Most turkey bowhunters likely began their careers chasing longbeards with shotguns, which is a fairly natural progression. If you’re one of the many who have made that transition, you know bowhunting for these regal birds is a whole different ballgame. Especially, if the goal is hunting public land. The good news? There’s plenty of help available when it comes to finding turkey bowhunting hotspots.
Scouting and careful planning for any upcoming hunt are great ideas, no matter the quarry. When the goal is a tom turkey by bow, and you’d like to bag one on public ground, these two ingredients become critical. What if you’re strapped for time? Or simply want to be as efficient as possible? Relax. Your new best friend is a HuntStand Pro subscription, and there are many reasons why.
HuntStand Pro Advantages
Most all hunts start with determining a promising location, and with HuntStand Pro you’re just a few clicks away from finding a suitable spot. Maybe even better, you can begin searching right now, from the convenience of your home and using your phone or your desktop computer. Using the Hunting Lands and Public Lands
layers will instantly show you promising public tracts nearby, and then you can drill down further. If your goal is locating tracts with a good mix of woods and agriculture, ensuring places where turkeys can roost and feed, it’s a simple matter to find these areas using additional HuntStand map layers. I’m talking about the Satellite and Monthly Satellite layers, which can help show crop fields, but also exactly what is planted, where green fields might be, and more.
And HuntStand Pro will help you drill down further yet. To help you get a feel for the lay of the land as if you’re right on site, click the 3D mapping layer and you’ll see and “experience” the exact elevation changes as you move through your chosen tract. If you haven’t tried this cool feature, you need to.
And with HuntStand Pro, you’re never out of options. Let’s say you show up to your chosen public tract and six cars are in the only available lot. Hey, it happens. You could let HuntStand lead you to another public tract, or you could go another route. Maybe you spend the morning knocking on doors on promising private tracts, with help from HuntStand Pro’s Property Info feature. Simply click on a specific land tract and up pops a screen with the owner’s name, property address, and mailing address, along with tract size in acres. You can even search by the owner’s name, instantly showing all tracts he or she might own. If you’ve been hunting a while you know having that detailed info in the palm of your hand, covering the entire nation, is a serious game changer.
Boots On The Ground Scouting
If you develop a basic hunt plan via the detailed HuntStand map layers, it’s time to consider some boots on the ground, preseason scouting to further increase your odds for turkey success. As you walk your chosen tract try to pick out exact spots where birds might cruise through, while dropping pins and marking obvious strutting or feeding areas, or maybe even potential roost trees if few are available. And if you’re scouting includes evening fly up on into darkness, and you’ve remembered to bring your calls, use a different color map marker to designate a verified roost site, when roosted gobblers talk back.
Once on site another goal, especially for bowhunters, is to determine possible ground blind setups. Knowing where and how you might set up, long before the season opens, will save you plenty of last-minute (read predawn) scrambling. Setting up a blind in the dark is not fun in a place you know well, but it can be something else in a brand-new chunk of public land.
Also when marking (and maybe ranking) promising setups, remember to consider what your shot picture will be. Beware that when you set a blind with a great commanding view, it will often leave you watching distant birds that might strut and display but not commit. It’s often better to choose tighter setups that can make for boring sits, but can also lead to more birds committing to your decoys.
Whether an area is covered in sign or it’s strangely absent, consider hanging a few trail cameras to help complete the local turkey picture. A few well-placed cams will show you who is strutting down the two-track near your number-one blind location. And even better, you’ll know precisely when it happens. Few things are more helpful than trail cams for nailing down daily feeding and cruising patterns.
Fine-Tuning Your Plan
There are more questions to answer with on-site scouting. Exactly how do you best access your carefully chosen blind sites? The answer is dropping some very precise pins on your Hunt Area map in daylight, along a very precise route. This will ensure that in the predawn darkness, you can simply reference your illuminated HuntStand screen. You’ll know instantly if you’re on course, and you won’t crowd a roost tree, or skyline yourself. A stealthy approach for turkeys can pay big.
Through it all, keep track of your many findings. HuntStand lets you do this quickly with notes in your app, so you can develop a solid winning plan. The best plans come complete with a several different options. How many is enough? Remember that when it comes to hunting public land, a smart turkey bowhunter can’t have too many options. If one spot doesn’t have birds, or is packed with too many hunters, take note and move on.
When you’ve logged in HuntStand Pro a series of promising spots very near each other, but on separate tracts, you’ve hit the motherlode. Congratulations are in order, because you’ve given yourself every chance for spring turkey bowhunting success.