John's Journal...

How to Successfully Hunt Turkeys on Public Lands with Tracy Groves

Day 2: Spend 80% of Your Time Scouting for Turkeys

Editor’s Note: Tracy Groves of Sykesville, Maryland, is the Regional Pro Staff Director for Mossy Oak’s Turkey Division and enjoys hunting public lands. He is a licensed minister and has been the host of the “Real Deal” TV show on the Sportsman’s Channel for 3 years. He has developed a camp called Heartwood Outdoors ( to take youngsters from single-parent families hunting, to teach them outdoor skills and to work with special-needs children.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAnother big mistake turkey hunters make on public lands is they use owl hoots to locate gobblers. Let’s pretend you’re a turkey on the opening weekend of turkey season, and you’ve decided not to gobble until after daylight. You hear a car come down the road, stop, a door slam, a series of owl hoots, and after about 30 seconds, the car door slam again, the car start-up and move down the road. So, you don’t have to be a very-smart turkey to know that if you hear a car door slam, followed by an owl hoot, there’s a pretty-good chance that owl isn’t sitting on top of that car. Hunters educate turkeys to the fact that when they hear doors slam and owl hoots that more-than likely there’s a hunter in the woods. So, when I’m hunting public lands, I don’t use an owl hoot or a crow call.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewNow, if I’m hunting a large area in Oklahoma where there’s thousands of acres, I’ll use a coyote howler instead of an owl hooter. I’m often asked, “How do you locate turkeys on public lands if you’re not using an owl call?” I spend a lot of time scouting. One of my major secrets for successful public-land turkey hunting is to spend 80 percent of the time I’m in the woods scouting and only 20 percent of my time hunting. I hunt turkeys like I do deer. Turkeys have a daily routine they follow just as deer do. If you can learn where a turkey goes, why he goes where he goes, and what time he’ll show up at different locations, then you really don’t have to call at all. I truly believe if you spend more time scouting public lands than you do hunting public lands for turkeys, you’ll be far-more successful. Now, we all like to hunt a gobbling turkey. But on public lands, I’m convinced about 70 percent of the gobblers come-in silently.

To get John’s book, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” for free, go to to download.

To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle eBooks and print books by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible (available as an eBook or in paperback),” “PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World,” “Turkey Hunting Tactics,” (also available in an audio book from, “How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman,” “The 10 Sins of Turkey Hunting with Preston Pittman” and “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting.” Also sells John’s eBooks.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Transitional Turkey Hunting for More Success with Tracy Groves

Check back each day this week for more about How to Successfully Hunt Turkeys on Public Lands with Tracy Groves

Day 1: Call Softly and Sit Long to Take Public Land Turkeys
Day 2: Spend 80% of Your Time Scouting for Turkeys
Day 3: Transitional Turkey Hunting for More Success with Tracy Groves
Day 4: Get Into Public Lands Early to Take a Turkey
Day 5: Use the 30 Day Option for Taking Public Land Turkeys

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Entry 867, Day 2