back to what we were talking about a while ago but don't think like other hunters think about locations on the landscape on the public land where people aren't as likely to go and I think you'll have better success doing that so if there's a parking lot up there with 10 trucks in it for example maybe think about backing off half mile down the road and just going into a block of woods where there's no road you know right and just walking in there and seeing what you find you'd be surprised I think what you come up with 


Brad: yeah most of the turkeys i've busted deep into public are like what you know it's like the least place you were expecting to even see one because it's the furthest away from wherever else they would have interaction that I mean those things can hear and see you coming from so far away you got a factor you know next to a trail hundreds of yards they're going to be gone you know they've they've heard you come or heard anybody coming through a long time before you yeah last question here and I already kind of know the answer because we chat a little bit before the show but I want your opinion on why you know talk through decoys if you're using them if you're not using them and your opinion on them

Aaron: I don't use them much anymore I used to use them all the time and they work tremendously well some of the other guys in our group use them still have good luck with it with a jake decoy a half strut jake I mean we've killed them over hen decoys and strutting tom decoys pretty much anything and everything that you could imagine but I don't use them much anymore just because I think it's more personal preference I don't like packing them around in the woods and I like getting in the in the woods and 


Brad: you're at a little bit more of an advantage if they can't see a decoy with the way you hunt that way you're not giving them that eyesight they kind of got to come over that horizon or around that bend to see what that was

Aaron: yeah it doesn't make for the the most glamorous video footage sometimes all you get is their head popping up and then they put because they see you and they get ready to run off so you got to shoot them right then but yeah when you're hunting in the timber or anywhere that's got a lot of rolling topography mountainous timber big woods anything like that sometimes it's good to just learn how to talk to turkeys and make them come looking for you 


Brad: yeah yeah they can work really well on field edge i've had like if you're if you're hunting a farm you know I i've had some success in pulling them in that way I think that's really from the turkey hunters i've talked to like the guys who are much better than I am and I am absolutely not the turkey hunter to take advice from I have not put in nearly as much time on turkey as whitetail so I I'm always learning from you guys as well but pretty much everybody i've talked to if it's field edge great if it's not to take your method you know it's better to keep them curious on where that bird went than to show them the other thing I'll say on decoys too I did my hand at the flat decoy one time nice to carry when it when the wind blows it and it whips around and looks at the hen and it realizes it's like whoa that just tripped me out a little bit I'm out of here hey man this was great dude I appreciate you coming on and talking a little bit here and and helping people learn and I'm pumped for turkeys I know you're getting ready to head out on some turkey trips where can people follow along with you to see all the great turkey content that you guys are working on and pumping out this year

Aaron: they can go to youtube and follow the hunting public also amazon prime facebook instagram and tick tok we'll be starting the turkey tour in early march this year down south and just working our way north hunting public land from state to state should be a lot of fun

Brad: awesome man good luck with it and thanks for coming on

Aaron: no problem

Brad: alright take care


thank you Aaron if you haven't check these guys out you got to go to their youtube channel we'll put a link to that in the show notes also if you didn't heed the calling earlier to subscribe I hope you see now why you should we have awesome content like this rolling out every single week as always all of the gear mentioned is in the show notes if you buy this gear we probably make a commission if we make a commission we get to donate a portion of our proceeds into an outdoor non-profit said outdoor nonprofit is raise em outdoors they teach kids to hunt fish hike camp shoot all that good stuff so when that package of new turkey calls shows up tell your spouse this really wasn't a purchase for you it was about the kids also do you see this sweet mossy oak hoodie that I have on the one with the GoWild logo I bet you did and I bet you want one but we have some left lucky you now I can't speak for the science of this but I'm pretty confident this hoodie was mostly responsible for my 2020 bird that broke my skid streak of two years with no turkeys so if you need a little help albeit not scientific but totally magical might I suggest one of these for just 39.99 shipped directly from gowild hq go on with free shipping that link's in the show notes too alright that's it for today I am out

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