We interrupt your current hunting season for an important consideration. Where are you hunting turkeys in the spring? Have you thought about traveling to finish your Grand Slam next spring? Well, now is the time to research public land hot spots.
If you plan on hiring a guide or outfitter, we’ve also included the top questions to ask beyond booking your date and travel arrangements.
GOING IT ALONE
If you are a DIY hunter, an important piece of advice: research, research, research. You still need to answer most of the guide-related questions below. To get crucial turkey data for your hunt, we’ve put together a list of helpful resources:
• Check the state’s harvest records and poult surveys to get an idea of wild turkey populations in particular areas.
• If public land is your destination, downloading an app like onX Hunt* will be invaluable. With offline map capabilities, you will still have navigational tools even when cell service is dismal. (*Use code NWTF at checkout for 20 percent off on X Hunt app memberships.)
• While you are online checking harvest records and poult surveys, don’t forget to check on that state’s regulations. Most states annually re-evaluate their season dates and times, as well as bag limits.
• Call the state wildlife office. They will be able to match your questions with an agency staff member in the area you want to hunt. Conservation rangers, wildlife biologists and management area technicians have first-hand knowledge of the area and are a great source of information.
USING A GUIDE
If you are planning to hire a guide service, now is the time to book that trip. Guided hunt dates fill up fast in some areas, so getting a booked date now will save you from waiting lists or not being able to hunt that area come spring.
• Whose land will you be hunting? Public or private?
• What are the average success rates?
• Some states offer heat maps based on reported harvest numbers. Research those if available.
• What kind of accommodations are available? Are they included with your hunt, along with meals?
• Verify what licenses, tags or permits are necessary for your particular hunt.
• Get the most out of your trip by asking what other game can be hunted during your visit. You may be able to add another species to your freezer with just a little extra planning.
• Make sure you understand what types of hunting are allowed on the property — still, stand, blind or stalk.
Before you head out, a few final considerations. Communications are an important part of any outdoor adventure, but particularly hunting. Whether calling your buddies to brag or checking in with family, being able to communicate is important. It becomes increasingly essential when health issues are a consideration. Map your hunt location, ask about cell reception in the area and check your cellular carrier’s coverage map.