Break out the backpack and camp out for a wilderness turkey this spring. The farther you go into the mountains or deep woods, the better your chances of not seeing other hunters—and of finding birds that have never been called. Here’s how to plan an overnight hunt, what to bring, and tactics for finding a gullible gobbler.
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Start with your state’s wildlife agency website. Identify remote open-access areas with the best hatch counts and population estimates, and the lowest harvest statistics. Download a public-land map, then pick up the phone. Ask for the terrestrial biologist; once he realizes you’re willing to do some literal legwork, he’ll often help you pinpoint hotspots in the great sea of wilderness. I’ve even hung up the phone with GPS coordinates in hand.
A weight-saving pair of inflatable decoys, your shotgun, a few shells, a bivvy sack, and a lightweight sleeping bag cover the basics. Ditch the stove and bring premade meals plus a water filter. Pack a reliable headlamp and a pair of lightweight 10×42 binoculars. Anything bigger is too much in the timber; anything smaller won’t help much when you glass from high up. Pare down your call arsenal to just the favorites, but make sure you bring the loudest box call you can find and a shrill locator. I like a hawk screech, which carries well and few hunters use.