Big, hard-gobbling birds await you in our nation's midsection, but not all states are created equally
Some of my most vest-popping, sharp-spurred, top-of-the-charts-turkey-trophy-registry-had-I-bothered birds have been taken in the Midwestern region over the years. After all, it's our nation's heartland of turkey hunting. That said, some states deter nonresidents to an extent, or at least charge you handily for the privilege of chasing those birds.
And why not? Conservation costs money.
Turkey hunting North Dakota can be a challenge for nonresidents.
Fact is, in the spring it's technically open only to residents. A lottery system in place for folks living there is distinguished by a specific number of turkey licenses per designated unit.
Nonresidents can hunt fall turkeys, so there's that to think about as an option. That said, there is one other possibility for visitors interested in spring gobblers ...
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in North Dakota]
Of the two Dakotas, this is the one you want to target as a turkey hunter.
South Dakota turkey hunting takes place in several regions. You have the famous Black Hills to the west, which cover over 2.3 million acres, three-quarters of which is public (mostly U.S. Forest Service land) and open for hunting. And the prairie, where birds roam landscapes with minimally forested habitat, and grasslands.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in South Dakota]
Nebraska is easily one of my favorite all-time turkey states, and I'm not alone. Though the land access is mostly private, it's still possible to knock on doors and get hunting permissions here. Quite a few landowners want turkeys gone. As evidenced by my lead story here …
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Nebraska]
Kansas birds are hefty.
You'd better be in shape for a long walk to the truck with a dead gobbler in the back of your turkey vest. Birds run heavy: 22- and 23-pounders don't even raise an eyebrow here.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Kansas]
As with other states, particularly with northern places like Minnesota, the wild turkey's expansion beyond its original range is a wildlife management success story. But it hasn't been easy establishing turkeys in this state bordering Canada.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Minnesota]
Despite high nonresident license fees and a lack of public ground, Iowa still has some of the best turkey hunting in the nation. Don't let the high price stop you.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Iowa]
My Missouri trips have included chasing some of the most intense gobblers I've ever hunted. And you owe it to yourself to do that, too.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Missouri]
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says with rapidly increasing turkey populations and harvests, the state's bird numbers now seem to be stabilizing at levels suitable to the available landscape habitat. And some landowners will let you hunt their turkeys — just don't ask about their deer.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Wisconsin]
It's a sleeper turkey hunting state, for sure, and trending toward the positive in recent years. There are a few reasons to maybe include Illinois in your plans this spring.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Illinois]
And after you hunt neighboring Illinois, give Indiana a try. Harvest data shows some parity with both, mirroring bird availability and management efforts.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Indiana]
Some ongoing trends and season adjustments are affecting Ohio's turkey hunting and the wildlife management of America's greatest game bird.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Ohio]
The turkey hunting tradition is alive and well in Michigan, with growing opportunities. And getting legal to hunt gobbling birds here isn't as difficult as it first seems.
[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Michigan]
What makes Realtree.com the best online resource for turkey hunters? See for yourself.