Where to hunt Wild Turkey
Wild turkey is one of the great successes of hunting-funded conservation. A hundred years ago many conservationists believed the species can’t survive in the modern agricultural environment and is doomed for extinction. Now, with the eastern turkey range covers half of the country, and together with Osceola turkey in Florida, Rio Grande turkey on the Great Plains, Merriam’s turkey in the Rockies, and transplanted and hybrid populations in many other localities, there’s is some turkey hunting in just about every US state. In addition, you can hunt Gould’s and ocellated turkey in Mexico.
You can find a wild turkey hunt for as low as $250-$300, but that would most likely be a fall hunt, often a semi-guided one. Spring season hunts in the USA are typically within $700-$1,000 range. Expect to pay $2,000-$3,000 for a more exotic species like Gould’s or ocellated turkey.
Tags, Licenses and Rules
Most wild turkey populations are numerous enough to allow over-the-counter tags, but occasionally a hunter might have to enter a draw. For some species and locations (most notably Gould’s turkey in Arizona) success is far from guaranteed. Rules and regulations vary, but the default sets: no rifles (shotguns and/or archery only), no dogs, no electronic calls, and no hunting over bait. Typically, only bearded birds (males and an occasional transgender female that wears a beard and may be easily confused) are legal in spring, and either-sex birds are legal in the fall.1 Feb 2018 One Shot, One Memorable Experience in Kansas Turkey Hunting with a Vintage Shotgun
When to hunt Wild Turkey?
There are two main seasons for turkey hunting. The spring season is the most attractive one for most hunters. It takes place during the mating season, and the hunter who is set on nothing but a big, old gobbler in full glory, and experience the ultimate turkey hunt, should schedule the hunt for spring. The spring season may start as early as first weeks of March and end as late as end of May, depending on the state, but most hunting opportunities take place in April and early May. The fall season may be longer, but it more about taking “any turkey” to fill the freezer than a big male tom for trophy.
Hunting methods All hunting methods (14)
Calling is the key method of hunting in the spring. Hunters use a variety of sounds to convince a dominant gobbler that there’s a competing tom in the neighborhood, or a loose hen that needs to be added to the harem. Turkeys are very wary, and have an extraordinary keen eyesight and hearing, so advanced calling and camouflage skills are required to bring the bird within shotgun or bow range. Sometimes hunters do their calling from blinds erected in likely spots, or use “run and gun” technique to actively seek, locate and approach the bird. The fall season offers less variety. Hunters may ambush the turkeys at feeding areas or routes, stalk them, or scatter the flock and then call a bird in when they try to get back together again.
Why hunt Wild Turkey?
The “beard” - a special batch of feathers that gobblers grow across their lifespan, the spurs, and the “fan” - a turkey’s tail in spread position - are the material mementos of the turkey hunt, a.k.a. the trophy. Real turkey hunting affectionados cherish the “Grand Slam” - each of the four subspecies found in the USA - and those for whom there’s no hope go after the “Big Six”, a great challenge to collect all six subspecies found in North America. But every hunter knows that the real lure of the turkey is the rush of emotions when a big, old, experienced and wary tom bird, gobbling and strutting and fanning its tail, tall on his strong legs and with the big breast bubbled, is almost, but not quite in range.
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