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10 Best States for Turkey Hunting in 2014

10 Best States for Turkey Hunting in 2014

I think most serious bowhunters would agree that the best turkey-hunting destination is typically anywhere a season is open, you have legal tags in your pocket and ready access.

But when it comes to seriously bowhunting turkeys, particular criteria certainly makes one place better than another. The biggest factor by far is an abundance of dumb birds, but that's not all there is to think about.

There are many other important factors to weigh when ranking the best states for turkey hunting. For example, there are a lot of gobblers in Alabama, but there are also a helluva lot of turkey hunters and those birds are about as skittish as they come. Alabama is a fine place to hunt turkeys, but it certainly has its limitations.

You also have to consider how difficult it is to hunt turkeys in any given state. We all love a good challenge, but impossible odds don't always make for the best hunting.

Also, the more birds you can call into bow range, the more opportunities you have to fill turkey tags. Calling in large numbers of mature gobblers is only possible in regions where birds receive minimal hunting pressure. This normally isn't going to happen in certain regions, so it's important to factor that into the equation.

Here's my logic for the best bowhunting spots in the country: lots of lightly-hunted birds, readily-accessible land (either public or private lands where a polite knock still opens doors to hunting) and a reasonable availability of tags.

Advanced Treestand Technologies Tagout

Advanced Treestand Technologies is one of the companies that grabbed my attention this year. Their products are truly innovative, and a standout in the lineup is the 16.5-lb. Tagout. The Tagout is designed with two heavy-duty ratchet straps for rock-solid mounting, and each features a removable seat and platform that does two things — allows for easy transport, and provides a safe, easy way to hang these stands. Advanced Treestand Technologies is a company that every serious bowhunter should check out, especially if you routinely hunt areas where stands cannot be left up, or you need to hike deep into properties to avoid crowds. Price: $275 (camo)

Ameristep Sky Walker

Built upon durable cast-aluminum platforms and utilizing hollow tubing construction, the new Hyde Series treestands are sure to win over hardcore bowhunters. Take one look at Hyde platforms and you'll see that they are void of seams, welds, tubes and rivets — all of which are potential 'weak spots ' that might create noise. A personal favorite in the Hyde Series is the Sky Walker, and it's not because I'm a closet 'Star Wars ' buff. It's because the Sky Walker weighs only 17.5 lbs., boasts an extremely comfortable Durasling seat (21" x 15"), and features a roomy 21.5" x 33" platform, which is big enough to let you maneuver into shooting position. Price: $250

Barronett SuperTough Big Mike

Anyone who has hunted out of blinds knows that for most models, durability can be an issue. Enter the SuperTough Big Mike blind. The 29-lb. SuperTough draws its name from the double-layer welded fabric used in its production, which essentially offers a checkerboard reinforcement to all sides and hinders tiny rips and tears from turning into blind-ruining gashes. The SuperTough, which measures 80" high, is also designed with stiffer poles and extra corner reinforcement to further earn its given moniker. Price: $250

Ameristep Bone Collector Man Cave

When it comes to bowhunting blinds, bigger is almost always better. This sentiment was behind the design of the new Bone Collector Man Cave from Ameristep. VP of Brand Management for Plano Synergy, Bob Ransom, says there are two reasons for the larger 72" x 88" footprint and 82" height, 'We made the largest blind available so that it would be ideal for standing bow shots, and for videotaping hunts with a buddy. ' To complement the roomier size of the Man Cave, each features a shoot-through mesh window system, weighs only 18 lbs., and boasts an offset hub system and window design that offers a full 270-degree field of view. Taking it even further to ensure you make the most of your time in the field, the Man Cave is also designed with the black Shadow Guard Carbon Enhanced interior that not only masks movement, but also greatly reduces human odor. Price: $250

Browning Camping Mirage

Browning Camping offers a line of hunter-friendly blinds, and one that has caught my eye is the Mirage. This is due to a few reasons, like the fact that the Mirage features a highly adjustable window system that gives you virtually 360 degrees of viewing and shooting capabilities. Secondly, it only weighs 19 lbs. and includes a durable shoulder carry bag. Lastly, with a 59" x 59" footprint, 66" height, and 69" shooting dimensions, the Mirage is large enough to accommodate any size bowhunter. Price: $200

Cabela' s Predator Den Ground Blind

With a roomy 75" x 75" footprint and 67" center height, the Cabela's Predator Den Ground Blind is the perfect choice for all-day turkey hunts, antelope waterhole sits, or rutting whitetail dawn-to-dusk marathons. Covered in Cabela's unique Zonz Woodlands camouflage, the 19.1-lb. Predator Den features removable shoot-through mesh, built-in brush strips, interior gear pockets, and full-length YKK zippers for silent and easy entrance and exits. The back of the hub-style Predator Den is black, which allows you to maneuver into shooting position without getting spotted by crafty game. Price: $200

