Hunting Public land when you have access to private land?

Gellar

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The Driftless Area
This morning when I was scouting turkeys this thought came across my mind. There was a few other trucks around the public area also scouting for turkeys, I presume. I have been following several groups of turkeys on both private and public land. I prefer to hunt the public land because those turkeys are harder to pattern and all of the other problems associated with hunting any critters on public land adds to the challenge and reward for me. Also my style of hunting, run and gun, fits better on the large tract of public land. However there are also many turkeys that frequent ag fields that I could gain permission to, I actually already have permission to them I just need to let the landowner know I will be in there.
So here is my question:
is it ethical for a person to hunt public land that other people are probably going to be hunting and competing for the same birds when that person could hunt private land that has no shortage of turkeys and they won’t be competing against a person who probably is not fortunate enough to have access to private land but no doubt would probably like to have access to private land?
 

RobertD

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Jul 16, 2020
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Southwest Georgia (GA)
This morning when I was scouting turkeys this thought came across my mind. There was a few other trucks around the public area also scouting for turkeys, I presume. I have been following several groups of turkeys on both private and public land. I prefer to hunt the public land because those turkeys are harder to pattern and all of the other problems associated with hunting any critters on public land adds to the challenge and reward for me. Also my style of hunting, run and gun, fits better on the large tract of public land. However there are also many turkeys that frequent ag fields that I could gain permission to, I actually already have permission to them I just need to let the landowner know I will be in there.
So here is my question:
is it ethical for a person to hunt public land that other people are probably going to be hunting and competing for the same birds when that person could hunt private land that has no shortage of turkeys and they won’t be competing against a person who probably is not fortunate enough to have access to private land but no doubt would probably like to have access to private land?
I don't think it's an ethics issue, but it's thoughtful gesture if you choose to leave birds to the next person and chase em on private.
 

WestKyHunt

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Feb 24, 2020
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Far West Kentucky
I understand the reasoning.
I have 2 private propertys i can hunt but will be focusing on public this year. Mostly because on one property the turkeys only come through the part I can hunt a handful of times a season.
The other property I can only hunt with my buddy (his families land). Once our schedules line up, the hunting is almost too easy. There are roughly 50 turkeys on 70acres of land and come readily to decoys.

I have grown tired of sitting in a blind with decoys, which led me to trying runnin' & gunnin'. That relit my fire for turkeys.
The only way I can hunt this way is on public, so I find myself there often during the weekdays
 

Gellar

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Jan 31, 2014
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The Driftless Area
I understand the reasoning.
I have 2 private propertys i can hunt but will be focusing on public this year. Mostly because on one property the turkeys only come through the part I can hunt a handful of times a season.
The other property I can only hunt with my buddy (his families land). Once our schedules line up, the hunting is almost too easy. There are roughly 50 turkeys on 70acres of land and come readily to decoys.

I have grown tired of sitting in a blind with decoys, which led me to trying runnin' & gunnin'. That relit my fire for turkeys.
The only way I can hunt this way is on public, so I find myself there often during the weekdays
I’m in a very similar situation minus having to wait for someone to hunt with. I could almost set my watch to the turkeys reaching the fields and that is not enjoyable to me.
 

WestKyHunt

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Feb 24, 2020
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Far West Kentucky
I’m in a very similar situation minus having to wait for someone to hunt with. I could almost set my watch to the turkeys reaching the fields and that is not enjoyable to me.
Since we can kill 2 turkeys here, I like to go a couple of times there so I atleast have 1 bird in the freezer
 

hank4elk

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SW NM
Have access to millions of acres of public to look for turkeys,but if any were around on a small private and regulars,no brainer.
 

Carl 9.3x62

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Laramie, Wyoming
Hunt wherever you want to. Good for you that you have access to private. That in no way means you have to hunt it though. But the very fact that you are questioning it makes me think you already know the answer for you. Go with your gut.
 

hank4elk

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SW NM
Part of me agrees, but part of me says it’s like a card game and I don’t want to play my best cards the first day?
Like needle in a hay stack,daily, in the Gila. Turkeys.
Where I lived in CA we called them yard birds & you could shoot one off the porch. They actually have become a problem.
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Iowa
I’ve done a lot of turkey hunting on private and never had any luck. I’ll hunt the best spots I have access to, whether that’s public or private. I have maybe 8 good turkey spots on public within about an hour of where I live, so even though I could probably knock on some doors and get access there’s no reason to.

No need to feel bad/guilty about hunting on public - you might be surprised in how many of those trucks you see out scouting also have access to private, or could easily get access. Yet they’d prefer to hunt public regardless for whatever reason. Most deer and turkey hunters I meet in the field in IA also have access to hunt private land.
 

dcopas78

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Dec 4, 2013
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Decatur, OH
I've killed turkeys on both here in southern Ohio. I live in what is considered Appalachia so it is considerably hilly, wooded, and the turkeys are tough to hunt. They normally don't respond to calling on private or on public. I prefer locating them, using some stealth and trying to figure out where they are going so I can ambush them. It is pretty tough on either private or public around here. That being said, I have nearly 10k acres owned by some close friends in the timber business that I have free reign to hunt. It is much like hunting public in that there are very few ag fields. But I'm not passing up a public land turkey if I think I can get in on him. I'll hunt where I'm seeing and hearing turkeys and you should too. I wouldn't feel guilty about it in the least, despite the access I have to private.
 

Shangobango

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Aug 5, 2019
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Location
Louisiana
I think it is fine to chase them on public when you have access to private.

If you get more satisfaction hunting on public, like many of us here do, go for it.
 

TheBenHoyle

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Dec 5, 2016
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Illinois
I would agree with the resounding sentiment that you should hunt turkeys were you enjoy hunting and where you can find them.

On the other hand, gaining access to private land to hunt is such a difficult proposition in many cases. If you were able to gain exclusive permission by being the first to knock on a door or make the right connection, and the second guy in line was frozen out of that opportunity, but then you decided not to take advantage of that permission and that second guy never got a chance, that seems less than ideal. But then that second guy might have been able to go after one on public too...

I just know that there are a lot of people I know who aren't hunting because they have nowhere to hunt. Access is a real obstacle.
 

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