And Bonus Reads for Hunting There Too
Over the last few decades, I've hunted wild turkeys east to west, north to south (even in Mexico). While fall turkey hunting is largely a tradition based in the midwestern and eastern half of the United States, there are plenty of opportunities out West. One eastern state, known more for spring turkey hunting, is listed below as well.
Here we'll take a look at five of those states, often overlooked for reasons I list.
California nevers gets a fair shake as a hunting state, largely due to stereotypical perceptions.
I learned the truth a handful of years ago on a hunt in the Central Coast, a couple hours north of Los Angeles. In short, the turkey hunting, food and people were terrific. Yep, the hunters were just like the rest of us. Go figure.
The scenery, vineyards and hills, with long, spacious views, had me thinking I was in some foreign country. I couldn't quite process it: We're in California? (I'd been to L.A. before.) Truth is, the place was easy on the eye.
Consider it. Go here for information on California's fall turkey hunting season, listed under upland game regulations.
Bonus Read: Here's a piece I did on pig hunting in California.
As turkey chasers, we love hunting Florida turkeys in spring for a variety of reasons. Seasons start in March. It's where the Osceola turkey lives. And heck, flying south from a late-winter in Maine to the warm Sunshine State has always been appealing to this traveling turkey hunter.
One challenge with Florida fall turkey hunts is it's gobblers and bearded turkeys only. Other fall turkey hunting states around the country are often either-sex hunts.
I know, you're thinking, New Mexico has wild turkeys? Yes, but here's the hitch: It's often viewed as a sort of supplementary hunt adding to those for other species.
That said, they have Merriam's (the dominant turkey subspecies here), Rio Grande, Gould's and hybrid wild turkeys. Go here for more on New Mexico's detailed hunting regulations.
Bonus Read: Check out the New Mexico turkey subspecies distribution map.
Okay, I bet you didn't know Oregon has a provision for "Emergency Turkey Hunts," an opportunity to "address acute agricultural damage" from the big birds? Yep, you read that correctly.
Fall turkey season here has varied regions where you can do it (see here).
Utah's fall turkey season was off the books for roughly three decades (longer than the age of some of you reading this), then was offered again just a few years ago. That's a good thing. Why? Hunts are now for birds in areas considered to be overrun by America's greatest game bird.
Like Oregon, Utah has so-called "depredation hunts" for wild turkeys to minimize "material damage to private property." They also have straight-forward traditional hunts for the birds, with a range of permit deadlines and after-draw options.
Bonus read: Find Utah fall turkey hunting regulations here.
Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.
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[Editor's note: This Realtree.com turkey blog was first published October 11, 2016.]