Probably the greatest issues about turkey searching is that you simply don’t want 1,000 acres of personal floor to develop massive ones any greater than it’s worthwhile to rent a information to place you on one value searching. Large previous toms, keen 2-year-olds, and even jakes are enjoyable to chase, and so they abound on public-access floor all around the nation. Should you can name just a little and also you don’t thoughts strolling, you may have success on a DIY hunt. Plus, you get further bragging rights if you take your tom on turf open to everybody.

The query is, Which turf? There’s in all probability some first rate public floor near the place you reside. However for those who’re prepared to journey, there are nearly too many choices. So, allow us to slender it down for you. Right here is out High 10 listing of the most effective DIY turkey searching states, and for the sake of suspense, we’ll work from No. 10 to our high decide. Right here we go.

10. Texas

A Rio Grande tom follows a hen by means of a area of wildflowers in Texas. Texas DNR

The Lone Star state makes our high 10 solely by dint of its huge turkey inhabitants. Texas has an enormous variety of Rio Grande turkeys, and a good variety of Easterns, too. In complete, almost half 1,000,000 birds reside name the state residence. It isn’t low-cost for nonresidents to chase these birds, however it is a listing of the most effective DIY states, not the most cost effective.

Whereas residents pay solely $25, nonresidents must shell out almost $450 to turkey hunt right here. Add to that the restricted quantity of public land (solely 5 p.c of the state), and it could actually flip off some DIY hunters. That stated, the searching may be unimaginable. It’s among the finest locations to chase Rios, interval, and the one place to take action within the South. Should you’re prepared to work, you’ll find a public tract to hunt on, and personal entry will not be out of the query for those who ask, particularly for those who’re prepared to pay a modest payment.

9. Mississippi

1 / 4 of 1,000,000 turkeys are a number of causes to hunt in Mississippi. With about 60,000 turkey hunters, the strain isn’t horrible, both. Add to that the truth that jakes can’t be taken in Mississippi, and it interprets to a number of 2-year-old birds within the flock.

Mississippi presents an excellent mixture of ag floor, creek bottoms, river bottoms, rolling hills, hardwoods, and pines in and round which to chase hen. The strongest hen numbers are within the southern a part of the state, however the central and northern counties maintain stable populations, too. With about 2 million acres of open-access land, there’s a number of room for a DIY hunter to roam right here as effectively. Plus, the wildlife company presents quite a lot of license and tag choices, which may make it cheaper for these solely going for just a few days.

8. Georgia

photo of wild turkeys in Georgia
4 Georgia longbeards path a hen. Steve Kyles – Georgia DNR

Probably the greatest wild turkey strongholds of the South, Georgia has the birds. The precise inhabitants is unknown, however the flock is suspected to be about 275,000-strong. Every spring, roughly 35,000 to 40,000 hunters head afield and expertise stable success charges. Plus, since no fall searching is allowed, extra birds can be found for the spring season.

Georgia, like different states within the South, presents an array of turkey habitat to roam. You’ll discover birds in hardwood forests, pine plantations, ag floor, swamplands, rolling hills, and the mountains, and a good quantity of it’s public-access. The state has about 1 million acres of WMAs and about 850,000 acres of Nationwide Forest land open to hunters.

7. Kentucky

photo of hunter with turkey
The creator poses with an enormous Bluegrass State gobbler. Josh Honeycutt

The Bluegrass State is loaded with turkeys. If it had extra public lands, it’d be even increased on the listing. Kentucky is 95 p.c personal land, nevertheless it does presents a good quantity of public floor, at about 1.5 million acres in complete, largely within the jap and western components of the state. What’s obtainable does get a number of searching strain, however the state nonetheless has lots to supply, with about 325,000 turkeys in river-bottom ag floor within the western counties, rolling hills within the central area, and mountains in jap counties. Between 25,000 and 30,000 turkeys are harvested annually. Nearly as good as it’s, Kentucky isn’t an inexpensive state to hunt, as nonresidents have to cough up $235.

6. Florida

As the one vacation spot for searching Osceola turkeys, Florida simply makes the listing. And for those who’re go for the grand slam, it’s a must-go vacation spot. Folks dream of searching the swamplands of the Sunshine State. The turkeys are cussed generally, however they’re enjoyable to hunt.

However the alternative to hunt Osceolas isn’t the one cause Florida makes our high 10. The state additionally has a large quantity of public lands. Hunters can entry almost 6 million acres, which is an astounding quantity an jap state. Florida has an excellent WMA system and presents Nationwide Wildlife Refuge hunts, quota hunts, and extra.

5. Alabama

photo of two Alabama gobbler for best turkey states
A pair of Japanese gobblers in an Alabama inexperienced area. Warner Lee – Alabama DNR

In response to the Alabama Division of Conservation and Pure Sources, the state as soon as had greater than half 1,000,000 turkeys. Immediately, the quantity is at round 375,000, which remains to be a complete lot of hen. With an estimated 70,000 turkey hunters bagging about 40,000 birds annually, that’s reasonable searching strain. Alabama isn’t low-cost for nonresidents, at about $350 for a license, however it’s a high turkey state, with a great deal of birds and phenomenal habitat. Greater than 75 p.c of the state is timber, which is right for turkeys. It additionally has about .75 million acres of WMA lands, on high of U.S. Military Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Endlessly Wild Land Belief, wildlife refuges, and different public lands.

