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Successfully Turkey Hunting Public Lands Day 3: What Questions Turkey Hunters Ask

Turkey hunter calling in the sunset
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Editor’s Note: David Owens from Acworth, Georgia, was the 2018 National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Grand National Senior Open Division turkey-calling champion. In 2017, he completed an almost-unbelievable feat by taking the U.S. Super Slam of wild turkeys, harvesting 49 gobblers in the 49 states that home wild turkeys with 90 percent of those birds harvested on public lands. Owens reports that, “No matter which states I’m hunting turkeys, 99% of the lands I hunt in the Southeast are public lands.” Owens started hunting turkeys when he was 13 and has been hunting them for 20 years but only has been entering turkey-calling contests for a decade.

Turkey and turkey hunter with his trophy

People always want to know how Owens hunts, in how many states, for how long, and how many turkeys he takes in a season.

  • How Often Owens Hunts Turkeys: Owens says his standard answer is, “Not enough. I always want to harvest one more turkey. However, my view of turkey hunting is not about how many turkeys I take each season. Every day I turkey hunt is a blessing, an opportunity to learn, a chance to interact with a wild turkey and a way to experience new places and different birds. I don’t measure success or failure by whether or not I take a turkey.”
  • Why Enter a Turkey-Calling Contest: “If your success in that contest depends on winning or losing, then you’ll fail more times than you’ll succeed. But when you enter a contest, if you’re taking on a new challenge and trying to perform the very best you can in that situation, under circumstances that you can’t foresee, then at the end of the day you’ve won.”
  • How Owens Gets Off Work for Three Months to Hunt Turkeys: “I’ve really got a great situation. My cousin owns a pest-control company. For nine months out of the year, I more or less run the business for him and pick up his slack. Then he’s willing to pick up my slack and take over my responsibilities in the spring, so I can devote my time to hunting turkeys.”
  • Why Hunt Public Lands: “On public lands, you’re not handcuffed to one piece of property where you can hunt turkeys,” Owens emphasizes. “Remember turkeys haven’t developed the ability to read yet. They don’t know if they’re on public or private land. Yes, you will encounter a few gobblers that have had some hunting pressure, and they may act somewhat differently than turkeys that haven’t experienced any hunting pressure. But, when you take one of those gobblers, the success is much greater than when you take a turkey that’s rarely if ever heard a turkey call before. The more land you have to hunt, the better your odds are for being able to create a dialogue with a turkey.”
  • How Owens Defines Turkey-Hunting Success: “For a successful hunt, I believe hunters should have fun and enjoy the sport of turkey hunting – whether a gobbler dies or not,” Owens emphasizes. “Any hunter who gets the opportunity to interact with a wild turkey has been given a gift to cherish. The turkey is supposed to beat you. That’s the way he survives.
    • “So, don’t be upset or disappointed if you leave with an empty turkey vest. Take all those defeats with a smile, especially if you’ve learned something about turkey hunting. You’ve had the opportunity to talk with that wild turkey, and he’s had the chance to talk with you. That’s a major win any time you hunt turkeys.”

Tomorrow: What’s Best Equipment for Hunting Turkeys

Check out John E. Phillips’ 12th book: “Turkeys: Today’s Tactics for Longbeards Tomorrow

  • hunting strategies with pros Will Primos, David Hale, Eddie Salter, Preston Pittman, Allen Jenkins, Terry Rohm, Paul Butski, Larry Norton and others.
  • information about taking turkeys with .410 shotguns.
  • box-call techniques.
  • strategies for moving on turkeys.
  • ways to hunt public-land gobblers.
  • the differences in calling and hunting Eastern, Osceola and Western turkeys.
  • the latest research on turkeys; and other information.

Click here to check out John’s 12th turkey book.

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting: Best Sellers

Turkey Hunting Tactics
This turkey hunting audiobook has entertaining chapters like: “How to Miss a Turkey”, “Hunting with a Guide”, and “The Turkey and the New York Lady”.

You’ll learn about all the subspecies of turkey across North America, how to use a turkey call, how to scout before turkey season, how to find a turkey to hunt, and what hunting gear you’ll need to put the odds in your favor to take a wily gobbler.


How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman
You easily can take a turkey if you don’t make any mistakes, but you have to know what the deadly sins of turkey hunting are to keep you from making those mistakes. If you understand how to hunt a turkey, you’re far more likely to take a gobbler than if you just know how to call a turkey.

Of course, calling is important, and if you want to learn to call a turkey, Preston Pittman will teach you how to call turkeys with box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and other turkey sounds.

You’ll also learn why Preston Pittman once put turkey manure all over his body to kill a tough tom.

When you have turkeys that strut and drum in the middle of a field, when you know there’s no way to get close enough to get a shot, Pittman will show you some weird tactics that have worked for him to help you hunt tough ole toms.

But the main thing you’ll learn in this book is how to become the turkey.

Using what he’s learned while hunting wild turkeys, he’s also become a master woodsman who can take most game, regardless of where he hunts. To learn more secrets about how to be a turkey hunter from one of the world champions of the sport, this turkey-hunting book with Preston Pittman is a must.


The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible
The quickest way to learn how to turkey hunt successfully is to either hunt with a turkey hunter with years of experience or a turkey-hunting guide. These two types of turkey hunters have solved most of the problems turkey hunters ever will face. 

Just as one size of shoes won’t fit every person, one style of turkey hunting doesn’t fit each hunter.  Each turkey-hunting guide interviewed for this book has his own style of calling, hunting, and outsmarting turkeys.  

While listening to this book, make a list of the new information you’ve learned, take that list with you during turkey season, and try some of the new tactics. Then you’ll become a more versatile turkey hunter and prove the wisdom from The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible.   


Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting (2nd Edition)
This Audible book will help you learn how to call turkeys with two of the nation’s best, longtime and well-known turkey callers, Rob Keck, formerly with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Lovett Williams, a wildlife biologist who recorded wild turkeys giving the calls that you’ll learn how to make on various types of turkey callers.


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