You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. It’s a worn-out saying, but it also applies to novice hunters looking to join the turkey hunting family.
Learn to Hunt programs around the country are introducing new hunters to turkey hunting annually, and that must happen for our hunting heritage to survive. Eventually, though, these new hunters need to have a watering hole — in this case, land to hunt. Public hunting land is available in nearly every state, and the NWTF is doing conservation work to improve wild turkey habitat on these tracts of land. The 2018 Spring Hunt Guide provides you with all the useful information needed for turkey hunting in your state, plus public land recommendations from NWTF regional biologists. Each recommendation includes specifics on conservation-related work with wild turkeys, and other game animals, in mind.
If you’re a new hunter or may be mentoring a hunter in the future, use these recommendations to find the best public hunting land near you.
Warning: While the dates and times for each state's hunting season have been checked for accuracy, NWTF members and readers should continue to consult their state's hunting regulations before hunting.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.outdooralabama.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (334) 242-3469
SEASON DATES: Varies by county (check regulations)
BAG LIMIT: Five (combined fall and spring seasons)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 272-GAME
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area south of Tuscaloosa has seen habitat improvements through a stewardship contracting partnership between the USDA Forest Service and the NWTF, as well as other habitat enhancement projects funded by Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and NWTF State Chapter Hunting Heritage Super Fund projects.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.azgfd.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (602) 942-3000
SEASON DATES: All permits are issued through a public draw. Applications are due annually in October.
First season (shotgun): April 27 to May 3 and May 11-24; Second season (shotgun) May 4-24
Youth-only hunt: April 20-26 and May 11-24. Draw permit may be required; over-the-counter permits are available in several units. Check regulations for open units.Archery hunts: May 11-24. Draw permit may be required; over-the-counter permits are available in several units. Check regulations for open units.
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 352-0700
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Tonto and the Apache-Sitgreaves national forests are prime wild turkey hunting areas for Merriam’s wild turkeys. For Gould’s wild turkeys, your only option in the U.S. is the Coronado National Forest, where tags are extremely limited in number and highly sought after. The NWTF is actively involved in multiple projects on the Coronado National Forest. Please stay away from active logging operations.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.agfc.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (800) 364-4263 or (501) 223-6300
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth season); Regular season: April 9, season closure varies (check regulations)
BAG LIMIT: Varies (check regulations)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 482-9262
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA, Prairie County. Mulching to reclaim existing fields and planting of existing wildlife openings. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has also completed prescribed burns on WMA.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wildlife.ca.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(888) 334-2258
SEASON DATES: March 31 to May 6 (regular season); May 7-20 (archery-only)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey per day, three per season
POACHER HOTLINE: (888) DFG-CALTIP
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge. The NWTF, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, have helped to complete native grassland restoration projects on several open units that benefit foraging, nesting and brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: cpw.state.co.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(303) 297-1192
SEASON DATES: April 14 to May 27
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys (one with a limited-draw permit; one with unlimited over-the-counter permit)
POACHER HOTLINE: (877) COLO-OGT
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Spanish Peaks State Wildlife Area, located in Las Animas County about 24 miles northwest of Trinidad. NWTF has helped fund forest stand improvement of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak stands through juniper removal on the SWA with additional treatments being conducted in 2018.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.ct.gov/deep/site/default.asp
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (860) 418-5957
SEASON DATES: April 25 to May 26 (regular); April 14–21 (youth training days)
BAG LIMIT: Three bearded birds, private land; two bearded birds, state land
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 842-HELP
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Aldo Leopold Wildlife Management Area in Southbury should provide a good opportunity to harvest an Eastern wild turkey this spring. In 2015, five acres of agricultural land were converted to brood habitat. This area was planted in grasses and forbs to create a better food source by increasing insect abundance and seed production. The WMA has rolling hills with a mosaic of open hardwoods and fields creating desirable conditions for spring turkey hunting.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.fw.delaware.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (302) 735-3600
SEASON DATES: April 7 (youth); April 14 to May 12 on private land (regular). Check regulations for public land permits and season segment dates (www.eregulations.com/delaware/hunting/; pages 26–27). All first-time Delaware turkey hunters must successfully complete a Division-approved Turkey Hunting Safety Course. This includes both public and private hunters. To register for a classroom Turkey Hunting Safety Course, call the Hunter Education Office at (302) 735-3600. Delaware also accepts an online Turkey Hunting Safety Course. The online course can be found at www.wildturkeyhuntingcourse.com. Upon completion of the online course, contact the Hunter Education Office.