4. Tennessee

Ol’ Rocky High is thought for extra than simply it’s country-music twangin’ and sangin’. Amongst hunters, it’s referred to as a high gobbler state and hosts an incredible turkey searching tradition. The habitat os lovely, too, with a number of creek bottoms, river bottoms, lakes, ag lands, pastured grounds, massive woods, rolling hills, mountains, and extra. Turkeys have every little thing they want right here. That’s why about 250,000 birds name the state residence, and about 95,000 turkey hunters chase them. The annual harvest averages 30,000 turkeys.

It isn’t low-cost to hunt turkeys right here for nonresidents, who should pay over $300 to hunt. However the Volunteer State has a ton of public land. Wildlife administration areas abound. So do different types of public lands with open turkey searching entry.

3. Kansas

With greater than 300,000 turkeys, Kansas is one other strutter stronghold. Solely about 50,000 turkey hunters get after them right here, too, which implies it has much less strain than many states. With the ability to chase Rio Grande turkeys in western counties, Easterns in jap counties, and hybrids within the center, is cool, too.

Public searching choices are plentiful in Kansas as effectively. The WMA system is nice. As well as, the famed Stroll-In Looking Space program supplies entry to greater than 300,000 acres of personal floor. General, there’s loads of open entry for turkey hunters right here.

2. Nebraska

Most likely the highest possibility for bowhunters, Nebraska was made for DIY turkey searching with stick and string. It has Japanese, Rio Grande, and Merriam’s wild turkeys. With nonresident costs just a little below $300, it isn’t low-cost, nevertheless it prices lower than another states on this listing. On the upside, solely about 30,000 turkey hunters chase birds every spring, so the strain isn’t as dangerous. The state solely points 10,000 permits for out-of-state vacationers, although.

Though solely 3 p.c of Nebraska is public land, the state nonetheless has a good quantity of it by quantity. Select from WMAs, federal floor, and different sorts of open entry. Specializing in waterways is a good way to get in on the motion. Moreover, a number of personal landowners allow entry to turkey hunters.

1. Wisconsin

photo of gobbler for best turkey states
Wisconsin is loaded with Japanese gobblers, and boast plenty of public land, too. Getty Photos

Our high decide might come as a shock, however Wisconsin is sorely underrated as a turkey state. Whereas it does have a number of turkey hunters (almost 220,000), it additionally has the turkey inhabitants to assist them. Roughly 40,000 birds are bagged every spring.

Wisconsin presents a number of habitat variety. Right here, you’ll discover rolling hills, hardwoods, wetlands, river bottoms, winding creeks, ag fields, pastured floor, grasslands, and extra. And DIY choices about right here, too. Some personal land house owners will permit turkey searching entry, and there’s a ton of public entry, particularly within the northern counties, the place turkey populations is probably not fairly as dense as in different components of the state, however loads dense sufficient so that you can rating. Statewide, about 5 million acres of public land are open to searching amidst the Military Corps of Engineer, conservation space, county forest, nationwide forest, restoration space, state forest, state park, state pure space, and state wildlife space applications. Do some digital-map scouting after which burn some boot leather-based and there’s an excellent likelihood you’ll fill you tag within the Badger State.

Honorable Mentions: California, Maine, Missouri, and Pennsylvania

Anytime you make a High 10 listing, there’s going to be a number of nice contenders that simply miss the reduce. The 4 states beneath are such good DIY locations that though they didn’t fairly make it by my grading, they have been too shut to not point out, so right here they’re.


California would possibly shock some, nevertheless it’s an excellent turkey state. It has a protracted season, affordable nonresident license and allow prices (below $200), and better of all, the state hosts populations of Easterns, Merriam’s, and Rio Grand turkeys. About 20,000 turkeys are harvested in California annually.


Maine is a superb alternative for anybody on the lookout for a hunt within the Northeast. It has about 75,000 turkeys and solely 18,000 hunters. Most of its turkeys are within the southern third to half of the state, however for those who discover a place to hunt, the motion may be nice. Plus, it solely prices residents about $35 and nonresidents about $70 to get in on the motion.


Missouri will get excessive marks for its turkey inhabitants dimension, which is simply shy of 400,000 birds. That’s a stable quantity with about 40,000 harvested annually. As in different states, turkey numbers have declined in current yr, nevertheless it’s nonetheless tough to miss all the great searching the Present Me State nonetheless has to supply.


Pennsylvania might need the richest turkey searching heritage of all, and that pushes it to the highest of our honorable-mentions listing. About 165,000 turkey hunters kill 30,000 to 40,000 turkeys yearly. The excessive variety of hunters is sufficient to flip off some DIY people, however for individuals who nonetheless make the journey, public lands abound, particularly within the northern a part of the state. Out-of-staters can hunt PA for $100-$150, relying on particular choices.

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