Local Pennsylvania Turkey Hunting Opportunities on Public Land

Public Land Pennsylvania Turkey Hunting for Spring Gobbler Season

Besides the release from winter’s cold grip, spring brings with it two good things. The first is the opening day of trout season and the other is spring turkey season in Pennsylvania. The start of spring gobbler season in the state means excitement is starting to build. Public lands offer plenty of local turkey hunting opportunities in the southeastern region that you might want to take notice of!

Junior hunters get the first crack at spring gobblers. Their one-day opportunity is April 21, 2018, where properly licensed mentored youth hunters can take to the woods in Pennsylvania for a chance at a long beard. On April 28, 2018, the full statewide Pennsylvania spring turkey hunting season startsOne bearded bird can be taken and an additional gobbler can be harvested with the purchase of an additional spring turkey tag prior to the start of the season. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the PA turkey hunting regulations by visiting the PA Game Commission website as part of your preparation for spring turkey hunting.


Securing a Local Gobbler on Public Land 

Local turkey hunting has many advantages. Several of them include being able to snooze a few minutes longer in your own bed and having more time to scout areas since you are close to home. However, even the best places to hunt turkey in Pennsylvania, including those in your backyard, still require you to put in the time to find and pattern birds.  

You should certainly study all the turkey hunting tips and tricks available, but the real key to bagging a local gobbler on public land is scouting. Even though these local areas are “home” for many turkey hunters, you still have to put in the work before the season.

Get into the field well before the season and find the birds. As soon as the winter weather starts to break in late March, you should be planning scouting trips. The objective of these trips is to find food sources and water sources, as well as to study areas where turkeys will be roosting and strutting. Scout from afar. The last thing you want to do is pressure birds more than they already are on public turkey hunting lands while scouting. It is important not to disturb the local flock’s routine in any wayObserve from a distance and identify areas where birds should be when the season starts. Keep the turkey hunting gear in the truck during scouting trips. The less you train gobblers on public land to a turkey call the less educated and reluctant they will be to come in when the season rolls around.


Public Land Local Turkey Hunting Opportunities in Southeastern Pennsylvania

There are two prime Pennsylvania turkey hunting areas in the southeast region of the state, and more specifically in wildlife management 5B, where you can bag a spring gobbler.

State Game Lands 145 

At a little more than 2,800 acres, State Game Lands 145 sits to the southwest of Mt. Gretna in Lebanon County. This mostly forested public tract has mature oak forests, mixed hardwoods and multiple herbaceous openings along with several young forested patches from recent timber harvests. All ideal locations to ambush a pressured bird while spring turkey hunting.


There are two spots to check out on this public tract. The first is gate 145-01, which is located off of Pinch Road. This access spot leads to a large wildlife opening where turkeys will often come to later in the morning to dust and feedScout travel areas birds use to reach the opening and set up for an ambush. The other spot to check out on this Game Lands is the access trail at gate 145-50 off of State Route 241, south of the town of Colebrook. From here, you can reach a hardwood knob where gobblers will strut after leaving their roost from the lower bottomlands. 

State Game Lands 156 

If you are considering where to hunt turkey in PA in the southeastern part of the state, State Game Lands 156 has to be on your list. Just down the road from Game Lands 145, State Game Lands 156 offers a completely different local turkey hunting experience. At approximately 5,200 acres, this larger public land tract sits on either side of State Route 322 in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties. The land that comprises this area is mostly mountainous oak forests with few wildlife openings. If you are used to hunting big woods gobblers, this public turkey hunting tract is for you.


On Game Lands 156, the go-to place here is the access area at gate 156-25, which is accessed from Dead End Road off of Speedwell Forge Road from State Route 322. The gated trail will get you access to a large hollow with Kettle Run flowing through it. The hollow leads to a large oak flat. Gobblers will often roost on the southern exposure of this hollow and move to the oak flat throughout the morning in search of food. Set up well before light to secure your spot in case of pressure from other hunters. In this spot, the trick is to wait it out. Patience pays as you will more than likely run into other hunters. However, if you can stick it out till noon, a good gobbler can be had. 

