General Spring Turkey Season Will Open March 28

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) today announced
California’s spring turkey season will open statewide on March 28.
The general season will extend through May 3. In addition, archers
may hunt turkeys through May 17, and holders of Junior Hunting
Licenses are permitted to hunt through May 17 with shotguns.

In December 2008, the Fish and Game Commission adopted
regulations for a new spring turkey season for apprentice hunters
that will occur on March 21-22, the weekend prior to the general
spring season. These early season dates apply to holders of a valid
Junior Hunting License who are a part of the DFG’s Apprentice Hunt
Program. The new apprentice hunt turkey season will be statewide
for holders of a valid Junior Hunting License with no special
permit required.

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 2007 (the
most recent year of compiled information), DFG’s “game take hunter
survey” estimated that 27,500 hunters bagged 23,400 turkeys during
the spring season. An additional 7,000 were taken during the fall
season. More than 1,000 birds were taken from each of the following
counties: Alameda, Amador, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Shasta,
Sonoma and Stanislaus.

For places to hunt turkeys, DFG recommends that hunters refer to
the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on DFG’s Web site
at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/docs/turkeyguide.pdf.

DFG has several special hunts for turkeys that are open to a
limited number of hunters. Information and applications can be
found in the spring 2009 edition of the California Hunting Digest
at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest.

Hunting permits required for the general season, issued through
drawings, will continue to be required during the general spring
turkey season. Hunters are encouraged to check DFG’s special hunts
Web site for more information at
www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird/SpecialHunts/SpringTurkey

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