When is turkey season? Why are there different turkey hunting seasons, and when do they begin/end? Turkey season is one of the best times of the year, and knowing when your state seasons begin is the first part of setting up your hunt.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about turkey hunting seasons.
When is Turkey Season?
Turkey seasons happen two times a year:
- Spring Turkey Season
- Fall Turkey Season
Each season is split up into different periods, which make up about a month total – depending on your state. For example, you have: Youth Seasons, Shotgun Seasons, and Archery Seasons that all are essentially periods within the spring and fall turkey hunting seasons.
To help give you a better idea how how this breakdown works, check out this picture from the Hunt Illinois website:
When you register for your hunt through the state, you can normally choose several different options, including the date of your hunt. Make sure you hunt only within your time you paid for, otherwise you could face legal recourse. This is extremely important.
Why Are There Turkey Hunting Seasons?
Turkey hunting seasons are split up like this to allow for the birds to breed and recuperate between seasons. It all comes down to wildlife population control.
Related: How to Turkey Hunt for Beginners
What many people don’t know is that one of the primary reasons of government hunting bodies is to help control the wildlife populations in their state. Every type of game has their own seasons – not just turkey. There’s elk season, deer season, so on and so forth.
Seasonal dates for game are made up by several different departments within each state. For example, the department of natural resources, department of wildlife management, and department of hunting and trapping all likely have a say in establishing the different opening and closing dates for each season.
Turkey Hunting Seasons by State: When Can You Turkey Hunt?
Each state will have both a spring and fall season for hunting turkeys, but you’ll need to check with the state you plan on hunting in for details.
While the times will be, generally, around the same dates, they can vary slightly. For the most up-to-date information on state turkey hunting season dates, check that state’s wildlife management department page, or hunting and trapping page.
Can You Hunt Turkeys in the Winter?
If you want to hunt in the winter, you’ll need to get access to private land. A vast majority of people will not be hunting for turkey in the winter. The conditions make it difficult, as most birds are concerned with hunkering down – not openly exploring and looking to breed.
Related: Turkey Hunting Jackets
Can You Hunt Turkeys in the Summer?
Many people prefer to start scouting late summer, in preparation for fall. That said, you can turkey hunt for the summer, but don’t except the gobble-rest that you experienced in the spring.
The breeding season has died down, and while some birds will call year long, most of them quiet down after spring. Your best bet for hunting in the summer is to really hit it hard at dawn and dusk, since these times of the day are the best conditions for both you, and the birds.
Late Season Turkey Hunting vs Early Season
Depending on when in the season you go hunting, you will have different experiences. Most turkey hunters want the earliest hunt dates they can get, because the birds will have not been touched for several months.
One of the main perks to youth and archery seasons is they come first. While shooting a bow is much harder than shooting a shot gun, you will have access to the very first dates – which means (potentially) the biggest birds!
By the time late season comes along, the birds have been hunted for a few weeks, and become privy to the hunting. Late season can be harder to nail a beard dragger, simply because a lot of them have already been killed. The bird’s behavioral patterns will most likely change due to the constant pressure of being hunted.
Late season hunters should try their luck with turkey decoys, to help get an edge. Late season hunting can be rough, so you’ll want any advantage you can get.