BAG LIMIT: One bearded bird (must be registered)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 292-3030
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Eagles Nest Wildlife Area in New Castle County. Delaware NWTF State Chapter has recently partnered with DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife to create 7 acres of brood-rearing habitat adjacent to a power line right of way. This area is a great place to find a strutting gobbler this spring.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: myfwc.com/hunting
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(850) 488-4676
SEASON DATES: Feb. 24-25 (youth hunt, south of SR 70),
March 10-11 (youth hunt, north of SR 70);
March 3 to April 8 (regular, south of SR 70),
March 17 to April 22 (regular, north of SR 70)
BAG LIMIT: Two (In Holmes County, the daily bag and season limit is one)
POACHER HOTLINE: (888) 404-FWCC
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Green Swamp WMA. The NWTF, through the NWTF/FWC/FFS Cost-Share Program, has partnered with the Southwest Florida Water Management district over the last several years to mechanically treat over-grown saw palmetto within pine flatwoods, and then used prescribed fire to maintain the areas treated.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.gohuntgeorgia.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (770) 761-3045
SEASON DATES: March 17-18 (youth/mobility impaired); March 24 to May 15 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Three gobblers
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 241-4113
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Oconee National Forest, central Georgia (near Macon). Prevalent timber thinning and prescribed fire.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: dlnr.hawaii.gov/recreation/hunting/bird
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (808) 587-0166
SEASON DATES: Check regulations
BAG LIMIT: Three bearded turkeys
POACHER HOTLINE: (808) 643-DLNR
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: https://idfg.idaho.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(208) 334-3700
SEASON DATES: April 8-14 (youth); April 15 to May 25 (regular). Check regulations for unit-specific dates.
BAG LIMIT: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing a daily bag limit increase from one to two bearded turkeys. Spring season limit remains at two bearded turkeys.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 632-5999
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Idaho Panhandle and Nez Perce-Clearwater national forests host world-class Rio Grande-Merriam’s hybrid turkey hunting on public lands. The NWTF contributes prescribed burning, brush removal and invasive weed control projects on these forests.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dnr.illinois.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (217) 782-6302
SEASON DATES: March 31 to April 1 and April 7-8 (youth)
North Zone: First – April 16-20; Second – April 21-26; Third – April 27 to May 2; Fourth – May 3-9; Fifth May 10-17
South Zone: First – April 9-13; Second – April 14-19; Third – April 20-25; Fourth – April 26 to May 2; Fifth – May 3-10
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey per permit with a maximum of three per person. Permits are valid only for the county or special hunt area and season for which they are issued. (www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/TurkeyHunting.aspx)
POACHER HOTLINE: (877) 236-7529
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Shawnee National Forest spans across 280,000 acres of southern Illinois and is located within the Shawnee Hills Focal Landscape. The SNF represents the largest forested concentration of public land in Illinois and accounts for around 10 percent of the state’s spring Eastern turkey harvest. The NWTF has worked with the SNF restoring and maintaining the almost 2,700 acres of open land throughout the forest. The NWTF has also assisted with increasing the SNF’s capacity to conduct prescribed burning on over 11,000 acres in the previous two years.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(317) 232-4070
SEASON DATES: April 25 to May 13
HOURS: Half-hour before sunrise to sunset
