For spring turkey hunters looking to extend their season or those who just want to make bootprints where they haven’t before, the solution is simple—an out of state turkey hunt. Start planning now to up your odds of killing an out of state gobbler. Here’s some tips on how to plan an enjoyable and (hopefully) successful out of state spring turkey hunt.
Outfitted vs. DIY
The first decision you will need to make is whether you will hire an outfitter or plan the hunt on your own.
Do it yourself hunts are cheaper and offer more freedom, but you have to do EVERYTHING yourself. This includes finding property to hunt, finding turkeys, calling them in, shooting them, cleaning them, and making your own arrangements for food and lodging.
Outfitted hunts usually include food and lodging and sometimes a guide. They also tend to have access to better hunting grounds that the outfitter has pre-scouted, making the likelihood of success greater. If you decide to use an outfitter, ask for a list of references and call to see how their hunts went. If an outfitter won’t give the names and numbers of references, keep looking.
Pick a State
Spring turkeys are legal game in every state except Alaska, northern Mexico, and southern Canada. This puts some out of state toms within driving distance of just about everyone.
Many states display information such as harvest data and hunter success rates on their websites. Calling state wildlife officials can also give you a good idea of the hunting opportunities a state has to offer before you plan your trip.
Choose a Hunting Location
Once you’ve chosen the state you will hunt in, you need to decide the specific location you will hunt. If you’ve hired an outfitter, this will probably be decided for you. If not, look into state wildlife management areas, game lands, and state and national forests. Some states also allow hunters to access private lands through walk in programs with landowners.
The idea is to know exactly where you are going before you leave home.
Long Range Scouting
When you’ve decided on your hunting area, it’s time to start looking at maps. Since you probably won’t be able to scout the area before your hunt, use Google Earth and topographical maps to learn as much about the terrain as you can. Knowing the location of hills, streams, and clearings can help you figure out which direction a tom is most likely to travel and set up accordingly.
Pack Light but Pack Right
There is nothing worse than being hundreds or even thousands of miles from home and realizing you forgot something important (i.e. prescription medication.) Avoid this scenario by making a list of everything you will need on your hunt. The sooner you start making this list the more complete it will become. This also saves you from trying to remember everything in the excited moments before you depart on your journey.
Hunt Like You Mean It
When you finally reach your hunting location, get out and hunt. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have immediate success. The harder you keep at it the more likely you are to find turkey sign or turkeys.
Don’t let quiet toms or the presence of other hunters get you down. Keep bringing your A game until you experience success or it is time to go home. Remember that confidence in your skills and a can-do attitude are some of the most important things you can take to the woods.