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Where Hunters Can Find the Biggest Turkeys in the US

Thayne Muthler

Introduction

Hunting for turkeys is a well-loved pastime in America, drawing in numerous enthusiasts annually. It provides a special mix of thrill, difficulty, and a chance to be one with the great outdoors. The excitement of luring in a large gobbler and skillfully taking it down is incomparable.

You must pick the ideal spot if you want your turkey hunt to be effective. There are differences in the number of turkeys and hunting chances around the United States. The top locations for turkey hunting in America are covered in this post so that hunters may make well-informed decisions about where to go on their next trip.

To increase their chances of success, hunters might modify their tactics based on the unique features and challenges of the location they are in. Whether you choose to hunt turkey in a dense forest, farmland, prairie, or mountains, there is a location that suits your interests and ability level.

Now let's explore the various terrains in America to see where hunters can discover the largest turkeys. The east coast (New England states), the southeast (Florida, Georgia, etc.), the mid-west (Ohio, Kansas, etc.), and the west coast (California) each provide unique experiences in their own right. The west coast is where you may find towering mountain ranges meeting Pacific coasts, with some parts covered by the huge plains that stretch northward to the Canadian border. There is a place set up just for each hunter.

Keep in mind that the most important thing is passion and memories of the game, not places. But I will tell you some of the best turkey hunting spots in America, let’s go on this journey together.

Eastern United States

Turkey hunting in the eastern United States offers a diverse range of terrains and hunting experiences. Let's explore some of the best locations for turkey hunting in this region.

Northeastern United States

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

The best circumstances for wild turkeys may be found in the Northeast, which is why hunters like hunting there. Because state forests provide some of the best habitat for nesting, foraging, and reproduction, turkey populations are flourishing in states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The wild turkeys in these states have access to a wide range of habitats, including woods, agricultural fields, and rural landscapes. These areas provide them with an abundance of food sources, including seeds, nuts, insects, and crop plants. In addition, hunting laws and conservation strategies have been put in place to control numbers, creating the ideal environment for turkey populations to thrive.

Abundant Turkey Populations

 Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

There is presently a record-breaking increase in the number of wild turkeys in the Northeastern United States compared to previous generations. When we consider that hundreds of thousands of these amazing birds call states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont home, the numbers become even more astounding.

The Northeastern United States has seen a notable increase in the number of wild turkeys, making hunting them more accessible. Consequently, more hunters are visiting these areas. The abundance of turkeys means that you will have greater opportunities as a hunter to locate and kill them. Both seasoned hunters and those new to the sport are becoming more interested in turkey hunting as a result of this trend.

Unique Challenges

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

In order to be successful on their hunt, hunters must be able to overcome the unique hurdles that come with wild turkey hunting in the Northeast. First of all, turkeys can avoid detection because of the area's thick tree cover. Because of this, hunters must rely on cunning tactics and keen senses to find their prey and get close to them without frightening them.

The turkeys from the Northeast have become habituated to human beings since there is high population density and many enjoyable outdoor activities in this region. They become more demanding and can easily be frightened, thus, the hunters must be at their best and approach even more tactically. Such enhanced vigilance creates a huge need for a greater amount of staying calm, slow movements, and the maximally superior skills of turkey behavior manipulation.

Tips for Successful Hunting in the North Eastern U.S.

  • Use Decoys: By setting the decoys in a well scouted turkey hotspot, chances of a successful hunting adventure will be higher because more turkeys will be lured into your shooting range.
  • Be Patient: Local turkey hens are naturally quite shy, therefore hunters must be patient and alert for the key moment to strike.
  • Scout Thoroughly: The most important tip I can give you is to know their specific behavior and their roosting sites. Scouting before the Turkey Seasons is crucial - given the very diverse landscape I presented earlier in the unique challenges section.

To improve your chances of a harvest, you may want to consider additional resources that we recommend; such as tips on evening turkey hunting, formulating the perfect turkey hunting plan, and insights on whether it's better to hunt early or late in the season.

For hunters looking for adventure, the Northeastern United States provides an exciting and difficult hunting experience because of its varied landscapes and abundant turkey populations.

Southeastern United States

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

There are plenty of options for turkey hunting in the Southeastern United States due to the large number of turkeys and the variety of hunting areas available. Rich farmlands and sizable permanent forests can be found in this area, providing these birds with the perfect environment.

