by Jason Houser, T&TH reader
If you choose to hunt away from your home turf, know that it is easier than you might think. You can scout from the comfort of your home.
* Begin by talking to people who live in the area that you plan to hunt. Talk to your buddies who have hunted there in the past. Nobody likes to talk more than turkey hunters.
* Each state has a department of natural resources agency. Give them a call. You may be put on hold a few times before talking to the right person.
* Talk to that state's National Wild Turkey Federation Technical Committee member. He or she is probably the person who knows turkeys better than anyone else in the agency. It is this person's job to promote turkey hunting and to get you to spend money on a turkey tag.
* Know the right questions to ask. Here are the questions I like to get the answers to before I finalize my hunting plans:
1) How were the turkey hatches two years ago? The answer will give you a good idea of how many two-year-old birds are around to harvest.
2) What is the hunting pressure like throughout the state?
3) Will you send me a copy of the harvest records for the last couple of years? This will show you which county has the highest success rate.
4) Will you send me a copy of the latest hunting regulations?
5) Where is the best public land?
6) Where would you go if you wanted to kill a big tom?
* Web sites like www.mytopo.com and www.mapcard.com are just a couple of places where you can get topographical maps from the Internet. I suggest that you get a topo map and a county atlas for the area you have decided to hunt. Maps are a valuable tool that will help hunters scout from the comfort of their home. Pick out places where you can listen for gobblers and also places for turkeys to travel and rest.
Remember, when you get to your destination there is a chance that things will not be as you had expected. You should have several more, maybe dozens, of places marked on your map as potential hunt spots. What the map shows as a field might now be a housing development.
Follow these tips and you'll be able to scout out-of-state from the comfort of your home.