The 5 Best States For Turkey Hunting
Russ Chastain 03.29.19
The wild turkey has made an amazing comeback in the USA, and with higher numbers of these wary fowl comes more interest in hunting them. After all, turkey hunting is one of the most challenging kinds of hunting around. To help with that, here are some of the best states in the USA for turkey hunting.
Missouri has long been popular with turkey hunters, and for good reason. They’ve got a passel of birds and often rank among the highest in terms of harvest numbers. Chances are good you won’t be alone, though. There’s a reason MO is one of the top states and competition can be stiff.
Alabama boasts a huge number of turkeys — as in about a half a million! With a ton of public hunting land available and some of the highest harvest numbers around, Alabama can be a great place to bag your bird. If you’ve ever wanted to match wits with a wary Eastern while still enjoying decent odds, it might be time to saddle the mule and head for the Heart of Dixie.
While Florida is known as the sunshine state, it’s not all beaches and condos. We have lots and lots of woods… and the only wild population of Osceola turkeys, which is important for folks who are looking for that ever-elusive “grand slam” (taking all four U.S. Subspecies: Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, and Merriam’s). You’ll have to hunt the Florida peninsula if you want to knock down an Osceola gobbler.
There are many private hunting facilities available for folks pursuing Osceolas, as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of WMAs. You’ll need to do your homework if you’re gunning for public land, because many Florida WMAs require a quota permit for turkey hunters.
If you want a variety of turkey species, Kansas has the scratch for that itch. They’ve got Rio Grande, Eastern, and Hybrid turkeys in big numbers, with the Rio Grande dominating the western part of the state. Easterns will be found NE and Hybrids more or less in the north-central portion.
The nice thing about Rio Grande turkeys, I hear, is that they’re a lot easier to call in than Eastern turkeys. To date, all of my turkey hunting has been Osceolas and Easterns. I might just have to try a Rio one of these days. An easy turkey hunt might make for a nice change of pace!
What’s bigger than Texas? Not much, my friends, and that means they have lots of dang near everything. In terms of birds, they have Rio Grande, Eastern, and Merriam’s, with the Rio Grande dominating the wild turkey population. That said, one of the biggest gripes hunters have about Texas is the relative lack of public hunting land (Alabama, for example, has three times more public hunting land than Texas). Most hunters will need to hit up a guide service or secure access to hunting land some other way.
It can be worth the hassle, though, because everything’s bigger in Texas. Toss in a hog hunt on the side and you could be eating bacon-wrapped turkey breast in no time.