Specific states or regions in the Southeast known for their abundant turkey populations and hunting opportunities:

  • Alabama: It has numerous woodlands and farms that are great for settling lots of turkeys.
  • Georgia: With a great number of turkeys overall, the dominant breed of turkeys in Georgia is located mostly in the southern part of the state.
  • South Carolina: Famous for being home to wild turkeys in abundance, this area of swamps and pine forests being perfect being good places to hunt for wild turkeys.

Tips for hunting turkeys in the farmland and wooded areas typical of this area:

  1. Look for where turkeys sleep: It is common to find turkeys sleeping near or in big trees near farms or wooded places. If hunters can locate these places where animals sleep, they will increase their chances of success simply because they will be able to set up nearby these places in the early morning or late evening.
  2. Use decoys: Utilize lifelike decoys to lure turkeys in rural areas successfully. Arrange decoys that resemble turkeys either feeding or displaying to entice them to come closer.
  3. Blend in with your surroundings: In the Southeast part of the United States where you might have thick vegetation, you must be pretty cunning while hunting turkeys. Clothe yourself in a camouflage garment that best suits the environment and make use of natural cover to keep hidden.
Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

There are many different types of hunting opportunities in the Southeast of the United States, including large numbers of turkeys and diverse terrain. You will have plenty of chances to put your shooting skills to the test when hunting these cunning birds, whether you choose to hunt in the freshwater marshes and cypress swamps of South Carolina or the oak and pine forests of Alabama and southern Georgia. Please be aware that nothing will prevent you from beginning your turkey hunting excursion in the Southeast as long as you disregard the applicable hunting restrictions and possess the necessary licenses.

Central United States

The Central US is yet another part of the country that has been labeled a paradise for hunting wild turkeys. Particularly, the Midwest is recognized for its own large turkey flocks and very high-quality hunting grounds. In the Midwest, you can pursue wild turkeys in a variety of habitats, from the agricultural fields to the wide-open prairies. One thing is sure: every turkey hunter can find something he or she loves in the Midwest.

Midwest

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

While Midwest turkey hunting includes a variety of States and territories, some regions are more suitable and attractive for a flourishing turkey population: 

Missouri

The state of Missouri is generally acknowledged throughout the Midwest as being the place to be for turkey hunting. The state has an established turkey population which is estimated at about 350,000 birds. The mix of hardwood forest with open fields of the Ozark Mountains and Mark Twain National Forest provides top-grade hunting grounds for the avid hunter.

Be sure to see Missouri Hunting Regulations.

Iowa

In the last few years, the state of Iowa has become a major player in the field of turkey hunting. The swooping hilly and river valleys of the southern part of Iowa have achieved the most popularity mainly due to their richness in turkey wildlife. Having a draw as the sole source of tags, Iowa provides a unique and high-quality hunting experience to those lucky enough to draw those tags.

Kansas

Turkeys thrive in Kansas as its rolling agriculturally-dominated lands present idealistic habitats. Within this state, the fertile soils are filled with several insects and seeds and therefore form a rich food source, which the turkeys can feed on during the whole year. Also, the spring season, which extends longer as compared to many other states, may present the hunters with the chance of bringing down the bird due to the continuous availability of the opportunity.

You can find more information on Kansas turkey hunting by referring to this regional strut update.

Also, see Kansas Hunting Regulations.

Nebraska

Considering it is not always the first option for turkey hunting, the excitement of the Nebraska turkey hunt should no longer be underrated. The land offers different hunting opportunities including woodland game like turkey. Hunters hunt this state because of its diverse territory, and they can apply different techniques to hunt down birds. In grassy and open areas of Nebraska state, spot-and-stalk hunts can be quite effective.

To learn more about turkey hunting in Nebraska, including hunting regulations, you can check out the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's website.

Features of the Midwest

When hunting turkeys in the Midwest, it's important to consider the unique challenges and strategies that come with this region:

  • Agricultural Fields: Agricultural fields in the Midwest are a popular spot for turkeys, as they often visit to feed on crops like corn and soybeans. If you set up your location near these food sources, it can greatly enhance your chances of a successful encounter with these birds. For a comprehensive guide on turkey hunting, you can refer to this long-range turkey plan developed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
  • Prairie Landscapes: In regions such as Kansas and Nebraska, where vast prairies are prevalent, spot-and-stalk hunting has proven to be a successful method. Utilizing the natural terrain to your benefit and implementing strategic stealth techniques can greatly increase your chances of getting close enough to a cautious turkey.
  • Weather Patterns: The Midwest experiences a wide range of weather conditions, from warm springs to tornados.

