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How Access Routes Used by Hunters Influence Gobbling Activity

After a necessary hiatus, Turkey Tuesday is back and this one is about how access routes used by us hunters influence daily gobbling activity. Previous research has clearly shown that toms deal with hunting pressure in various ways. Some alter their home ranges, whereas some will move to areas with less pressure once hunting begins. Some toms will just hunker down and deal with pressure, going about their daily business in a way to avoid hunters. Other research has shown that hunting pressure can reduce daily gobbling activity, which nearly all turkey hunters can attest to, particularly if they’ve spent time hunting public lands. Notably, us turkey hunters often take the paths of least resistance to access areas we hunt, like the 2 successful hunters in this picture taken by Steve Spurlock. Ongoing research being conducted by Patrick Wightman is showing that not just hunting pressure, but the places from which hunters begin their hunts – namely parking areas – can influence gobbling activity. In many cases, turkey hunters are confined to using predictable access routes, such as roads and walk-in trails, associated with places where they can park their vehicles. Patrick’s work is suggesting that for every ~700 yards farther away from these parking areas, you can expect to hear 50% more gobbling. If you extrapolate that out through space, it really speaks volumes to the notion of improving the quality of hunting by being willing to get away from roads, put some miles on your boots, and get off the beaten path. The take home is clear – identify ways to access more remote areas on properties you hunt once hunting season is in full swing, and be willing to walk to reach these areas. Being willing to get away from roads and vehicle access areas will ensure that you have a much better chance of hearing more gobbling – and gobbling activity is what most influences our satisfaction as turkey hunters.

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