And some of them run into the new year . . .
One of the great pleasures of my turkey hunting life has been bowhunting fall birds.
On foot. Moving slowly. Sitting in cover. Dozing off. Waking up to kee-kee. Scattering flocks for the call-back. It's hard to beat the sound of a bunch of separated young hens and gobblers hunting you down. Yep, mama hen often beats you soundly, setting up and assembly-yelping those young turkeys to her. It makes you smile, the game-on energy of it. The fall season, where it starts early for turkeys, is nothing but pleasure. You learn a lot, laugh at the misses and keep at it, enjoying each moment.
Try these five states to get your turkey hunting fix served up with a dose of foggy mornings, whispering fall leaves and a feeling this will last forever. In some cases, it almost does. Read on.
1. KENTUCKY: Archery turkey season begins Sept. 5, 2015. It ends Jan. 18, 2016. Both shotgun and crossbow opportunities round out the options. We're talking fall turkey hunting paradise, folks. Check out the spring turkey telechecked kill results. Read more about Kentucky fall turkey hunting here.
2. MISSOURI: Show-Me-State opportunities for fall birds are also generous, running from Sept. 15-Nov. 13, 2015, with a short break, resuming on Nov. 25 (the day before a little holiday called Thanksgiving) and extending until Jan. 15, 2016. Go here for Missouri 2015 archery turkey hunting.
3. NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Granite State fall turkey archery season runs from Sept. 15-Dec. 15 in most WMUs (concurrent with the archery deer season). No luck with the bow? They've a 5-day fall turkey shotgun season, too (Oct. 12-16, 2015).
4. FLORIDA: Fall turkey seasons here are for "gobblers and bearded only" birds. Zone A's bow-only season started Aug. 1 (seriously) and ends Aug. 30. Crossbow options also include specific seasons, which vary. The Zone C "bow only" option begins Sept. 19 and runs through Oct. 18. Others in Zone B and Zone D are also offered. Find them here (scroll down for turkey). Two-bird limit.
5. NEBRASKA. Archery and shotgun turkey season runs from Sept. 15-Jan. 31, 2016. Two fall turkey permits for either-sex birds, valid statewide, provide months of hunting. Longbows. Crossbows. Recurves. Compounds and even "hand-thrown spears" (yep, seriously) are all legal. Check out the Nebraska fall turkey hunting regulations.
Do you plan on bowhunting fall turkeys this season? Comment below.
Steve Hickoff is Realtree's turkey hunting editor and blogger.