5 Worst States for Turkey Hunting

By author of Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Why Some States Aren't Good for Turkey Hunting

At Realtree's Turkey Hunting Nation, we've worked hard to include information to help you hunt states better.

We've also tried to be honest with our comments, as a turkey hunter might in camp. In many cases, there are other great things about those states, even if turkey hunting isn't one of them.


The following five states pulled a "D" grade in our assessment of turkey hunting there. We've tried to give some honest reasons why.

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1 | Louisiana

We love Louisiana for its people, lifestyle and culture. The state has a solid duck hunting tradition. Some important factors keep the grade low in terms of wild turkey hunting. It's our fifth worst state for turkey hunting.

When you consider the declining turkey population, and the limited amount of public land available to turkey hunting, Louisiana doesn't measure up.

A year ago, the official turkey population estimate sat at 80,000 birds. Currently, it's 60,000. 

And a good turkey hunter can kill a bird here.

Go here for more on turkey hunting in Louisiana.

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North Dakota

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2 | North Dakota

Here's the deciding reason for the poor grade: spring turkey hunting is only open to residents of the state, unless you make legal arrangements another way – on tribal land.

So that hurts the state's overall grade for us.

Nothing against North Dakota, mind you – it's full of wonderful fishing, upland bird hunting, deer hunting and waterfowl hunting . . . But wild turkeys, which are not native to the Peace Garden State, will probably not make many lists of must-hunt destinations.

Go here for more on turkey hunting in North Dakota.

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3 | Nevada

Silver State turkeys are limited in number (1,200 birds according to National Wild Turkey Federation estimates), and their range is extremely small, but transplant efforts and habitat improvement projects have established huntable populations in a handful of regions.

For hunters lucky enough to draw one of the state’s limited tags, turkeys are usually taken. Some areas in the past have yielded success rates of 65 to 100 percent. 

The fact that you'll probably tag a Nevada turkey if you can get a permit keeps the state from receiving a failing grade. 

Go here for more on turkey hunting in Nevada.

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4 | Delaware

At first glance, turkey kill numbers in "The First State" (registration required) are historically low when compared to other states.

It's not always easy finding a place to work a Delaware turkey. Public land access is limited. 

Then, if this wasn't enough, there’s a lottery process for those public land tags.

Go here for more on turkey hunting in Delaware.

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Rhode Island

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5 | Rhode Island

The smallest state in the union (1,045 square miles) only offers limited turkey hunting opportunities.

Spring turkey permits recently issued were 1,130 according to current data, and hunter success rate is low.

While the three-day non-resident hunting license/turkey permit is definitely affordable, and there are a fair number of birds here for the state's size, we can't see Rhode Island turkey hunting as anything other than a novelty.

Super Slam hunters who want to take a bird in the 49 states with turkey seasons include it in plans.

Go here for more on turkey hunting in Rhode Island

(Stick numbers by Bill Konway.)

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Editor's note: We update this post annually. Please comment below if you think these states deserve a better grade, or if another state should be on the list.

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