In conclusion, there are some really good Pennsylvania turkey hunting opportunities right here in southeastern part of the state. To be successful, utilize your local outdoor pro staff and public mapping centers to find the best places to hunt turkey in Pennsylvania this spring.

Turkey Hunting Gear | 7 Fundamental Items to Have in Your Turkey Vest

Essential Turkey Hunting Gear for Spring Gobbler Season

Every spring new turkey hunting gear hits the shelves of your local hunting shop or is populated throughout your social media feeds. New calls, decoys, blinds, camo patterns, chokes, ammo, or vests can quickly become overwhelming for any hunter. Once turkey season does arrive you might find yourself with an overloaded turkey vest or backpack. In this scenarioit’s important to identify only the essential and fundamental gear you need for the turkey hunt. Having the right turkey hunting gear is much more important than having a lot of it. The list below should help you prioritize when packing your gear and give you confidence that youre going into turkey season with the right setup for a successful hunt!

3 Rules for Deciding What Turkey Hunting Gear Goes to the Field 

If you’re working on your turkey hunting gear list, these three rules will help you decide what you should ultimately pack in your turkey hunting vest.  

  1. Carry only the turkey hunting basics: The assumption is you will already have your shotgun, camo clothing, and boots. But by staples, we mean what gear you need to close the deal while spring turkey hunting. This is different for every hunter, but things like your favorite turkey calls, decoy(s), and extra shotgun shells are the basics to include in your vest. 
  2. Woods gear: Woods gear can be a flashlight, small first aid kit, knife, insect repellent, and other items that are needed just about any time you’re afield. Again, keep it to only the basics to get you through the hunt. 
  3. Improving concealment: Out of all the turkey hunting tips, concealing yourself while hunting is the most important. This is hard to do, but if you pack a few items like a facemask, gloves, sea, and shooting stick you can improve you concealment. These items keep you comfortable so you can stay hidden from approaching gobblers.

The List | 7 Fundamental Items to Carry  

The best turkey hunting vests have plenty of pockets for storage. However, as discussed above, the goal should not be to fill them all up. Turkey hunting gear can really be narrowed down to seven fundamental items. 

1. Turkey calls – Bring a few different types of calls you’re confident in. Two variations of mouth calls and either a box call or slate call can usually get the job done even if you’re local turkey hunting on public land.

2. Insect repellent Bugs can be bad in the spring depending on the weather. Turkey hunting 101, never leave your ThermaCell at home. Especially on those later afternoon hunts the second half of the season youll need bug protection to stay still and comfortable.
3. Multi-tool This piece of hunting gear is invaluable. Not only does Gerber Multi-tool give you a knife for field dressing but the suite of tools come in handy to rig a decoy or cut a shooting lane.
4. Turkey Decoy(s) Decoys don’t work in every situation but having a compact one, such as the Montana Decoy Miss PurrFect, with you can make the difference on days when birds are shy coming in.
5. Clothing, Facemask, and Gloves – Besides your hunting clothing, a full, breathable facemask and thin camo gloves like the Primos Stretch Fit Gloves are a must. Pack two facemasks on hot days so when it gets sweaty or you leave it sitting while running and gunning gobblers you have a backup.
6. Extra Turkey Loads – 5 turkey shotgun shells should be more than enough for a day spring turkey hunting. If you need more than that, you probably should just call it a day!
7. Personal items Pack a small plastic bag with some snacks, toilet paper, hunting license, and also include a drink if you are going on an allday turkey hunt.
Let’s be honest, the quality of turkey hunting gear is far more important than the quantity. Stick with this fundamental turkey hunting gear list and pack your vest with quality items. Doing so will let you walk turkey season with the confidence needed to be successful.

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