Turkey Hunting Seasons in US
Are you planning to go after the gobblers, bearded males or the hens? The elusive turkey, a coveted catch, forms the core of favorite hunting activities in the US.
Wild turkeys were hunted down by native Americans in North America centuries ago, and the trend continues till date. Sadly, in the 90s, commercial hunting, habitat destruction, and non-compliance of wildlife regulations led to a serious reduction of the turkey population. The rebound has occurred because of the relentless efforts of wildlife agencies, responsible hunters and conservation organizations. Today, 7 million plus turkeys can be found in almost all states with the exception of Alaska.
If you are planning to go turkey hunting in the upcoming seasons of 2020-21 then this article is for you. Read on to get a quick idea about what to expect – where and when – as you start planning ahead.
Turkeys as Game Animals
The ocellated turkey or Meleagris ocellata and the wild turkey or Meleagris gallopavo are the two main species of turkeys pursued by hunters in the US.
In line with the rules and regulations for turkey hunting in different states
- Spring hunters target gobblers or male turkeys. This season overlaps the wild turkey mating period wherein gobblers can be called within the shooting range by mimicking the sounds of their female counterparts.
- Fall hunts usually target either male or female turkeys. In this season, turkeys are found as large flocks. Hunters strive to scatter or break up the flock and then apply turkey calls to get them back together.
- Shotguns are the preferred weapon for hunting down wild turkeys. The shotgun gauges include 10, 12, 16, and 20 gauge.
- Archery methods with bows and arrows made of different materials are also common.
- Small caliber rifles may be permitted by some states for pursuing turkeys.
- Hunting broadheads are commonly used for body shots while the guillotine-type broadheads are used for removing the heads of the catch.
Hunters camouflage themselves from top to toe to avoid being detected by the sharp eyes of their pursuit. It’s important to pack a camouflage-style hat, boots, gloves, pants, shirt, and a mask. Turkey vests are designed with a cushion seat and pockets for carrying calls, weapons, etc.
- Air Calls – These calls include diaphragms, wingbone calls, Turpin yelpers, snuff tube calls, trumpet calls, etc.
- Friction calls comprise of box calls, scratch boxes, push pin calls, pot and peg calls, etc.
- The popular locator calls include crow calls, hawk calls, owl hooters, and other loud noises that make turkeys “shock” gobble, thereby giving their location away.
Typical Turkey Hunting Method
The turkey hunters wait with their bow or shotgun for the ‘tom’ or dominant male turkey to come within the range. They wait for the bird to come parallel to where they’re positioned so that the contours of the head are exposed. This increases the probability of shooting down the bird quickly and with a neat shot. Besides, with this method in use, the meat or the feathers of the bird is not harmed.
2020 Turkey Seasons & Bag Limits
The much awaited turkey seasons are just around the corner. The table below depicts the turkey season dates in 2020 and the limits on bags in every US state. The rules, licenses and regulations for turkey hunting are different in every state, so you may want to research them before booking your dates. Click on the name of the state of your choice to get more specific information.
(The season dates are for the year 2020. New information will be updated when available.)
|State||Season Dates||Bag Limits|
|Alabama||March 21 – May 3 |
(as per zone and county)
|Gobblers only: 5 across fall and spring, one daily.|
|Arizona||Merriam’s Turkey: April 24 – April 30, and May 8 – May 21, 2020 |
Rio Grande Turkey: April 24 – April 30, and May 8 – May 21, 2020
May 1 – May 7 and May 15 – May 28 2020
|1 turkey each year except as defined in R12-4-120.|
|Arkansas||April 13 – 28 |
April 13 – 21
(according to zone and county)
|2 legal turkeys, 0 jakes. No more than 1 turkey can be taken legally each day.|
March 28 – May 3 2020
May 4 – 17, 2020
|1 bearded; 3 each season in total.|
|Colorado||April 11 – May 31 |
(as per hunt location and license type)
|One bearded bird through over-the-counter permit. An extra bird can be allowed with a limited spring turkey permit.|
|Connecticut||April 29 – May 30 (Landowners, state and private land owners)||5 bearded birds.|
|Delaware||Segment dates (A-D) |
For Public Land
(A) April 11 – April 17
(B) April 18 – April 24
(C) April 25 – May 1
(D) May 2 – May 9
|1 turkey per year, bearded birds only.|
|Florida||North of State Road 70 |
March 21 – April 26
South of State Road 70 March 7 – April 12
|2 for spring seasons.|