BAG LIMIT: One bearded or male turkey
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) TIP-IDNR
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Hoosier National Forest, Orange County. The NWTF has assisted the USDA Forest Service on a number of different projects, including creating wildlife openings, planting trees and shrubs, removing and treating invasive species. The state chapter has also helped provide funding for a limited-term internship position for many years now.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.iowadnr.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(614) 774-2958
SEASON DATES: April 7-15 (youth); Regular Season 1 - (Gun/Bow): April 16-19; Season 2 - (Gun/Bow): April 20-24; Season 3 - (Gun/Bow): April 25 to May 1; Season 4 - (Gun/Bow): May 2-20 Resident archery: April 16 to May 20
BAG LIMIT: Daily bag and season possession limit is one bearded or male wild turkey for each valid license and transportation tag issued to the hunter.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 532-2020
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Iowa River Corridor Wildlife Management Area is about 13,500 acres of land managed cooperatively between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This area is one of the largest concentrations of land managed for wildlife habitat in the state of Iowa and most of the Iowa River Corridor WMA is open to hunting, including turkey hunting. It is a mixture of hardwood forest, wetlands and grassland habitat. The Iowa River Corridor WMA, with land in Iowa, Poweshiek, Tama and Benton counties, falls right in the heart of the Iowa River NWTF Focal Landscape. In 2016, the Iowa NWTF State Chapter provided the USFWS and Iowa DNR funding to treat 3,000 acres of grassland with prescribed fire in the Iowa River Corridor WMA. Floodplain forest is excellent turkey habitat.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: ksoutdoors.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (620) 672-5911
SEASON DATES: April 1-17 (youth/disability); April 9-17 (archery); April 18 to May 31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT:One bearded turkey per permit or game tag (two total)
POACHER HOTLINE: (877) 426-3843
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Hunter success rates continue to be highest in the north-central region of Kansas, where there are high turkey densities and lots of publicly accessible land available. In the north-central portion of the state, hunters will have the opportunity to pursue both Rio Grande and Eastern subspecies. Hunters can explore several wildlife management areas (ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Where-to-Hunt) in the region, as well as many properties enrolled in the state’s Walk-in Hunting Access program (ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Hunting-Fishing-Atlas/Spring-Hunting-Atlas).
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.fw.ky.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (800) 858-1549
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth); April 14 to May 6 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: A hunter may take a male turkey or a turkey with a visible beard. No more than one bird per day. No more than two birds per spring season. Any combination of male turkeys, or female turkeys with visible beards, may be included in this two-bird season limit. Turkeys taken by youth during the youth-only season count toward the spring turkey bag limit.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 25-ALERT
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The NWTF has helped develop an additional 450 acres of quality wildlife openings and partnered with farmers for the development of agricultural field borders impacting over 4,000 acres of early-successional habitat for the Eastern wild turkey on Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wlf.louisiana.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (225) 765-2361
SEASON DATES: Area A: April 7 – May 6; Area B: April 7 – April 29; Area C: April 7 – April 22
Youth and Physically Challenged: March 30 to April 1
Refer to regulations for hunting areas and Wildlife Management Area/federal land seasons.
