- 5 Essential Tips for Your First Out-of-State Turkey Hunting Trip
5 Essential Tips for Your First Out-of-State Turkey Hunting Trip
Author: Will Bowen
Have you ever chased turkeys in another state? If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to give it a try. Yes it can cost you money and some time away from your family and job, but I assure you that it will be worth it for the experience. I’ve been fortunate to travel to a few new states over the past five years or so and they are some of the fondest hunting memories I have. Not only is it a way to have a ton of fun, it’s also a way to learn new things that could apply to your hunting at home. If you are planning your first out of state turkey hunt, let me give you 5 tips to help maximize the experience:
1. Do Your Research
You are doing yourself a huge disservice by stepping into a hunt completely blind. Not knowing the topography, turkey population density, apparent hunting pressure, and other things of that nature are sure-fire ways to ruin a turkey hunt. You’ve got time and money wrapped in this, so why not do what it takes to ensure that you have as much success and fun as possible. After selecting the state and area you will be hunting, dive in online and start thumbing through the state game agency’s resources. Analyze tag sales, harvest reports, and public area summaries because these will hold valuable information for your hunt. Also don’t be afraid to scan forums or ask questions about specific areas online. A great place to ask questions and learn from a community is from GoWild’s turkey hunting pursuit and their turkey hunting trail on the GoWild app. Once you get where you’re going you can even use GoWild’s “near me” feature to see what other turkey hunters have been posting in the area. You might just find detailed answers to your questions. But you must be careful here and know how to weed through the muck and take everything you read with a grain of salt.
2. Have a Plan A, B, and C
Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t put all of your eggs into one basket”? Well that applies here beautifully. Turkey hunting is already known for its volatile nature and this volatility is already hard to manage on your local hunting spots. How much do you think it will be magnified when you are hunting somewhere you’ve never hunted? When you are doing your hunt planning you must have a backup plan and a backup plan to your first backup plan. Make sure you research other hunting areas, because unforeseen circumstances like flooding, state closures, and extreme hunting pressure could push you to a different spot. I would also encourage you to take backup gear. If available an extra shotgun, turkey decoys, and blinds are valuable items to have as well. Don’t count on plan A being the ticket. Anticipate that it will, but be ready to turn to plan B and C if necessary.
3. Go with a Buddy
The best way to maximize fun on any hunting trip is to go with a hunting buddy. This could be a good friend, a sibling, a parent, a child, a coworker, it doesn’t really matter because tackling a new hunt with another hunter is a great experience. In terms of hunting, having double the eyes, double the ears, and double the guns is valuable. And in terms of trip planning, having double the monetary funds is greatly valuable. And while there is value in the previously mentioned thoughts, there is no way to value the comradery and fellowship that you will have with your hunting buddy. Over the past five years, I’ve made four or five out-of-state trips with my hunting buddy, my dad, and I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.
4. Have Realistic Expectations
Nothing dulls a hunt quicker than unrealistic expectations. You shouldn’t expect to hunt a piece of public land in a popular turkey state and expect to have it all to yourself. Temper your expectations, because if you go ahead and work hunting pressure into that equation, your hopes won’t be squashed when you arrive. The same goes for bird density and topography. Do the research so that you’ll have a good idea of what you’re up against. Now if you have an outfitted hunt planned, feel free to have high expectations. You’re paying money for a hunt, so why not expect it to live up to its potential. Do your research, know what you're up against, and have realistic expectations for your hunt.
5. Don’t Pack it in Early…Hunt All Day
Turkey hunting is often unpredictable. Sure, we all picture the perfect scenario of harvesting a bird off the roost and then fishing the rest of the day, but it often doesn’t happen that way. It seems that a bird is most killable right at daylight. He’s gobbling a lot and he’s stationary while on the limb, allowing you to get close. This isn’t the case for the rest of the day. Turkeys move a lot during daylight hours but they are out there. So in order to get the most out of your hunt, you have to hunt all day (if legal). More time spent hunting means a higher chance of success. So if you can, hunt all day. What else do you have to do?
Conclusions For Your First Out of State Turkey Hunting Trip
I hope you take these tips with you on your next out of state hunt. I’m currently finalizing my plans for an Oklahoma public land hunt this Spring. It’s going to be a tough hunt. But it’s also going to be a fun hunt and I plan to employ all of the previously mentioned tips. Will I harvest a bird? I don’t know. None of us know that as a truth, but that's why we go, to make all of our turkey hunting dreams a reality. Happy hunting and good luck this Spring.