Did Yours Make the List?
For hardcore turkey hunters, the two-season types who chase birds in both spring and fall (guilty), October is pretty special. Many fall turkey hunting opportunties around the country are available then.
The top five states for chasing autumn flocks follow here. Turkey dogging, the tactic of finding and scattering fall flocks to gain a calling advantage, is legal in all five states as well.
It's no secret now: Wisconsin is a prime spring turkey hunting destination. Fall 2016 seasons are generous, running from Sept. 17-Dec. 31 (Zones 1-5) and Sept. 17-Nov. 18 (Zones 6 and 7). Sources estimate the state turkey population at 350,000 birds.
Go here for information on Wisconsin leftover fall turkey permit availability.
Our visits to Nebraska for spring turkeys over the past handful of years have proven epic. Here's how we did there this recent spring. But enough about all that fun we had in May. This is about fall turkey hunting. Though Nebraska has less than half of the estimated turkeys as Wisconsin at roughly 145,000 birds, you'd swear on Cornhusker State trips turkeys are everywhere. Season dates can't be more generous, running from Sept. 15 to Jan. 31, 2017.
Go here for more on Nebraska wild turkey hunting.
Rio Grandes. Easterns. Hybrids. Kansas, like Nebraska, has turkeys (around 300,000 sources say). Season dates run from Oct. 1 through Nov. 29, take a pause to fry some wild turkey nuggets, then resume Dec. 12 through Jan. 31, 2017. Crazy, right?
Go here for even more specifics on the Kansas turkey hunting seasons.
Notice a theme here? Opportunities to hunt autumn turkeys, paired with good flock numbers, figure heavily into this top five October fall turkey hunting states ranking system.
Kentucky is no different. As a guy who first turkey hunted the Bluegrass State in the late '90s, it's a real pleasure to see how far both spring gobbler hunting and fall flock chasing has come along there. It's now a top turkey hunting state in the country.
With a turkey population at around an estimated quarter of a million birds, it's no wonder so many variations of Kentucky fall turkey hunting seasons are offered.
Regional bias since I make my home base here? Maybe a little.
But here's a fact or two: you can kill two fall turkeys in many, but not all, areas of the state. This year, the season has even been extended, for better or worse (another debate; another time) into the deer firearms period.
The Maine turkey population is the lowest of the five states here (50,000 birds or so), but hunting pressure has also proven low over the last decade of opportunities for fall turkeys.
We've Got It Covered
Sharp readers will notice some members of our Realtree.com editorial team live in at least three of these states. Honeycutt and Pendley call Kentucky home, while Lovett hunts, writes and edits from his native Wisconsin.
All are accomplished turkey hunters.
(And, when not traveling for turkeys, I'm way up here in Maine, doing my best to keep local birds honest.)
Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.
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