The 15 States With the Absolute Best Turkey Hunting

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: March 4, 2024
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Gobble, gobble! When you think of turkeys, your mind may automatically go to Thanksgiving. However, turkey hunting doesn’t happen in November. In reality, it happens way before during the spring season. The ideal time to go turkey hunting is between late March and mid-May in most states throughout the country. But where should go for the absolute best turkey hunting? Because the US is so vast, there isn’t one region in particular that is amazing. Various states are good for turkey hunting. Just make sure you have the proper licenses. Let’s take a look at the 15 states with the absolute best turkey hunting.


Fellow Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey as the national bird.


Pennsylvania has a history of turkey hunting. About 30,000 to 40,000 turkeys are killed annually by hundreds of thousands of turkey hunters. There are many public lands where you can hunt these birds, but keep in mind that those out-of-state have to pay $100-$150 for licenses.


There’s a whopping 2.3 million acres of public land to hunt turkeys.

©Dimus - Public Domain

The Turkey population in Tennessee is a whopping 300,000 and about 53,000 are harvested every year. The license costs about $66, but for non-residents, it increases to over $200. you can hunt turkeys from early April to mid-May.


There are about 5 million acres of land where you may hunt turkey in Wisconsin.

©Ray Hennessy/

They’re about 350,000 turkeys in the state of Wisconsin with about 40,000 harvested per year. You can only hunt the birds between mid-April and late May. Because there are so many acres where you can hunt these birds, the scenery during your hunt is amazing and diverse.


The best place to hunt turkey is in the Ozark Mountains.

©davidsdodd/iStock via Getty Images

The best time to hunt turkey in Missouri is between mid-April and early May. There are around 400,000 turkeys throughout the state and about 40,000 are harvested every single year. You can only hunt two male turkeys per season and not on the same day.


There are only 800,000 acres of public land to hunt turkey in the Bluegrass State.

© Winkler

There are around 400,000 turkeys in Kentucky and about 30,000 are harvested each year. Turkey hunting in Kentucky is one of the best in the country and there is a huge chance of being successful.


The overall turkey population in Alabama has declined in the past few years.

©Nancy Hixson/

Alabama has around 365,000 turkeys. The great part about the state is that it has the highest bag limit. You can hunt one turkey per day with a maximum of four. Alabama also has one of the earliest start dates for turkey hunting.


Texas has the largest population of turkeys in the country.

©Paul VanDerWerf (Me in ME) / CC BY 2.0, Flickr - License

The Lone Star State has more than 500,000 turkeys located throughout. The turkey that roams around in the state is the Rio Grande turkey. The earliest start date, which is in the Rio Grande South zone is mid-March, but all zones are usually over around late April to mid-May.


Unlike other states, the turkey population has increased in the Golden State.

©Sean R. Stubben/

There are around 400,000 turkeys in the state, which means that for turkey hunters, the Golden State is your best bet to be successful. You are bound to run into most of the species of turkey here, as well. The season lasts from late March to late April.

South Dakota

The Merriam’s turkey is the most popular in South Dakota.

©Matthew Clemente/

The state has more than 2.3 million acres of land for you to hunt turkeys. The majority of turkeys are located in the Black Hills area of the state. The season for turkey hunting in South Dakota lasts almost two months (from early April to late May), which is one of the longest in the country.


Only around 3% of Nebraska is public land available for hunting.


There are three species of turkeys in Nebraska — the Merriam’s, Rio Grande, and Eastern. Unfortunately, if you are not a resident of the state the license to hunt will cost you about $300.


There are roughly around 300,000 turkeys in Kansas.

©MONGO - Public Domain

You have a lot of opportunities for turkey hunting in the state of Kansas. About 50,000 hunters gather each year to get turkeys — the Rio Grande species in the western part of the state and the Eastern species in the eastern regions.


Turkeys in Florida like to roam around in the swamplands and forests.

©Sandy Hedgepeth/

Florida is the only state in the nation where you can hunt Osceola turkeys. The landscapes of the state also make it a popular destination to hunt these stubborn birds. There are about six million acres of public lands to hunt.


Four Male Wild Turkeys Walking Side By Side

About 60,000 turkey hunters descend into Mississippi during turkey hunting season.

©Lois_McCleary/iStock via Getty Images

There are about 250,000 turkeys in Mississippi. They love roaming around in river or creek bottoms, or even forests, so it’s a fun hunt. There are about 2 million acres of public land in Mississippi.


A majestic male Wild Turkey displaying in long dry grass

There are about 900,000 acres of public land for turkey hunting in Oklahoma.

©Wichyanan Limparungpatthanakij/iStock via Getty Images

Turkey hunting is diverse and ideal in the state, with lots of forests and fields to hunt in. Approximately 70,000 turkeys are living in Oklahoma.


Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

The spring season is the only one allowed for turkey hunting in Georgia.

©Lightwriter1949/iStock via Getty Images

There are nearly 300,000 turkeys in the Peach State and every year hunters can bag about 40,000 of them. The turkeys love roaming around in plantations, forests, or even swamplands. The state has about 1.8 million acres of public lands.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Kerry Hargrove/

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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