Great Plains

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

Touted as the final frontier of hunting turkeys, the Great Plains region of the Central US features abundant turkey populations, a wide open landscape, and some of the most challenging spot and stalk hunts to be found.

Specific States or Regions in the Great Plains Known for Abundant Turkey Populations and Hunting Opportunities

  1. Kansas: Thanks to its abundant turkey population and liberal bag limits, turkey hunting in Kansas is highly regarded. Turkeys thrive in this varied environment of rolling prairies and agricultural fields, drawing hunters from all over the world.
  2. Nebraska: Nebraska has a range of hunting opportunities with its combination of open grasslands, river valleys, and forested regions. The number of turkeys in the state has increased recently, giving both resident and non-resident hunters plenty of opportunity.
  3. South Dakota: South Dakota's wide expanses are home to large numbers of turkeys. Hunters may enjoy tough spot and stalk hunts or construct up blinds close to agricultural areas everywhere from the Black Hills to the plains.

Tips for Spot and Stalk Hunting the Vast Open Areas of the Great Plains

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States
  1. Scouting: Scouting the area thoroughly is vital to starting a spot and stalk hunt. Check for evidence of turkey activity on the ground, such as feathers, droppings, tracks, and marks. Look for feeding and roosting areas.
  2. Camouflage: Put on effective camouflage clothes that complement the terrain you'll be hunting in to help you blend in with your surroundings. To break up your silhouette when stalking, think about using natural blinds like bushes or trees.
  3. Stealth and Patience: Utilize the cover that is available to you as you go across the landscape at a leisurely and silent pace. Before approaching the turkey, take your time and watch its motions from a distance. When spot and stalk hunting, patience is essential as you wait for the ideal moment to take a shot.
  4. Effective Calling: Spot and stalk hunting often requires calling to bring turkeys within range. While bad calling may be good enough for some hunters, mastering a variety of turkey calls, including clucks, yelps, and purrs, will help you mimic natural turkey sounds and attract birds towards you.
  5. Optimal Shot Placement: When the opportunity arises for a shot, aim for the vital areas such as the head or neck to ensure a quick and ethical kill. Practice shooting from different positions and angles, even consider using a rifle, to be prepared for any situation.

The Great Plains region offers turkey hunters a unique hunting experience because of its wide-open landscapes and exciting spot and stalk hunts. Any ardent hunter will find the region's abundant turkey populations and diverse landscapes to be an exciting trip, whether they choose to hunt in South Dakota, Nebraska, or Kansas.

Remember to always check the specific regulations and licensing requirements for each state before planning your hunt. With proper preparation following these spring wild turkey hunting tips and knowledge of the area, you can have a successful turkey hunting adventure in the Great Plains.

Western United States

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

Turkey hunters can find thrilling possibilities and a variety of locations in the Western United States. The Rocky Mountains are one area that sticks out for having large numbers of turkeys and difficult terrain. Here, hunters can experience high elevation hunting in rugged mountain terrain.Let's examine a few particular states or areas in the Rocky Mountains that are well-known for being excellent places to hunt turkeys and talk about strategies for succeeding in this unusual setting.

Rocky Mountains

In the Western United States, the Rocky Mountains are located in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, among other states. Because of their diverse habitats and large numbers of turkeys, these states provide great opportunities for turkey hunting.

Colorado

Colorado is well-known for its gorgeous mountain landscape and offers fantastic turkey hunting. The state provides access to both public and private lands, enabling hunters to cover a lot of ground. Turkey populations in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado are especially well-known. However, if you're planning a mountain climb in addition to your turkey hunt, be sure you understand the hazards and take the appropriate safety measures.

See Colorado Hunting Regulations.

Wyoming

Wyoming is a haven for adventurous turkey hunters with its large wilderness regions and open spaces. Turkeys find the lush forests and rough terrain of the Black Hills region in northern Wyoming to be the perfect habitat. If you're up for an additional challenge after your hunt, consider embarking on a hike around Mt. Whitney to completely lose oneself in the breathtaking natural splendor of the surroundings.

