Spring Turkey Season to Open March 26

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California’s 2011 spring turkey season will open statewide on March 26. The general season will extend through May 1. In addition, archers may hunt turkeys through May 15, and holders of junior hunting licenses are permitted to hunt with shotguns through May 15.In December 2008, the Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations allowing special hunt dates for youth hunters before and after the general season. In addition to the general season, youth hunters who have a valid junior hunting license may hunt this year on March 19-20 and May 2-15. Please note that the season remains closed to all hunters – both youth and adult – between March 21 and the official opening day, March 26.
Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp are required to hunt turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required for hunters with junior licenses. The bag limit is one bearded turkey per day and no more than a total of three turkeys during the general, archery and apprentice junior seasons combined.Wild turkeys are a very popular game bird in California. The statewide population is estimated at 240,000 birds. In 2008 (the most recent year of compiled information), DFG’s game take hunter survey estimated that 24,068 hunters bagged 20,553 turkeys during the spring season. An additional 5,724 were taken during the fall season. In 2008, 10 counties accounted for 55.5 percent of the statewide spring harvest: El Dorado, Mendocino, Placer, Sonoma, Shasta, Yuba, Butte, San Diego, Napa and Lake.For places to hunt turkeys, DFG recommends that hunters refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/docs/turkeyguide.pdf. DFG also offers several special hunts for turkeys that are open to a limited number of hunters. Information and applications can be found in the California Hunting Digest at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest.

Hunters are encouraged to check DFG’s special hunts website for more information at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird/SpecialHunts/SpringTurkey.