Editor’s Note: Avid outdoorsman Jerry Lambert of Battle Creek, Michigan, has been hunting turkeys for 15 years and has been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for 7 years.
Here in Michigan, many of the farmers believe that turkeys destroy their crops. Turkey hunting is so new to Michigan that many people who deer hunt don’t turkey hunt. Last year I heard a fellow talking to one of his friends. He said that he deer hunted his property, but he didn’t turkey hunt on it. Immediately, I asked him, “Do you mind if I turkey hunt your property?” He replied, “Not at all, come on.”
Last year I had two private lands I could hunt. One was a 250-acre farm where I took my turkey. The other private land was a 40-acre farm. Getting land to deer hunt in Michigan is tough. Usually, most people who have land to hunt on will hunt that land themselves or let their friends and family hunt their lands for deer. I've found that acquiring permission to hunt turkeys by knocking on doors and asking if the landowner will allow you to hunt their turkeys is much easier here in Michigan.
When I use the term, scouting for turkeys, I not only mean getting out in the woods where turkeys roost, travel and feed, but also before the season, you may want to consider riding the roads looking for farms where you may be able to ask permission to hunt. I realize that every state is different. In some states, obtaining permission to turkey hunt is easier than other states. But just remember, the hunter who knocks on the most doors and asks for permission to hunt private lands usually always will find more land to hunt than the hunter who doesn’t.
Turkey hunting is a great sport. I've had as much fun learning how to hunt turkeys as I've had actually hunting turkeys. I've also learned that taking other people with me and teaching them how to hunt turkeys is often more fun than my taking the turkeys. You can get a great deal of knowledge about how to hunt turkeys and how to call to turkeys in books and magazines, and on the worldwide web and television. But I think the most important thing to remember is: the fun of turkey hunting really only occurs when you’ve scouted for turkeys, you’ve found a place where you think turkeys should be, and you go into the woods and start listening for turkeys. Finally, you use your turkey call to begin to speak to the birds and have those birds talk back to you.
Jerry Lambert isn’t Doctor Doolittle who talked to the animals, but he has found that he can talk to turkeys, they can talk to him, and he can carry on a conversation with these turkeys and sometimes convince those gobblers to come within shotgun range. Even if he doesn’t go home with a turkey in his vest after every hunt, he always goes home with new knowledge about turkey hunting and has enjoyed being in the outdoors, trying to find turkeys that will talk to him. Lambert’s written two outdoor books, “Trophy White Tales” and “The Hunting Spirit,” and both can be found on Amazon.com.