BAG LIMIT: One gobbler per day, two gobblers per season. Taking of hens, including bearded hens, is prohibited. Hunters are required to report their kill within 72 hours using the kill validation website, www.la.wildlifelicense.com, or by calling (888) 765-2602.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 442-2511
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Kisatchie National Forest, covering five ranger districts containing approximately 604,000 acres from north Louisiana through central and western Louisiana. NWTF is continually working with partners like the USDA Forest Service and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to improve habitat for Eastern wild turkeys across all of KNF. Currently there are active projects to enhance habitat on both the Caney and Calcasieu Ranger Districts.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.maine.gov/ifw
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(207) 287-8000
SEASON DATES: April 28; April 30-June 2 (some restrictions based on WMD)
BAG LIMIT: One or two bearded wild turkey depending on WMD
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 253-7887
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Mattawamkeag River System WMA, Penobscot County. The NWTF was a partner in a habitat management project on the Page Farm Compartment focused on creating young forest habitat for grouse and woodcock. Practices also included the establishment of thickets and food plots to provide a combination of food and cover. This diversity of habitats provides exceptional hunting opportunities.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER:(410) 260-8540
SEASON DATES: Junior Turkey Hunting Days: April 14, state wide, and April 15 in certain counties (see website); April 18 to - May 23 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: The spring season bag limit is one bearded turkey per day and two bearded turkeys for the season.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 635-6124
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Idylwild WMA in Caroline County provides a mixture of hardwood, pine and open habitat to hunt. The Maryland NWTF State Chapter provided funding in 2017 to rejuvenate a series of openings with clover and alfalfa — a good place to find a strutting gobbler this spring or a brood-rearing hen this summer.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (508) 389-6300
SEASON DATES: April 28 (youth); April 30 to May 26 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded birds; no more than one per day. Annual limit of two wild turkeys.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 632-8075
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Moose Brook WMA in Barre. The NWTF recently partnered with Massachusetts Wildlife to complete a 3-acre habitat improvement project to restore a forest opening. The project involved clearing trees and shrubs and removing invasive plants.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.michigan.gov/turkey
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (517) 284-9453
SEASON DATES: April 23 to May 31 (See state digest for details)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey per licensed hunter
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 292-7800
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Allegan State Game Area in Southwest Michigan (Allegan County). The NWTF has ongoing projects with the Allegan State Game Area to enhance and restore oak savanna habitats. The NWTF also recently has invested more than $75,000 to enhance and restore more than 250 acres of oak savanna habitat.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dnr.state.mn.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (888) 646-6367
SEASON DATES: Period A - April 18-24; Period B - April 25 to May 1; Period C - May 2 - 8; Period D - May 9 - 15; Period E - May 16 - 22; Period F - May 23 - 31
BAG LIMIT: One permit per person, one bird per permit
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 652-9093
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The NWTF received a grant from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund to restore habitat on the 730-acre Ereaux WMA in Morrison County. Oak woodlands on the WMA were infested with invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle, which reduces habitat quality and makes forest regeneration more difficult. NWTF hired contractors to kill these invasives and then begin a fire regime. The DNR has since conducted regeneration timber harvests, which will open up the stands and ensure quality turkey habitat well into the future.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.mdwfp.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (601) 432-2199
SEASON DATES: March 8-14 (youth): March 15 to May 1 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Three adult gobblers (must have at least a 6-inch beard); hunters 15 years of age or younger may harvest one gobbler of choice per day, three per spring season
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) BE-SMART
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The NWTF has worked with the USFWS to improve Eastern wild turkey habitat on Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. Several stands across the refuge were managed with prescribed fire to increase early-successional habitat acreage. Prescribed burning helps to create wild turkey habitat, and it also benefits other wildlife species, such as quail, and threatened/endangered species, such as red cockaded woodpeckers.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.mdc.mo.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (573) 751-4115
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth); April 16 to May 6 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two male turkeys or turkeys with a visible beard (only one of which can be harvested the first week). Only one bird during the youth season.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 392-1111
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Mark Twain National Forest is comprised of almost 1.6 million acres and remains a perennial favorite for resident and nonresident Eastern turkey hunters. The MTNF is divided into six ranger districts, including five that span the Ozarks from east to west across the southern half of the state and one district in central Missouri consisting of fragmented blocks between Jefferson City, Columbia and Fulton. The NWTF has worked annually with the MTNF on a variety of projects across the forest, including equipment purchasing, augmentation of their prescribed burning efforts, nonnative invasive species control, opening restoration and maintenance and glade restoration.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: fwp.mt.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (406) 444-2535
SEASON DATES: Varies (check regulations)
BAG LIMIT: Varies (check regulations)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 847-6668
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Lolo National Forest in western Montana. The NWTF has been working with the USDA Forest Service and Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks partners to improve wild turkey habitat on national forest lands in and around the Bitterroot Valley. Forest thinnings, meadow enhancements and prescribed burning on forest service lands have improved foraging and nesting habitat.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.outdoornebraska.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (402) 471-0641
SEASON DATES: March 25 to May 31 (youth and regular archery); April 7 to May 31 (youth shotgun); April 14 to May 31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: One tom or bearded hen per permit; Three permits per person during the spring season
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 742-7627
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Fort Robinson Wildlife Management Area & State Park (free access permit required for state park land) or adjacent WMAs in southern Nebraska — Swanson Reservoir and Harlan County Reservoir
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.ndow.org
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (775) 688-1500
SEASON DATES: Varies (check regulations)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 992-3030
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Mason Valley WMA. The NWTF, in conjunction with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, funded the purchase of a 500-gallon wildlife guzzler for arid summer and fall months for wild turkeys and other wildlife.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wildlife.state.nh.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (603) 271-3421
SEASON DATES: April 28-29 (youth); May 3-31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: One male or bearded bird
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 344-4262
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Hopkinton-Everett and Blackwater flood control areas in Merrimack County provide desirable field habitat that is often missing in the heavily forested state of New Hampshire.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.njfishandwildlife.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (908) 735-8793
SEASON DATES: April 21 (youth); April 23 to May 25 (regular). Check regulations for hunting period permits and associated season segment dates.
