For the die-hard turkey hunter, there never seems to be enough birds in the bag. When your tag is full on your home turf, it’s time to look elsewhere to pursue your passion.
Hunting out-of-state can make for some of the best adventures. And when it comes to a prey as illusive as a gobbler, hunting on new terrain makes it all the more challenging.
Before you plan your next out-of-state turkey hunting trip, however, check the local hunting laws and apply for an out-of-state hunting license as soon as possible. Every state is different with their seasons and deadlines.
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But first, it’s important to narrow down your objectives. If you want to experience all of what North America has to offer for turkey hunting, you must understand the four main types of birds and one hybrid.
Here are five types of North American wild turkeys and where to hunt them.
Turkeys found on the eastern half of the United States including hot spots in New England states are known as Easterns. These are the most widely available subspecies of turkeys and North America and therefore make for some of the most accessible hunting.
Among the Southwest and the Central zones exist the Merriam turkey also known as prairie gobblers. Spread throughout the badlands, the hot spot for these birds is in western South Dakota, but you’ll also find them in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Some white-tipped fans can also be found in Washington, northern California and even south-central Utah.
While the Rio turkey, known for being near the Rio Grand in Texas, western Oklahoma and Kansas can even be found in Hawaii where the birds have been trapped and transferred as part of a wildlife management strategy. While Texas has the most game birds, it may bust your budget if your looking for travelling on a shoestring. For a more affordable option, look toward western Oklahoma to bag this bird.
When it comes to an all-around bird that might show characteristics off three types of North American species mentioned so far, look toward Nebraska for a hybrid breed. Here you’ll find a plethora of hunting options well under $1,000.
For one of the priciest turkey hunts you can find, but well worth it if you’re truly out to capture the grand slam is the Osceola subspecies of North American wild turkey. If you have a hunting permit in another state, you might be able to swap it with someone in Florida to avoid the hefty out-of-state fees. Otherwise look for public land in the northern part of the state for an affordable option.