Become a Turkey Hunting Road Warrior
Spring took on a new meaning for me roughly 25 years ago. Until then, my time in the field was confined to those few months that made up the heart of the fall hunting seasons – and, for the large part, to hunting my home state of Minnesota and a few ventures to neighboring states. I relentlessly pursued upland birds, waterfowl, small game and whitetails, but hung up my gear around Christmas each year, where it would remain until the following autumn rolled around.
By Gordy J. Krahn, Editor
Turkey & Turkey Hunting
And then a wonderful thing happened – I discovered wild turkeys. I was living in central Wisconsin at the time, and through the reintroduction efforts of the Badger State’s DNR and the National Wild Turkey Federation, turkeys had reached huntable numbers. I was new to the game, but so were the gullible toms I was chasing. They made me feel like a turkey ninja, and I couldn’t get enough of the game. Unfortunately, I was limited to one tag each spring.
I quickly realized that if I were to properly feed my new addiction I’d have to become a traveling turkey hunter. So each spring I began venturing back to my native state of Minnesota to hunt with my brother and then to the Black Hills of South Dakota. And the addiction grew. I’ve now tagged turkeys in 17 states, including Hawaii, and traveled to Mexico to tie a toe tag to a Gould’s to complete my Royal Slam. And while many of those out-of-state (and country) adventures took place on private land, I can honestly say that some of my most rewarding hunts occurred on public ground – places available to anyone who’s willing to do a little homework and burn some boot leather.
Whether you’re a casual hunter – like I was – or a feather-chasing fanatic – like I now am – there’s never been a better time to become a turkey road warrior. With populations at all-time highs and public ground opportunities available in nearly every state, all that’s required is a little planning and a strong desire to take your turkey-hunting prowess to the next level.
It can be as simple as jumping the border to a neighboring state to pick up another tag, or a prolonged road trip covering several states. The prospects are as boundless as your imagination and ambition.
Do it. Become a turkey road warrior and see where that path might lead you. Heck, I might even bump into you in the Wyoming Black Hills, the Arkansas Ozarks or the Mark Twain National Forest. I’ll be the one in head-to-toe camo with a spring in his step. I’ll likely give you a knowing nod, a thumbs up and a wide berth.