BAG LIMIT: The bag limit is one male turkey per permit, but only one bird may be taken in a given day, regardless of the number of permits a hunter holds.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 222-0456
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The New Jersey NWTF State Chapter has had an ongoing habitat management project at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Project highlights include mowing, invasive species treatment and planting of openings. The state chapter and local Thunder Mountain chapter have provided funding and volunteer hours and labor on this project since 1986.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wildlife.state.nm.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (888) 248-6866
SEASON DATES: April 6-8 (youth); April 15 to May 10 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 432-GAME
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Mt. Taylor Ranger District, Cibola National Forest, Zuni Mountains (also Mt. Taylor). Merriam’s wild turkeys are found throughout the Zuni Mountains and within the ongoing Bluewater Stewardship Project site. Please do not enter active logging areas for safety reasons.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dec.ny.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (518) 402-8886
SEASON DATES: April 21-22 (youth); May 1-31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys (one per day). Youth allowed only one during youth season.
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) TIPP-DEC
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area in New Hudson (Allegany County) should provide a good opportunity to harvest an Eastern wild turkey this spring. The New York NWTF State Chapter, along with the Enchanted Mountains local chapter, has cooperated with NYS DEC on multiple projects over the last few years. The focus has been on establishing quality brood and nesting habitat. A young-forest creation project will take place this winter in partnership with Ruffed Grouse Society and NYS DEC. The WMA offers 4,560 acres of rolling hills, forestlands and small fields.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.ncwildlife.org
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (919) 707-0010
SEASON DATES: April 7-13 (youth); April 14 to May 12 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys (youth allowed only one during youth season)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 662-7137
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Mill Ridge, Pisgah National Forest. Located near Hot Springs, North Carolina, the Mill Ridge area of the Pisgah National Forest offers Eastern wild turkey hunting in the mountains of North Carolina. The NWTF has partnered with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to eliminate nonnative invasive shrubs and restore grasses and forbs to the historic wildlife fields that characterize Mill Ridge.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: gf.nd.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: 701-328-6300
SEASON DATES: April 14 to May 20 (check regulations for details)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 472-2121
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: North Dakota is comprised mainly of private lands. The NDGF PLOTS program provides for the enrollment of private lands for public hunting. PLOTS enrollments can be found scattered throughout the state. The NWTF has been working with the NDGF on multiple PLOTS enrollments scattered around the state to improve wild turkey habitat. Hunters should refer to the annual PLOTS handbook for properties that provide for wild turkey hunting.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (800) 945-3543
SEASON DATES: April 21-22 (youth), 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset; April 23 to May 6, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, May 7-20, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset (south zone); April 30 to May 13, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, May 14-27, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset (northeast zone)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys per season; second bird requires additional permit; only one bearded turkey per day
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 762-2437
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Wayne National Forest, Ironton District. Various projects to improve wild turkey habitat that include open land management, crop tree release and invasive species control.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wildlifedepartment.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (405) 521-2730
SEASON DATES: March 31 to April 1 (youth season, excluding southeast region); April 21-22 (youth season in southeast region only); April 6 to May 6 (open statewide except for the southeast region); April 23 to May 6 (southeast region)
BAG LIMIT: Three for statewide season (county limits apply; consult website)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 522-8039
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Black Kettle WMA, Roger Mills County. A multi-year project has improved wild turkey roosting habitat by clearing red cedar and other brush from potential roost sites. This is a cooperative project between NWTF, USDA Forest Service and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dfw.state.or.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (503) 947-6000
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth); April 15 to May 31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: One male turkey or a turkey with a visible beard (daily). Three legal turkeys (season)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 452-7888
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Paulina Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest. The NWTF is improving forest health through stewardship agreement thinning projects. There are robust populations of Rio Grande wild turkeys on and around the forest.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.pgc.state.pa.us
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (717) 787-4250
SEASON DATES: April 21, hunting hours close at noon (youth); April 28 to May 31 (regular), hunting hours close at noon April 28 to May 12. Hunting hours close half-hour after sunset May 14-31. No Sunday hunting.
