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I hunt public land that has in the past produced quite a few turkeys. I heard 1 gobble on the roost, in the same area every time I go, and nothing after fly down. I have not seen nor heard any Jakes at all. I have hunted probably 6 days at this location. I quit hunting this area for this season so I wouldn't be tempted to kill the only bird gobbling in the area, if the chance presented itself. Terrible year!
 

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Public land and turkey population. I'm sure it's down because everybody says it is. But do to circumstances out of my control (Because it's public land) I don't know if the population is down on the public land I hunt. Here is why. First, (And the biggest reason) is hunting pressure. Since covid and the Saturday openers, The public land I hunt has taking a beating! And I don't mean in turkey harvest. I've actually heard less shots in the last three years than I ever have. Is this due to lack of turkeys or the amount of people in the woods at the same time trying to hunt said turkey? Personally, I think it is the pressure. Second, several of the areas that I have hunted for years have been logged out and the turkeys no longer use that area (At least to roost on), Which in turn creates less area for turkey hunting and contributes to greater hunting pressure in the surrounding areas.

I've been hunting several large areas of public for over 40 years. Turkey hunted that same land for the last 20 years. Logging has always been something that you deal with. But the new "Orange army" now wears camo and it is changing turkey hunting on public. I will adapt (and so will you) but "Quiet" turkeys may be the new norm.
 

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As of today 10 thousand killed compared to a 3 year average of 15 thousand for the same time period. Make your own assumptions.
My assumption is that, based on the fact that the limit was reduced from 2 gobblers to 1 this year, the totals would obviously be less then previous years.
 

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more hunting pressure on public land turkeys usually doesn’t mean more birds killed, it usually means messed up hunts and silent birds
Public land and turkey population. I'm sure it's down because everybody says it is. But do to circumstances out of my control (Because it's public land) I don't know if the population is down on the public land I hunt. Here is why. First, (And the biggest reason) is hunting pressure. Since covid and the Saturday openers, The public land I hunt has taking a beating! And I don't mean in turkey harvest. I've actually heard less shots in the last three years than I ever have. Is this due to lack of turkeys or the amount of people in the woods at the same time trying to hunt said turkey? Personally, I think it is the pressure. Second, several of the areas that I have hunted for years have been logged out and the turkeys no longer use that area (At least to roost on), Which in turn creates less area for turkey hunting and contributes to greater hunting pressure in the surrounding areas.

I've been hunting several large areas of public for over 40 years. Turkey hunted that same land for the last 20 years. Logging has always been something that you deal with. But the new "Orange army" now wears camo and it is changing turkey hunting on public. I will adapt (and so will you) but "Quiet" turkeys may be the new norm.
 

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I find fewer rabbits on public land than on private, so why would more hunters not equal more turkeys killed? Are you saying most turkey hunters are incompetent?
How do you compare the level of difficulty in hunting rabbits vs hunting turkeys? Especially on public ground? Have you hunted turkeys? Especially on public ground that has been pressured a lot?
 
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I find fewer rabbits on public land than on private, so why would more hunters not equal more turkeys killed? Are you saying most turkey hunters are incompetent?
Don't forget to take into account that the limit is now 1 gobbler as opposed to the 2 that was the limit for many years.
 

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That salient fact seems to be escaping a few
That is true. It seems obvious to me that reducing the individual limit by 1/2 would have an impact on the total numbers. If previous numbers, i.e. 15k, are expected, you would have to increase the number of hunters exponentially & a whole lot more would have to be successful.
 
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How do you compare the level of difficulty in hunting rabbits vs hunting turkeys? Especially on public ground? Have you hunted turkeys? Especially on public ground that has been pressured a lot?
I think what you are trying to say is more hunters on public land DOES NOT equal fewer turkeys there, as it does for other game species, which seems counter-intuitive to me. OK. Probably all irrelevant soon anyway.
 

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IMO you can't paint all public land with such a wide brush i hunt strictly public land and the gobbling was off the charts for me every time i went out this season with the end of the 4th week being the best! i do believe the decreased number of hens in the areas i was hunting lead to increased gobbling; the toms just couldn't hook up so they would just move from strut zone to strut zone after fly down some days gobbling from before sun up to 930-10a with a short break and then re-fire up at 1130-12 for me i would have to put 2022 near the top as far as gobbling goes for an entire season, and as far as pressure goes again i say don't paint with such a wide brush the public i hunted saw very minimal pressure with most of that coming week 1, i never saw another truck during week 4 and that was on two different public lands, so my advice would be if your hunting a spot that is overrun with pressure find another spot there are plenty of spots getting little to no pressure, also the sooner more people start to realize that they aren't Dick Kirby, the more birds they'll kill on public land LOL worked for me 2 years in a row never made a call, 3 dead birds!
 

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IMO you can't paint all public land with such a wide brush i hunt strictly public land and the gobbling was off the charts for me every time i went out this season with the end of the 4th week being the best! i do believe the decreased number of hens in the areas i was hunting lead to increased gobbling; the toms just couldn't hook up so they would just move from strut zone to strut zone after fly down some days gobbling from before sun up to 930-10a with a short break and then re-fire up at 1130-12 for me i would have to put 2022 near the top as far as gobbling goes for an entire season, and as far as pressure goes again i say don't paint with such a wide brush the public i hunted saw very minimal pressure with most of that coming week 1, i never saw another truck during week 4 and that was on two different public lands, so my advice would be if your hunting a spot that is overrun with pressure find another spot there are plenty of spots getting little to no pressure, also the sooner more people start to realize that they aren't Dick Kirby, the more birds they'll kill on public land LOL worked for me 2 years in a row never made a call, 3 dead birds!
You've got yourself a "Honey-hole" there, enjoy it while it last.
 

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Population is up where I hunt both private and public. Managed habitat on private and highly diverse public. As for gobbling I had a few hunts where I had birds drumming that weren’t gobbling. Learned a lot from those birds. Those birds came to the nesting hens and would drum and strut right on the edge of where the hens were. Also had pretty typical hunts where they gobbled on the limb then went quiet. Jake numbers were up. The more habitat work I do the more I realize how much turkeys gravitate and thrive on it.
Bird Phasianidae Plant Purple Organism

Bird Purple Phasianidae Terrestrial plant Plant

Bird Purple Organism Grass Beak

Plant Green Tree People in nature Terrestrial plant

Plant Natural landscape Terrestrial plant Tree Grass
 

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I also think that land leasing has a lot to do with public land taking a beating by hunters. Most private farms are leased up and people have no choice but to hunt public.
 
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