5 States for Spring Turkey Hunting
If you love turkey hunting, spring is the best time to go after these birds. They are in full mating mode, and the males are showing off their feathers and sounds to impress the females. But where should you go for the best turkey hunting experience? Here are five states that stand out for their population, harvest, public land, license cost and season dates.
Wisconsin has a lot of Eastern turkeys, which are the most common subspecies in the country. You can also find plenty of public land to hunt on, with over 5 million acres available. The license fee is not too expensive, at $33.25 for residents and $83.25 for nonresidents. The season runs from April 20 to May 31, and you have to apply for a tag through a lottery system for one of six time periods. The NWTF estimates that Wisconsin has about 350,000 turkeys and that hunters harvested 37,366 of them in 2021.
Nebraska is a great place to hunt different kinds of turkeys, as it has three subspecies: Eastern, Merriam’s and Rio Grande. You can also hunt on over 1.2 million acres of public land, and the license fee is very cheap, at $30 for residents and $109 for nonresidents. The season lasts from March 25 to May 31, and you don’t need to enter a lottery or follow a quota system for tags. You can also buy up to three permits and take up to two birds per day. The NWTF says that Nebraska has about 300,000 turkeys and that hunters took 23,000 of them in 2020.
Florida is the only state where you can hunt the Osceola turkey, which is one of the four subspecies needed for a Grand Slam. You can also hunt on over 6 million acres of public land, but some areas require a quota permit that can be hard to get. The license fee is $26.50 for residents and $151.50 for nonresidents. The season varies by zone, but generally goes from March 6 to April 25, with a special youth weekend before the opener. The NWTF reports that Florida has about 100,000 turkeys and that hunters bagged 19,000 of them in 2020.
Alabama is another state with a strong turkey hunting culture and a high number of Eastern birds. You can also hunt on over 1.3 million acres of public land, but some areas require a special permit that can be hard to get. The license fee is $28.35 for residents and $305.15 for nonresidents. The season goes from March 20 to May 2, with a special youth weekend before the opener. The NWTF states that Alabama has about 400,000 turkeys and that hunters killed 34,000 of them in 2020.
Texas offers a lot of turkey hunting opportunities and three subspecies of birds: Rio Grande, Eastern and Merriam’s. You can also hunt on over 1 million acres of public land, but some areas require an annual permit that costs an extra $48. The license fee is $25 for residents and $126 for nonresidents. The season varies by zone and subspecies, but generally runs from March 20 to May 16, with a special youth weekend before the opener. The NWTF claims that Texas has about 600,000 turkeys and that hunters harvested 50,000 of them in 2020.
These are the five best states for spring wild turkey hunting, but there are many other states that offer great hunting opportunities as well. You can check out the NWTF’s Spring Hunt Guide for more information on each state’s regulations, population, harvest and public land . Happy hunting! 🦃