BAG LIMIT: One bearded bird on the regular hunting license. Hunters possessing the special second license for spring gobbler hunting may take a second bearded bird, one bird per day.
POACHER HOTLINE: (888) PGC-8001
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: State Game Land 75 or SGL 89 in Lycoming County. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has implemented over 8 miles of fire line on these properties using NWTF volunteer-raised funds via local banquets and the Energy for Wildlife program. Over 1,500 acres of various habitat types will be managed with prescribed fire over the next five years, with several hundred acres anticipated to be ignited in the spring of 2018.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dem.ri.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (401) 789-0281
SEASON DATES: April 21-22 (youth/paraplegic); April 26 to May 20 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded bird
POACHER HOTLINE: (401) 222-3070
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Arcadia Management Area, Exeter/Richmond/West Greenwich. More than 14,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Primarily mature deciduous and coniferous forests with some wildlife foot plots maintained by the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife and some hay fields maintained by local farmers through cooperative management leases.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dnr.sc.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (803) 734-3886
SEASON DATES: March 20 to May 5 on private lands; April 2 to May 5 on WMA lands. Youth turkey hunt days available — check regulations.
BAG LIMIT: Three gobblers; no more than two per day (some WMAs more restrictive — check regulations)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 922-5431
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Webb, Hamilton Ridge and Palachucola WMAs, southwest South Carolina (near Estill). Wild turkey research, prescribed fire and longleaf pine plantings.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: gfp.sd.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (605) 223-7660
SEASON DATES: Check regulations
BAG LIMIT: Varies by unit (check regulations)
POACHER HOTLINE: (888) OVERBAG
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota. The NWTF has been working with partners to improve wild turkey habitat on private and public lands in the region through forest thinnings, meadow enhancements and hardwood treatments to improve foraging habitat and nesting cover.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.tn.gov/twra
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (615) 781-6610
SEASON DATES: March 24-25 (youth); March 31 to May 13 (regular)
BAG LIMIT:Four bearded turkeys, one per day (turkeys taken on specially designated WMAs may be bonus birds)
POACHER HOTLINE: West Tennessee: (800) 831-1173; Middle Tennessee: (800) 255- 8972; Cumberland Plateau: (800) 241-0767; East Tennessee: (800) 831-1174
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: North Cumberland WMA. Located in Campbell County, the North Cumberland WMA is a great place to hunt Eastern wild turkey and view Tennessee’s reintroduced elk population. The NWTF has been partnering with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and maintain young forest habitat, oak woodlands and shortleaf pine communities in the North Cumberland WMA.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.tpwd.texas.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (800) 792-1112
SEASON DATES: Season dates vary by county. Check local regulations for the county you plan to hunt at tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/regs/animals/turkey
South Zone: March 17 to April 29
North Zone: March 31 to May 13
Rio Grande 1-Gobbler Zone: April 1-30
Eastern 1-Gobbler Zone: April 15 to May 14
BAG LIMIT: Four (no more than one Eastern wild turkey)
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 792-GAME
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: LBJ National Grasslands offers a six-week season in Texas’ North Zone just an hour west of Fort Worth. The area has Rio Grande wild turkeys. NWTF has been working with the National Forest and Grasslands to mulch thick woods to open up more turkey hunting areas and promote prescribed fire as a management tool.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: wildlife.utah.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (801) 538-4700
SEASON DATES: April 14-26 (limited entry); April 27-30 (youth); April 30 to May 31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 662-DEER
