Have you always wanted to head out of state and try a do it yourself public land hunt? Maybe a western trip to hunt elk, deer or antelope has always been a dream. Many of us have found, after some research, that tags are expensive and difficult to draw. Then after acquiring tags, the access to land that isn't chock full of hunters is difficult. Then, after battling into the backcountry, the game is sparse to non-existent. While I'm certainly not attempting to talk you out of accepting the challenge and chasing your dream hunt, I actually do recommend you pursue the challenge, I am offering an alternative to start out with to gain some DIY experience or fill vacation time, waiting to draw that special tag.
My good friend, Trevor, and I sat down recently to discuss this spring's public land Merriam's hunt in Nebraska.
After our discussion of his success there over multiple years I started to do some research.
It turns out that Nebraska has over the counter turkey tags for only $128 ($25 habitat stamp). These can be purchased online at any time during the season. So you can decide to take a long weekend and hunt with very little planning and be legal and ready to take a bird immediately. Not only that, but you are allowed to buy up to three permits, so if you really get into the birds you can buy more permits on the fly.
Pair that with 1.2 million acres of public land, a nearly 7 week season, high success rates, and a conservative estimate of 145,000 birds your opportunities should be plentiful!
As mentioned earlier, don't give up on your public land dreams of high country elk or mulies but definitely consider the excitement turkeys offer to get the ball rolling and kick off your public land, DIY hunting obsession! Nebraska may be just the spot to fuel the fire and bring some meat back with you.
Realtree has a great state by state turkey hunting breakdown for you to weigh your options.
Nebraska Game and Parks - Turkey
The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.