By Bob Humphrey
Turkey seasons are in full swing across much of the U.S. this month and many a dedicated turkey aficionado will be looking beyond the borders of their home state for more and different hunting opportunities. For some, the turkey hunting alone is enough to justify a trip of several hundred, or over a thousand miles. Others might need a little more incentive. If you’re among the latter group, there are several options to sweeten the pot.
Feral hogs are widespread over much of the southern half of the U.S. They make for great sport and table fare, and can be a nice addition to, or integral part of a spring turkey hunting trip.
Conventional methods include spot-and-stalk or hunting over bait. Because they are feral, and often considered a nuisance, many states allow hog hunting at night; so you can hunt turkeys during the day and hogs at night.
Popular night hunting methods involve running with dogs, or riding in trucks or ATVs and spotlighting agricultural fields - where hogs are considered vermin.
Florida, Texas and other southwestern states have a variety of exotic species, like sika, axis and fallow deer, aoudad, blackbuck and even African plains game. Because they’re not native game species, seasons and bag limits are much more liberal, and spring hunting is often allowed. Methods vary with species and terrain.
Spring is fishing season and opportunities abound. But if your tastes run more toward hunting, you may be able to keep your archery skills honed with some bowfishing. Like feral hogs, exotic carp are considered a nuisance by some, but a great recreational opportunity by others. Poling along through flooded grass flats and plinking arrows offers all the excitement of bowhunting without the worry about scent-control, stealth and camouflage.
If you’re traveling over the border to hunt turkeys this spring, don’t limit yourself. Check with your outfitter or the state wildlife agency website to see what additional hunting opportunities might be available.