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Wasatch-Cache National Forest between Mendon and Deweyville. Work has focused on providing natural winter food sources by planting grains and fruit-bearing trees.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.vtfishandwildlife.com
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (802) 828-1000
SEASON DATES: April 28-29 (youth); May 1-31 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Two bearded turkeys
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 75-ALERT
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Whipple Hollow WMA in Pittsford/West Rutland. The NWTF has ongoing apple tree release and pruning work on this 400-plus-acre parcel. These fields and orchards provide excellent turkey hunting opportunities in the spring.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.dgif.virginia.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (804) 367-1000
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth and apprentice); April 14 to May 6 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Three bearded turkeys per license year
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 237-5712
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: The Wallace and Marshall Tracts on the North River Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest in Bath County near Williamsville are good public land options for Eastern gobblers. An ongoing Stewardship Project Agreement between the USDA Forest Service and NWTF has enabled significant habitat work, including timber sales, brood range improvements and multiple plantings and prescribed fire to benefit wild turkey and other wildlife species.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wdfw.wa.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (360) 902-2200
SEASON DATES: April 7-8 (youth); April 15 to May 31 (general)
BAG LIMIT: A total of three male turkeys or turkeys with visible beards. Check regulations for region-specific bag limits.
POACHER HOTLINE: (877) 933-9847
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Klickitat Wildlife Area and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offer public land hunting for Merriam’s wild turkey in south-central Washington. The NWTF is working with numerous partners to improve white oak habitat through prescribed burning, understory reseeding and weed control.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: www.wvdnr.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (304) 558-2771
SEASON DATES: April 14 (youth); April 16 to May 12 (regular)
BAG LIMIT: Daily Bag – one; season bag – two
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) NET-GAME; www.wvdnr.gov/lenforce/poachers.shtm
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas County has received active management in recent years by creating multiple oak-hickory savannas and refurbishing existing brood range. Nesting cover improved due to recent timber sales. Good public land opportunity for pursuing Eastern gobblers.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: dnr.wi.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (888) 936-7463
SEASON DATES: Youth turkey hunt: April 14 - 15; Period A: April 18-24; Period B: April 25 to May 1; Period C: May 2-8; Period D: May 9-15; Period E: May 16-22; Period F: May 23-29
BAG LIMIT: One per permit: no limit on permit purchases; limited number of permits available in each zone
POACHER HOTLINE: (800) 847-9367
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Walking Iron County Wildlife Area (898 acres open to hunting) and Walking Iron County Park (288 acres open by permit) are situated in the town of Mazomanie west of Madison near the Wisconsin River. They contain oak woodland, remnant sand prairie, restored prairie and leased crop fields and fall within the Driftless Area Focal Landscape. The NWTF has provided Super Fund money to treat invasives, cut undesirable trees and introduce fire in an effort to promote healthier oak woodlands and grow young oak trees.
GAME AGENCY WEBSITE: wgfd.wyo.gov
AGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: (307) 777-4600
SEASON DATES: Season dates vary by hunt area, check regulations; Spring season framework is April 1 to May 20.
BAG LIMIT: One license per hunter and one male wild turkey, or wild turkey with a visible beard, per license. Hunters can possess up to three licenses after the license draw is complete, provided no more than one is a general license.
POACHER HOTLINE: (877) WGFDTIP (in Wyoming) or (307) 777-4330 (out-of-state)
PUBLIC LAND RECOMMENDATION: Black Hills National Forest in northeastern Wyoming. The NWTF has been working with partners to improve wild turkey habitat on private and public lands in the region through forest thinnings, meadow enhancements and hardwood treatments to improve foraging habitat and nesting cover.