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Finding a new honey-hole and gaining access to it.
Written by Big Game Camera Man on Friday, April 3, 2015
Finding a new honey-hole and gaining access to it
If you take my advice this Spring to look for that new hot spot, in your scouting locate as many flocks of turkeys as you possibly can—remember that you're looking for both hens and toms. When you find an area with a great turkey population, its time to knock on doors. Treat it like a business. Dress clean-cut , never in camo. People—including land owners—who aren't hunters often are intimidated by camo clothing. Don't show up looking like a member of the Charles Manson family (although I bet he would have made a pretty damn good turkey hunter!).
Two more important things to know when you're approaching a landowner: 1) Ask if there already are people hunting turkeys on the property; if the answer is yes, just move on and try somewhere else. Respect other hunters. 2) On small tracts of land (the kind where I film most of my kills), be very aware of the safety zone. A hunter must be far away from any neighboring homes, occupied buildings, and public roads. Safety comes first when your turkey hunting.
If a property looks like it's holding birds, I am very interested. The land owner could be young or old, but I prefer to stop and talk to senior citizens, if possible. They most likely don't hunt and they always can use help around their property. For over twenty years, my secret for gaining access has been to offer landowners my services free of charge for the rights to film hunts on their land.
The land owner has something you want—a property that's crawling with wild turkeys. When approaching him or her about hunting access, you need to be creative about what you can offer in exchange.
You and your hunting partners can offer services such as: doing a spring clean-up around their front and back yards; or borrow a ladder and offer to clean out their gutters; or maybe offer help with the grass cutting this Spring. You can trim bushes and hedges, or offer to mulch their flower beds, or make arrangements to have a cord of firewood delivered. You can pay a local person to plow snow from their driveway. You can have the Sunday paper delivered for six months, or offer a gift certificate to a local restaruant. If somebody in your hunting party is handy, you can offer the home owner small repairs such as plumbing, fixing a leaky roof, doing a small electrical job, doing some painting, or giving their car a tune up. Even something as simple as a fresh cut Christmas tree and a bottle of wine in early December could win people over—that often works for me.
Any one of these services or small gifts could interest a property owner. The best tip I could ever give you while you're knocking on doors, is to ask the local mailman. The mailman sees wildlife all year long and may tip you off about that new hot spot that's teeming with gobbler activity. Just take the time and ask.
My message should be clear: gather information, do research in the best areas, introduce yourself to many landowners, then decide on the property that works best for you. It's that little slice of heaven that you can call your own, where Mr. Big lives--that barrel-chested, beard-dragging 5 year old. He's out there, you just have to find him. Then, one crisp, early-May morning, deliver him the goodies, shoot him square in the snot locker. Then the celebration begins! Be safe, happy hunting!
About The Author
I’ve been in the business of filming hunts for 24 years now. I have hundreds of hours of...