Planning an out of state turkey hunt may keep you from going out of your mind this winter.
DIY hunts are cheaper and more rewarding than guided hunts.If you plan well and hunt hard there is no reason why they should be any less successful.
Here are some tips on how to do it right.
Pick a State
The obvious choices will be states that border your home state. Choose a state that opens earlier than yours if you live in the north or a state that opens later if you live in the south.
Do some research. Most states wildlife authorities provide information about hunter participation and success rates on their websites. Use this information to help make the decision on which state to hunt.
Pick a Location
DIY hunting in another state usually means hunting public land.
Wildlife Management Areas, State and National Forests, and some state parks are all good options to look into. However, digging deeper to see if the state has private land walk in areas or Army Corps of Engineers properties that are open to hunting may get you on more unpressured birds.
Calling state wildlife agencies and forestry departments can give you a great head start on finding birds in unknown areas. A little legwork at home could be the difference between success and failure on your out of state hunt.
Pick a Place to Stay
You will need somewhere to sleep when you are not hunting. Options include hotels, camping, or crashing with a buddy that lives in the area.
Weigh your choices and decide which lodging arrangement best suits your style and budget.
Make a List and Check it Twice
There is nothing worse than getting hundreds of miles from home and realizing you forgot an important piece of gear (i.e. your license.)
Experienced turkey travelers make a list and check it twice before leaving. You should too.
Listen to the Locals
If you run into other turkey hunters in the woods, restaurants, or gas stations near your hunting area, talk to them. Some hunters will be less than friendly towards out of staters, but most will at least be civil.
If you get lucky you may run into a loose-lipped local that offers advice on hotspots in the area. Locals can also clue you in on how the birds have been behaving in the area.
Keep a positive attitude and hunt hard while on your out of state trip. Don’t let silent toms or high hunter densities get you down. Head deeper into the woods to get away from crowds and keep at it to improve your chance of bagging a longbeard.
If you’ve never gone on an out of state turkey hunt, try it. You’ll be glad you did. Use these tips while planning your trip and maximize your chance of success.