Lots of people dream of going on out-of-state hunts; it’s probably one of the top five things my hunting buddies and I discuss. The problem is heading off in pursuit of bear, elk or a lot of times even deer in other states can become fairly expensive pretty quickly. Factoring in care for the animal once you’re successful can bring in a host of other logistical challenges into the mix… it’s enough to make the average person give up and say “One day…” as the years pass on by. My next few blogs are going to focus on an out-of-state hunting adventure that IS incredibly doable, and the steps that we’ve taken to make it happen. For the past seven years in a row, I’ve taken my boys on an annual “turkey tour”, covering multiple states and allowing for a wide variety of adventure! What’s even better is I’m going to show you how to do this on a very meager DIY shoestring budget!
“Turkey tours” seem to be almost normal these days. In large part, that’s due to the wildly popular adventures “The Hunting Public” guys chronicle on their YouTube channel. Trust me, when we went on our first one seven years ago, they weren’t. To think of hitting multiple states in succession without coming home and perhaps being gone up to a couple weeks at a time was a stretch for me when I first started contemplating it… but the more I looked into it, researched it and began looking at my available resources, the more it looked doable. Here’s how I started to put it together:
Non-resident big-game tags are expensive
What’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t gallivant off to Alaska in pursuit of a Yukon moose, or Colorado after an elk? Tags are getting expensive. Like stupid expensive. But I’m fortunate: I’ve got a couple boys who qualify for youth tags. After hearing about how a lot of states encourage recruitment of hunters using ridiculously low license fees for youth hunters – even non-resident youth – I started giving these programs a lot closer look.
Kansas offers out-of-staters a combo youth tag for $22.50 that’s good for two birds. (This past year, the eastern side of the state has lowered its limit to one bird, but you can still take two in the western half…) Nebraska youth tags are only $8 apiece and you can buy three if you want. That’s three birds for $24. Kentucky doesn’t even require a license to be purchased if your youth is under 12. Like the great Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff famously said, “What a country!”
Turkey hunting is one of the few pursuits where I can be involved in the hunt, but not need to be the “trigger man” to feel as though I was REALLY in the hunt. To me, striking up a bird, figuring out how to set up on it, calling him in, watching him put on a show… all that is 99.7% of the hunt. The act of killing the bird? Pretty much just a formality for me. I’ve already had my fun by that time. Oh, don’t get me wrong … I want my boys to kill the bird, to close the book on the deal – for a couple reasons: Even though we’ve had a TON of fun up to that point, we do keep score on how many birds we’re able to actually kill. Last year, it was 9 over the course of our “tour”. And, more importantly, we LOVE turkey meat. I do choose to hunt Kansas with my boys, because… well, Kansas is just something special. It makes us sub-average turkey hunters feel really good about ourselves. I can buy an adult hunting license and tag for $165. If I wanted to travel to the eastern half of Kansas and get my second bird, a combo tag would have cost me just $25 more.
So it’s cheap enough… how am I going to pull this off?
Once you realize the tags aren’t going to force you to take out a second mortgage on your home, you’re now left with the logistics of actually pulling off the trip. There’s a lot involved with making it all work, from drive time to living accommodations, to food prep and coordinating all the overlapping seasons.
Stay tuned over the next several blogs as I show you step by step how we’ve made this work for us; you just might find yourself wanting to go on a multi-state adventure that’ll give you immense rewards for minimal investment!