Deer season is still going strong, but with turkeys available in every state to hunt except for Alaska; your options are unlimited as to where you can pursue them and now is the time to plan your spring turkey hunt.  Why keep hunting turkeys in your backyard year after year when there is so much more for the turkey hunter who wants a challenge?

Every turkey hunter has their favorite spots to hunt turkeys.  A place that produces one or even two big gobblers each spring.  A place that is quick and easy to get to.  A hunter has plenty time to scout for birds on their home turf.  You see turkeys when you are driving the back roads.  You hear stories at all the coffee shop about turkeys and where others have seen them.  You find turkey sign while hunting mushrooms.  Without a doubt, it is a lot easier to hunt gobblers at home.  Hunting turkeys out of state is exciting for the hunter who feels a little adventurous.

Maybe all that you are interested in doing is traveling to a neighboring state for some bonus turkey hunting.  Maybe you feel a bit friskier and want to go after an Eastern in Missouri, a Rio Grande in Oklahoma, Merriam’s in Nebraska and an Osceola in Florida to complete your Grand Slam of Turkeys.  I cannot stress how important it is to get your spouse’s permission before undertaking such a quest.  Trust me!  In order to stay out of the doghouse, it would be wise not to mention the Royal Slam (add a Gould’s) or the World Slam (add a Gould’s and Oscellated).  For the hunter who has the resources, time and an understanding spouse the possibilities exist.  Wherever you choose to hunt turkeys it is easier than you might think.  Just don’t panic.

There is no question that when you hunt ground from one year to the next that you will get to know it pretty good.  You will know the places that the turkeys do not like to cross, like ravines and fences.  Knowing where these obstacles are, you can put yourself in position so that they will not become a problem.  You will gain the knowledge of where birds like to roost and feed from one year to the next as long as the terrain does not change.  I have to admit that home court advantage is awesome.

When you go out of state to hunt, chances are that you will not have much time to hunt.  Probably only for a few days.  Make the best of your time.  Short of hiring a guide, you will just have to go there on your own and do the best that you can.  Success can exist, but you should do your homework months before you plan to hunt.  There is nothing wrong with hiring a guide if that is what you choose to do.  Outfitters can be costly, but they will have the bird’s patterns figured out.  This will save you time while upping your chances of success.

To make an out of state turkey hunt work you will need to start doing your homework well before spring turkey season rolls around.  Begin by talking to people who live in the area that you plan to hunt.  Talk to your buddies who have hunted there in the past.  Nobody likes to talk more than turkey hunters.  You might not be able to get the exact location of the fields that the birds are feeding in out of them though.  However, you should be able to get some general information that will prove to be useful.  You probably have a turkey-hunting buddy that has been to where you would like to go.  If not, maybe one of your buddies has a buddy that can help you out.

Each state has a Department of Natural Resources agency.  Give them a call.  It might mean that you will be put on hold a few times to get the right person to talk to though. But, eventually you will be put in touch with someone who knows turkeys.

You can also take it one step further and talk to that states National Wild Turkey Federation Technical Committee member.  When you call that states DNR agency ask to talk to the NWTF tech member.  He or she is probably the person who knows turkeys better than anyone else in the agency.  He can give you a good idea where the turkeys are and how the turkey populations are doing.  He will be more than happy to talk with you.  It is job to promote turkey hunting in his state and to get you to spend money on a turkey tag.

For those of you not familiar with the NWTF, their mission statement is: The NWTF supports scientific wildlife management on public, private and cooperate lands as well as wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport.  If you are not a member I urge you to join.

Before I call another states game agency I like to have a list of questions handy.  Here are the questions I like to get the answers to before I finalize my hunting plans

1) How was the turkey hatch two years ago?  The answer will give you a good idea of how many two-year-old birds are around to harvest.

2) What is the hunting pressure like throughout the state?

3) Will you send me a copy of the harvest records for the last couple of years?  This will show you which county has the highest success rate.

4) Will you send me a copy of the latest hunting regulations?  We as hunters have to remain legal.

5) Where is the best public land?

6) Where would you go if you wanted to kill a big tom?

After you have answers to your questions then get out a map and take a look at spots that have potential based on the answers that you received.  Your contact at the DNR might not tell you which tree the birds are roosting in, but he will give you some valuable information that will get you well on your way to a successful hunt.

Web sites like and are just a couple of places where you can get topographical maps from the Internet.  I suggest that you get a topo map and a county atlas for the area you have decided to hunt turkeys on.  Maps are a valuable tool that will help hunters scout from the comfort of their home.  With a topo map you can see where ridges, roads, saddles, creeks and ponds are located before you ever step foot into the woods.

When scouting with maps pick out places where you can listen for gobblers and also places for turkeys to travel and rest.

Good spots to listen for toms are on high ground.  The top of a knob and a long ridge between valleys are both good listening posts.

Turkeys are comfortable traveling on long ridge systems, logging roads, saddles, and field edges and gently sloping creek drainages.  Once you find a good spot, “x” it on the map for a close-up inspection.

If you are hunting public lands, the further you can get off the roads the better the hunt will be.  Many hunters will not walk more than ½ mile from their vehicles.  This will allow you to have some prime hunting grounds all to yourself if you do not mind to do some walking.

By looking at maps of the ground that you plan to hunt you will be able to find dozens of possible hunt sites.

When you get to your destination there is a chance that things will not be as you had expected.  You should have several more, maybe dozens; of places marked on your map as potential hunt spots than you actually need.  What the map shows as a field might now be a housing development.  Remote far off places might have half the counties competing for birds.  The big patch of timber might be a new four-lane highway.  Are you beginning to see the picture?  You have to be prepared for changes.

When traveling out of state to hunt, bring extra gear no matter how small you might think it is.  You never know when you might break or misplace a tie down stake for your ground blind.  If there is an extra one in the truck it will not be a problem.  A tie down stake can be hard to find in the middle of nowhere.  Anything you use while turkey hunting, bring an extra.

Most states sell turkey permits over the counter so they are easy to come by.  But, out of state hunting D.I.Y. style does have it challenges.  Hunters are comfortable hunting territory that is close to home.  Hunting new ground that you are not familiar with can be a bit scary, but the possibilities out way all of that.  Every state but Alaska has hunt able turkeys.  This includes that Canada, Mexico and New Zealand even have hunt able turkeys.