Bust beaks, not the bank when turkey hunting.
I love turkey hunting. The only problem? Limits.
I can only kill one gobbler each spring in my home state. And that's not nearly enough. Thus I will travel to a few states each spring and, over the years, I've figured out how to pile up a bunch of longbeards without piling up a bunch of cash. Here are 10 DIY turkey trips on the cheap.
I'm traveling from Michigan and distances will vary. Most trips will be five days -- three days of hunting with a day of travel on either end. We'll factor in $250 for fuel and on-road expenses. That leaves $750 to cover tags, lodging and meals. Do the math and you'll see most of these hunts come in well under budget.
I love to double-dip in Ohio. A non-resident hunting license runs about $125. Then you add a turkey tag for $25. When you come back to hunt in the fall, you've already got the hunting license and need to add only a $25 deer tag. Cool, eh? You can kill two birds in Ohio.
There's plenty of public land and camping or renting a "camper cabin" at a state park is dirt cheap. Pack your own food in and grill. Cheap turkeys Buckeye style.
You can kill a whopping three gobblers in Nebraska and each tag costs $91. For less than $300, you can stuff six breasts into a cooler. Not bad.
Nebraska doesn't have an overabundance of public land but there's enough if you know where to look. And you can save cash by camping on some state-owned land.
You'll also be hunting Merriam's turkeys in most areas. Which is a very nice bonus.
Kentucky has terrific turkey hunting and some excellent public land. You can kill two birds, camping areas abound and nonresident tags run just $75 -- and that's for both birds.
Bonus: Kentucky has some outstanding fishing and bowfishing making this trip a true sportsmen's bargain.
Missouri charges a premium price for its turkey tags -- $190 for non-residents, but you can kill two birds.
For a turkey hunter, Missouri is kind of like Mecca. There's a ton of public land all across the state. And Missouri is one of the few states where you can legally camp in a public hunting area parking lot. There's no electric hookups or any of those benefits. But who cares. You'll be camped out right under the gobbling birds.