Early in 2022, it was determined that there are over half a million turkeys in Texas. While that may seem like a pretty staggering number, Texas is a big state. It’s been said that if you place everyone in the world in the state of Texas, not only would they all fit, they wouldn’t be able to hit each other with a baseball.
Texas, like most other states, has a spring and a fall turkey season. The overall success rate for turkey hunters throughout the state is 40%, which is nearly enough to flip a coin, but mostly means you will have to be cunning in your pursuit.
Most people pay-to-hunt turkey in Texas, or they hunt them on their land. Some hunters have the right connections, so they hunt on other people’s land for free. Out-of-state turkey hunters typically go with an outfitter during the spring and fall seasons. Whatever you choose, turkey hunting in Texas is an exciting time of the year.
Guide to Turkey Hunting in Texas
Texas Turkey Season
Texas is divided up into zones for turkey hunters, just like their dove seasons. There is the North Zone, South Zone, and then a combination of Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy Counties. All of them start or end their seasons on different dates each year.
Texas breaks up its Fall, Fall Youth, Spring, and Spring Youth dates as well. Eastern Turkey Hunting comes with its own date as well—for the East Texas Zone. Residents in Texas lease land, either for turkey hunting clubs or for outfitters to use.
Before spring or fall turkey season, prospective hunters should study their quarry carefully. Knowing their behavior is a huge part of a successful hunt in Texas. For instance, hens are much more vocal in this part of the spring season. It’s not a part of a mating call or anything of that nature.
It’s just the general behavior of turkeys in the early days of the spring season. They quiet down as the season heats up. During the latter part, hens get vocal again. This time, they’re nesting, and the gobblers are looking for more hens.
It’s important information to know. Studying turkey behavior in Texas, including breaking down the different aspects of the spring and fall seasons, leads to more success.
Where is the Best Turkey Hunting in Texas
Texas is a huge state, and turkeys are pretty spread out, except for the arid climates. But there are still some areas that are considered prime real estate for turkey hunting.
- Wildlife Management Areas in East Texas – One of the best areas for spring turkey hunting season.
- The Prairie and Crosstimbers Region – There are a lot of hunting outfitters here but if you can find someone with land, the turkey population is pretty dense, especially on the Edwards Plateau.
- The Texas Panhandle – The turkey population is pretty extensive here, mostly because not many Texans and out-of-state hunters hunt the panhandle.
- The Brazos River – As an abundant water source for turkeys, it’s hard to go wrong with the Brazos River, especially south of Possum Kingdom Lake.
Where to Find Wild Turkeys
Wild turkeys are all over the state of Texas. It’s difficult to pinpoint any one location where you will have a lot of success finding them. Biologists point to areas where there is a good deal of moisture in the ground—enough to support an abundant plant ecosystem.
Wild turkeys avoid the arid regions of Texas like the plague. If you ever spot one in an arid region, it’s been placed there, or it took one too many blows to the head. Eastern wild turkeys tend to congregate in the humid areas of East Texas.
You’ll have to head to the Trans-Pecos Mountains to find the elusive Merriam Turkeys, while the Rio Grande wild turkeys congregate directly in the middle of Texas. They’re not rare. In fact, wild turkeys are considered to be thriving in Texas.
How Much Does it Cost to Hunt
If you decide to join an outfitter for the spring or fall turkey seasons in Texas, expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for the privilege. Of course, you will get a guide, an overnight (or two) stay in a far above-average lodge, and plenty to eat.
Resident licenses cost $25 apiece. If you are a Senior, you get a big discount—only $7 currently. Youth hunting licenses are affordable as well, at $7 for kids under the age of 17.
Non-resident licenses are available as well at $126 for a spring hunting season and typically the same for the fall turkey hunting season. Residents can also take advantage of Texas’ Lifetime License, which is $1,000 for the hunting package and $1,800 for the fishing and hunting package.
For those who like to hunt on their friend’s land, the “friend” in question has to purchase a hunting lease license for $79. For larger parties, there is the Hunting Lease Medium License for $147 and the Large License for $252.
Most biologists and seasoned turkey hunters will agree that the turkey population waxes and wanes in Texas. Even at its lowest point, there are still plenty enough to go around, it will just be more difficult for you to find them.
Although bagging a gobbler is an exciting event, just being out and exploring everything in the state of Texas is a delight in itself. Even if you come home empty-handed for one season, the experience makes up for some of the loss.
If you decide to take advantage of the many Texas outfitters throughout the state, you’ll really get a taste of what Texas has to offer.
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