|Georgia||March 21 – May 15 2020||G3 gobblers every season, inclusive of Special Opportunity season.|
|Hawaii||State wise regulations||State wise regulations.|
|Idaho||General season: |
April 10 – May 25
|During spring seasons: two bearded turkeys(with a general tag and extra tag.|
Bag Limit: One bearded turkey per permit; maximum of three per person
|1st Season: |
(North) April 10 – 14
(South) April 3 – 7
(North) April 15 – 20
(South) April 8 – 13
(North) April 21 – 26 (South) April 14-19
(North) April 27 – May 3 (South) April 20 – 26
(North) May 4 – May 11
(South) April 27 – May 4
|Hunters with spring turkey permit can get one 2nd turkey game tag. In Units 3, 5, and 6 – 1 turkey.|
|Indiana||April 22 – May 10||1 bearded/male turkey in spring.|
|Iowa||Season 1 |
April 13 – 16
April 17 – 21
April 22 – 28
April 29 – May 17
Resident Archery: only licenses
April 13 – May 17
|State wise regulations.|
|Kansas||April 15 – May 31|
|Kentucky||April 18 – May 10||1 male turkey / bearded turkey every day, up to 2 birds per spring season.|
|Louisiana||Area A: April 4 – May |
Area B: April 4 – 26
Area C: April 4 – 19
Season Dates: Bag Limit: Districts 7, 9-29 – 2 bearded; Districts 1-6 and 8 – 1 bearded
|1 gobbler per day; 2 every day.|
|Maine||Wildlife Management Districts |
7, 9-29 May 4 – June 6
Wildlife Management Districts
1 – 6 and 8 May 4 – June 6
|State wise restrictions.|
|Maryland||April 18 – May 23||1 bearded turkey every day2 bearded turkeys each season.|
|Massachusetts||April 27 – May 23||2 bearded birds.|
|Michigan||April 18 – May 31||1 bearded turkey every licensed hunter.|
|Minnesota||April 15 – May 31 |
(as per zone and county)
|1 bearded turkey.|
|Mississippi Missouri||April 20 – May 10||Two male/ bearded turkeys.|
|Montana||April 11 – May 17||Varies by region.|
|Nebraska||Archery: March 25 to 31 May|
Shotgun: April 18 until May 31.
|Three permits in spring, 1 male /female bearded turkey.|
|Nevada||State wise regulations||1 bearded turkey.|
|New Hampshire||May 1 – May 31||1 male/bearded turkey in spring season; 2nd turkey of any sex in the fall.|
|New Jersey||All Saturdays |
April 25, May 2, May 9, and May 16
|1 male turkey/ no hens in spring 1 bird other seasons.|
|New Mexico||April 15 – May 10||2 bearded turkeys.|
|New York||May 1 – May 31||2 bearded turkeys (one per day).|
|North Carolina||April 11 – May 9||Daily limit 1Possession/season limit 2.|
|North Dakota||April 11 – May 17||1 bearded wild turkey.|
|Ohio||The Northeast Zone|
May 4 – May 31
The South Zone
April 20 – May 17
|2 bearded turkeys; only one per day.|
|Oklahoma||April 6 – May 6|
(SE): April 20 – May 6
|Statewide 3 turkeysCounty limits vary.|
|Oregon||April 15 – May 31||3 gobblers or bearded turkeys.|
|Pennsylvania||May 2 – 30||Daily limit 1 season limit 2.|
|Rhode Island||April 30 – May 24||2 bearded birds.|
|South Carolina||Private Zones 1 and 2: |
April 1 – May 10
Private Zones 3 and 4
March 22 – April 30 WMA lands statewide:
April 1 – May 5
|Resident hunters: 3 turkeys, with 1 per day Non-resident hunters: 2 turkeys per season, 1 per day.|
|South Dakota||April 4 – May 31 |
(as per zone and county)
|1 bird, state wise regulations.|
|Tennessee||April 4 – May 17||1 bearded turkey each dayNo more than 4 per season.|
|Texas||Rio Grande: North Zone April 4 – May 17|
Rio Grande: South Zone Mar. 21 – May 3
Eastern Turkey: April 22 – May 14
|Utah||State wise regulations||State wise regulations.|
|Vermont||May 1 – May 31||2 bearded turkeys.|
|Virginia||April 11 – May 16||1 per day3 per license year.|
|Washington||April 15 – May 31||State wise regulations.|
|West Virginia||April 15 – May 11||1 bearded bird every day 2 every season.|
|Wisconsin||A: April 15 – 21|
B: April 22 – 28
C: April 29 – May 5
D: May 6 – 12
E: May 13 – 19
F: May 20 – 26
|1 bearded/male turkey each harvest authorization.|
|Wyoming||State wise regulations||1 male/bearded turkey per license.|
The Ohio Wildlife Council is responsible for approving all regulations for the Division of Wildlife. It has given its approval to the proposed turkey hunting season dates/regulations:
- The turkey season for 2021 spring would begin on Saturday in the northeast and south zones. There will be two extra weekend dates for turkey hunting. The northeast zone will start on Saturday, May 1, 2021 while the south zone will open up on Saturday, April 24, 2021.
- The youth wild turkey hunting season dates across the state are April 17-18, 2021.
Plan Your Turkey Hunting Trip
Regardless of whether you are planning a turkey hunt for the first time or have gone through the experience before, it pays to get your plans in order much before the season starts. Get in touch with experts and guides in turkey hunts to attain success outdoors. Our experts have years of experience and the expertise to guide you as you move towards the state of your choice.