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How to find turkey hunting land this spring.
Field Guide -Hunting Tips

How to Find Hunting Land for Turkey Hunting This Spring

The first challenge for all hunters is finding a solid piece of hunting land. Every hunter wants exclusive access to a great property. However, that is not always the case. Most hunters join the crowds and hunt public land, while others head out to private land plots to pursue birds. Whether you hunt private or public land, you can achieve success.

On the surface, the thought of taking to the woods to shoot a turkey seems simple. Listen for a gobble, move in its direction, make a few imitation calls, and take your shot. After all, they have brains the size of a peanut and lack a strong sense of smell. 

However, once you take to the woods, you will quickly realize chasing turkeys requires a distinct skillset. So, how can you find the land you need for the best turkey harvest

We spoke with Joe Griffin, an avid and experienced turkey hunter, for an overview of all you need to know about finding and accessing turkey hunting land.

What Makes Good Turkey Hunting Land?

When scouting for ideal turkey hunting land, search for rivers and waterways. Turkeys need water almost daily and can rarely be found far from a reliable water source. 

Also, a turkey habitat must have trees big enough to get them off the ground and out of reach for night roosting. Ideal turkey hunting land displays an excellent nesting habitat, open enough for hens to go through but closed enough to protect from predators. 

Turkeys like open, brushy spaces and grasslands rich in forage. Grass-rich areas also provide safer nesting sites. 

Turkeys Can Adapt to the Land

These birds are incredibly adaptable and can live in many different conditions. From roosting on a powerline to residing in a neighborhood backyard, turkeys find homes in a variety of spaces. 

One key to finding your target turkey hunting location is considering topography. In our HuntWise App, utilize the USGS Topographic Map Layer to see elevation lines within the land. Use the map to find old growth on steep banks or the sides of a river. 

Since turkey roost in high locations, topography maps are a key tool. HuntWise satellite maps are also great for uncovering food sources and spaces of old-growth where turkeys tend to roost.

A turkey roosting in the evening, how to find hunting land concept.

Learn Turkey Behavior

Understanding turkey behavior can help you find the best land for your hunt. 

For example, turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour, fly twice as fast, and make use of distinct calls to warn others in the flock. These skills make them objectively difficult to hunt. 

However, turkeys are not the stealthiest species on the planet. If you look closely for the signs and understand their basic behaviors, they will often lead you right where you want to be. 

Turkeys are opportunistic foragers and spend the majority of their day scratching in leaf litter, chasing bugs, and milling for seeds. Here are the primary behavior patterns turkeys follow.  

Food and Water

Turkeys love to eat young green grasses. When given the chance, they’ll also fill up on fruit, nuts, and insects. 

After a hard rain, turkeys can likely be found in a farm field scavenging for worms. Additionally, turkeys need water almost daily, so hens rarely nest far from a reliable water source such as a creek, spring, seep, or pond.  


Although turkeys use forests for cover and roosting in the tall hardwood trees at night, they also like open and brushy areas for feeding, mating, nesting, and rearing their young. 

Turkeys depend on a mix of open fields, pastures, and forests for survival.  


It pays to understand turkey roosting habits. 

Roosting in trees in an important element in the life of a wild turkey. Turkeys may use traditional roost sights night after night but generally use different sites and move from tree to tree. 

Generally, they select the largest trees available and roost as high in them as they can comfortably perch.  


Just like humans, turkeys talk to communicate. 

Their vocabulary consists of 28 distinct calls. Each sound has a general meaning and can be used for different situations. 

Male turkeys are notorious for their iconic gobble, which, unlike other calls, is given with a fixed intensity. You can listen to all the sounds gobblers make on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s compiled Wild Turkey Sounds page.

A hunter watches for a turkey while using a decoy.

Public Land Turkey Hunting

If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, public land can produce just as much success as private land. Despite the bad reputation that public land hunting gets due to pressured hunting conditions, some of the best turkey hunting can be found in overlooked river bottoms or right off a two-track in a large patch of public hardwoods. 

The first step to finding public land is scouting. Utilize the HuntWise Public Lands Layer in the Huntwise App to navigate boundaries and find opportunities for less pressured gobblers. The public land layer helps uncover major access points and overlooked sections of public land, giving an instant edge over other hunters and the opportunity to hunt birds that have seen little to no hunting pressure. 

Across the board, veteran public land hunters agree that avoiding human interference and finding lightly hunted areas boost success considerably. When searching for land, look for smaller plots of public land surrounded by private land. Largely, avoid paths near heavily trafficked areas of major access points.

A hunter uses the HuntWise app to find land for turkey hunting.

Private Land Turkey Hunting

Due to decreased pressure generated by whitetail or waterfowl hunters, private land hunting is easier to access in the spring. In most states, getting private land to hunt deer is tough. 

Usually, most people with land to hunt on will hunt that land themselves or let their friends and family hunt their lands for deer. However, acquiring permission to hunt turkeys by knocking on doors and asking if the landowner will allow you to hunt their turkeys is much easier due to decreased pressure. 

Fostering a relationship with landowners in the spring may give way to an opportunity for you to bowhunt or deer to hunt the same plot of land in the fall.

Learn more about finding land for turkey hunting in the video below. 

How Do I Gain Access to Private Land?

In the HuntWise App, the Landowner Boundaries and Contact Information layer puts the most comprehensive landowner data from all 50 states in the palm of your hand. Once you find your desired piece of hunting land, click on the landowner, and the app will provide you with an address or phone number. 

Here are some tips for improving your chance of success when contacting landowners for permission to hunt private land: 

  • Be respectful
  • Write letters
  • Provide references
  • Make an impression 

Again, building good relationships with private landowners can improve your hunting success year-round!

Close-up of a hunter using the HuntWise app, how to find hunting land concept.

What Are the Best Times for Hunting Turkey?

Since turkeys nest in trees and on the ground in wooded areas, one of the best times of day to hunt is first thing in the morning. Get out to your blind early and listen for the yelps, cackles, and gobbles of turkeys as they start in search of breakfast. 

Because turkeys are most active during mild weather, it’s been estimated that they are the most vocal in temperatures of 60-69 degrees Fahrenheit. Much like humans, their activity slows down if it is too hot or cold. In this way, temperature can play a significant role in the noise level of wild turkeys. 

As a general rule of thumb, turkeys are most active during calm, clear days in the morning and early afternoon hours. Additionally, turkey activity generally decreases with bad weather conditions, including wind and rain. During extremely wet and rainy days, turkeys are neither vocal nor very active.  

Find the Best Land With HuntWise

From planning your turkey hunts to e-scouting, HuntWise is the #1 app for turkey hunters. Our app can help you stay one step ahead with live weather reports, weather forecasts, sunrise and sunset times, and species-specific turkey predictions. 

Start your spring turkey season well with a free trial of the Huntwise App! Download it today. 


Content updated March 1, 2024.

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