See Wyoming Hunting Regulations.

Montana

There are many different places in Montana to go turkey hunting, from alpine to plains areas. Turkey hunters love the western Montana region of Bitterroot Valley because of its unique landscape of rolling hillsides covered with wood, rivers, and agricultural fields. For those looking for an adventurous day hike after their hunt, the White Mountain walk provides the opportunity to experience the spectacular alpine beauty of the area.

See Montana Hunting Regulations.

Idaho

Idaho offers a variety of landscapes to suit various hunting styles. Central Idaho's Salmon River region is well-known for its wilderness regions and difficult mountain hunting. Merriam's turkeys are a common sight for hunters in this region.

It's crucial to be ready for the particular difficulties associated with high elevation hunting before heading into the Rocky Mountains to go turkey hunting:

  1. Physical Conditioning: Because of the thinner air and steeper terrain, hunting at higher elevations may be physically taxing. Being physically fit is essential to overcoming the difficulties of trekking and tracking turkeys in highland regions.
  2. Acclimatization: It's crucial to allow oneself enough time to adjust if you're not used to high altitudes. To reduce your chance of altitude sickness, gradually increase your level of exercise and drink plenty of water.
  3. Navigating Rugged Terrain: Rough, uneven terrain is what defines the Rocky Mountains. During steep ascents, it's important to wear appropriate footwear with superior traction, and you should think about utilizing trekking poles for support.

See Idaho Hunting Regulations.

Pacific Coast

Top Hunting Destinations for Bagging Trophy Turkeys in the United States

The Pacific Coast provides hunters with a distinctive and varied terrain to explore when it comes to turkey hunting in the Western United States. This region offers plenty of opportunity for anyone looking for the excitement of turkey hunting, from the woods of Northern California to the coastal areas of Oregon and Washington.

Oregon

Turkey populations are well-known to be prolific in Oregon's coastal districts, especially in the area surrounding the Tillamook State Forest. Turkeys thrive in the combination of wide fields and deep woodlands, which gives hunters a range of settings to work with.

See Oregon Hunting Regulations.

Washington

The Olympic Peninsula in Washington is a great place to go turkey hunting. Turkeys flourish best in an setting that combines agricultural areas with old-growth woods.

See Washington Hunting Regulations.

Northern California

There are healthy populations of turkeys in the northern region of California, especially the areas around Redding and the Shasta National Forest. There will be a combination of open regions and wooded areas, which will provide possibilities and difficulties for hunters to have successful hunts.

See California Hunting Regulations.

Tips for Coastal Hunting

Coastal hunting poses its own set of challenges and considerations. When hunting turkeys along the Pacific Coast, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Understanding Habitat: In coastal locations, turkeys typically live in a combination of open fields and woodlands. Get familiar with the unique topography of the hunting region you have selected to predict the behavior and movement patterns of turkeys.
  2. Weather Conditions: Be ready for erratic swings in temperature and precipitation since coastal weather may be erratic. It's crucial to dress correctly and have the necessary gear for the changing weather.
  3. Scouting Coastal Areas: Scouting is essential since coastal landscapes vary greatly. For a better possibility of seeing turkeys on your hunt, look for roosting locations, eating places, and travel routes.

Turkey hunters have a fantastic opportunity to pursue these elusive birds while taking in a lively and diverse landscape on the Pacific Coast. With careful planning and an understanding of the particular challenges posed by coastal terrain, hunters may enjoy the thrill of going turkey hunting in this exceptional region.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

The chase of wild turkeys for fun and enjoyment is known as turkey hunting. Because turkey populations are abundant in different parts of the country and because hunting provide hunters with both excitement and difficulty, it is a popular hobby in the United States.

What is the key to a successful turkey hunt?

Selecting the ideal area is essential to a successful turkey hunt. Every American state provides a different hunting experience, and the likelihood of a successful hunt may be significantly increased by choosing the right site based on factors including habitat, geography, and turkey behavior.

What are some specific states or regions in the Northeast known for their abundant turkey populations and hunting opportunities?

Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont are a few particular states or areas in the Northeast renowned for their thriving turkey populations and hunting possibilities. Furthermore, advice is given on how to handle the particular difficulties of hunting in this area, such as thick woodlands and highly pressed birds.