Hawk Hunting Kickback Hang-On

Newcomer to the hunting industry, Hawk Hunting, made it very difficult to choose just one treestand to feature. They've got an extensive line of stands that are obviously designed by hunters. One standout, the Kickback Hang-On is a personal favorite due to the weight (22 lbs.), platform size (24" x 30"), and ultra-comfortable seat. The Kickback can handle up to 300 lbs. and is the perfect stand for staying comfortable during all-day rut sits. Hawk also produces a litany of stand accessories like climbing sticks, tow ropes, and other bowhunter-friendly products. Price: $140

Hunter's Specialties Backpacker

I love building natural blinds and bowhunting out of them, but some situations don't provide enough cover to suit that style. Instead of hauling in a pop-up blind, I often employ a simpler option and brush it in with grass or whatever is available. A blind that is perfect for this type of hunting scenario (and many others) is the Backpacker from Hunter's Specialties. The portable 8.5-lb. Backpacker stands a full 54" and spreads out to 12', so it will easily accommodate two hunters. Choose from either Realtree AP or Advantage Max-4 HD. Price: $50

Millenium Treestand M100U

The first time I sat in a Millennium Treestand, I was strapped in about six feet off the ground in a live oak in Texas waiting for hogs to show up. The first two hours of the hunt I was sound asleep, due in large part to the seat's comfort. If you're dead tired at the end of a long season, a comfortable seat might be a detriment to success. The rest of the time it's a blessing. Their new M100U features the same folding seat with a 17" tall backrest, all in a package that weighs a wispy 11.5 lbs. The entire stand folds flat for easy packing, meaning this is a dream for hunters looking to get off of the beaten path with their entire setup on their backs. Each aluminum M100U is rated to 300 lbs., boasts a 20" x 38" platform, and has been hinge and weld-tested under brutal conditions to guarantee durability. Price: $220

Muddy Outdoors Vantage

Muddy Outdoors creates some of the best treestands and accessories on the market, and for 2014 they've kept the streak alive with their 13-lb. Vantage. The Vantage features the all-new Super Mount System, which addresses one of the biggest problems with most stands — ease of attachment to the tree. The Super Mount System straps onto the tree and then allows for the stand to quietly and quickly lock into place. Additional features include a 29" x 21" platform, 2"-thick triple-layer seat (waterproof), and premium padded backstraps. For public-land hunters and others who need to pack in and pack out of the deepest recesses of hard-to-reach hunting grounds, the Vantage is a great choice. Price: $200

Ol' Man Outdoors The Drone

One of the biggest hang-ups I have with climbing stands is that they are extremely hard to adjust once you're off the ground. This problem has plagued climber users for years, however it's history now that The Drone from Ol' Man Outdoors is available. With a simple turn of your wrist you can extend or retract up to 5" of cable to ensure proper leveling and safe hunting. The Drone weighs 25 lbs. and is outfitted with a host of accessory hangers so that you no longer need to fumble for rattling antlers, binos, and other gear. Further design elements that are sure to please picky bowhunters include the ability to pack The Drone down to only 4" thick and a comfortable mesh seat. This is easily one of the coolest climbing stands I've ever used, and it's quickly earned a place in my arsenal for home and away hunts. Price: $400

Primos Shack Attack

According to Primos' Assistant Product Development Manager, Nolan Pettigrew, there are plenty of reasons for bowhunters to love the new Shack Attack blind. 'We used a unique five-rod hub design and patented Silent Slide Windows on this blind to ensure optimal shooting ability and rapid setup. ' Pettigrew's words become obvious after you set this blind up one time, and in addition to the two features he mentioned, the Shack Attack is loaded with several others. For starters, each is swathed in Ground Swat camo and measures 70" high and 80" wide. Most blinds this size are heavy, but this one tips the scales at only 22 lbs., which is perfect for spring turkeys, fall bears, or just about any critter you'd like to set up for. The Shack Attack is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Price: $250

Summit Peak

Comfort is the name of the game with Summit's new Peak treestand. Its Viper Swing seat measures 18" x 12" and contains a padded backrest. Padded armrests and an integrated footrest offer further comfort, making this 22-lb. stand a perfect choice for funnels and pinch points that beg for all-day sits in the whitetail woods. However, the benefits don't stop at simply being cozy. According to Summit's Regional Sales Manager, Monte Bennet, the Peak also has a few design features that bowhunters are sure to appreciate. 'The seat hanging bracket was designed with safe entry and exit in mind, ' Bennet said. 'This system uses a large containment frame that allows the seat to be folded completely out of the way, leaving you room to get in and out. ' And that's a good thing should a buck try to slip behind you. Price: $130

Twisted Timber Treestands Big Bruiser

Bowhunters often spend more time scouting for a tree than they do looking for a great spot to intercept a big buck. That wacky devotion of time to the wrong thing is about to change thanks to Twisted Timber Treestands and their offerings like the 17-lb. Big Bruiser. The Big Bruiser uses a system of ratchets, J-hooks, and straps to ensure that you can get this stand up in the most crooked trees you can find, making it the perfect option for any show-up-and-hunt scenario you're likely to encounter. Each Big Bruiser features a 14" x 9" seat and a 28" x 24" platform. Price: $199




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