7 Setups for Public Land Turkeys

Effective Tactics for Tough Toms

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Sleeping InSleeping InSleeping InSleeping InSleeping In

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1 | Sleeping In

That’s right. Sleep in. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Well, it’s not. Wait until mid-morning when other hunters are leaving for the day. Then, as everyone is leaving, slip into that honey hole you found while scouting. You’ll probably have the entire place to yourself.

Photo credit: Bill Konway/Banded

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Hunt Close to the Parking LotHunt Close to the Parking LotHunt Close to the Parking LotHunt Close to the Parking LotHunt Close to the Parking Lot

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2 | Hunt Close to the Parking Lot

Again, this sounds like it would hurt you instead of increasing the odds. It all depends on the situation, but generally, people avoid the chunk of land surrounding the parking lot because they think it gets overhunted. And sometimes it does. But that’s not always the case. Hunt close to the parking lot where other hunters might forget to check out.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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Hunt in the RainHunt in the RainHunt in the RainHunt in the RainHunt in the Rain

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3 | Hunt in the Rain

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Yep. This is another tactic to employ that will help you avoid other hunters. Hunt in the rain. Most other hunters won't. Once the rain starts to subside, find an open field or small clearing in the woods. That’s where the birds will be.

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

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The Pendulum PlayThe Pendulum PlayThe Pendulum PlayThe Pendulum PlayThe Pendulum Play

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4 | The Pendulum Play

The pendulum play is an excellent one. It’s a great tactic for when that stubborn gobbler hangs up. The caller should get behind the hunter 75 to 100 yards. When the gobbler moves left, the caller moves right. When the gobbler moves right, the caller moves left. Hopefully the bird will work a little closer with each pass. Continue doing this until the bird leaves or comes in.

Photo credit: Bill Konway/Realtree

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Silent but DeadlySilent but DeadlySilent but DeadlySilent but DeadlySilent but Deadly

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5 | Silent but Deadly

Silent but deadly. Sounds like the product of a can of bad baked beans, right? While that might be true, we’re trying to burn a turkey’s head up, not singe its nose hairs. We’re referring to using calls to kill turkeys, or the lack thereof. So if a bird is fired up but won't commit, quit calling and wait for it to come looking for that hard-to-get hen.

Photo credit: Mark Miller/Images on the Wildside

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The Double TeamThe Double TeamThe Double TeamThe Double TeamThe Double Team

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6 | The Double Team

The double team is similar to the pendulum play, but different. Both hunters are in shooting positions on different sides of the bird. But not on the exact opposite sides. You don't want to shoot toward each other. This tactic increases chances of one hunter getting the bird. But be safe, know exactly where the other one is sitting. You don't want to have an accident. Good communication is key. And who knows, maybe both hunters will come away with a bird.

Photo credit: Heartland Bowhunter

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Deer Hunt Those TurkeysDeer Hunt Those TurkeysDeer Hunt Those TurkeysDeer Hunt Those TurkeysDeer Hunt Those Turkeys

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7 | Deer Hunt Those Turkeys

Deer hunting for turkeys might sound odd, but it’s effective. Scout and set up much like you would for deer. Determine the turkeys’ patterns and use that to know where to set up. Not calling keeps other hunters off your radar and it doesn't get birds fired up for other hunters to hear, either.

Photo credit: Heartland Bowhunter

Editor's note: This Realtree.com post was first published April 15, 2016.

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Public land. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with it. We love it because of the access to hunting it provides us. We hate it because the game we chase on it is generally much smarter than their private-land counterparts.

Try these seven unique setups on your next public land hunt. You might be surprised at how well they work for you.

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