Words by Ben O'brien and Photos by Asher Koles
The great pursuit of turkeys has led us into the field year after year. This Spring, a whole bunch of us at Duck Camp used our new gear made specifically for chasing gobblers. Now we feel pretty darn certain that we make the best gear to hunt turkeys in. But, what's the best state to hunt turkeys in? You may be surprised by the answer...or maybe not.
What makes for a good turkey hunting state? I'd say a strong population of birds, endless habitat, a kickass hunting culture, and plenty of access all go pretty far in determining which places qualify as top destinations. I've argued with many hunters over many beers that Texas might just be the top turkey state in the nation. Sure, we're biased here at Duck Camp, but just take a second to hear me out.
The wild turkey is thriving from the bluebonnet-covered Hill Country to the Edwards Plateau to the Rio Grande Plains in the southern reaches of the state. There are an estimated 600,000 birds roaming around the creeks and senderos here as compared to somewhere around 150,000 in Oklahoma. Not much of a Red River rivalry there.
'There may not be a ton of public land on the map – less than 1% of the state to be exact – but landowners are pretty damn welcoming when it comes to turkeys. Not to mention there are plenty of outfitters that'll show you a good time.
This year our crew hit the Hill Country hard. That roughly translates to morning hunts, lunchtime brisket/Topo Chico missions, afternoon naps, etc. We battled the drought conditions and intense heat that has gripped much of the state, but we still notched a few tags along the way.
After two gobbleless days of getting our butts kicked, I was able to coax this shy two-year old and his buddy around a rocky outcropping on a mesquite-covered ridge, past a group of wayward aoudad, and into my lap. He came rolling in and stopped just short of cuddling with me before meeting a load of TSS.
Can't wait to put him on the smoker and think about next season. There's still 599,999 estimated birds left for us to chase in the Lone Star State. Come join us.