Spring turkey season – the call of the wild!

Photo courtesy of Jim Turlington

Hearing the springtime chorus of birds at daybreak is one of many things that makes turkey hunting so special. But there’s no sound that will make the heart race as fast and no conversation that’s listened to more intently than the gobble of the wild turkey.

Spring turkey season south of S.R. 70 runs March 3 through April 8. In the rest of the state, it runs March 17 through April 22. Planning to go? Get your license and permits.

Following are the tools and information you need to help plan your season.

Where the wild turkeys are

The Sunshine State is home to two wild turkey subspecies. The only place in the world the Osceola subspecies lives is the Florida peninsula while the eastern wild turkey subspecies is found in north Florida and throughout the eastern U.S. Both populations are flourishing in Florida, a testament to FWC’s science-based management efforts.

Wondering where wild turkeys occur in Florida? Check out this interactive wild turkey map for estimates on their distribution across the state.

Spring turkey hunting on public hunting areas (without a quota permit!)

Photo courtesy of FWC’s Chad Weber

The FWC offers 43 public hunting areas statewide where you can “walk on” to hunt spring turkeys. We provide that information as well as what license and permits are required and a map showing wild turkey population densities in Florida.

Safe and successful turkey hunting

Turkey hunters recognize that understanding wild turkey behavior, good calling, and an effective shotgun pattern are all keys to success. Did you know that practicing safe turkey hunting strategies also can put you in the best position to take a gobbler? These tips will ensure turkey hunting remains a safe activity while setting you up for success.

Wild turkey conservation success story in Holmes County

Georgia Public Land TurkeyForum member with his well-earned gobbler.

This spring, Holmes County hunters can enjoy their first full-length spring turkey season in 20 years – a result of a successful wild turkey restoration project and partnership between the FWC, National Wild Turkey Federation and local landowners. Wild turkeys had virtually disappeared in Holmes County in the mid-1990s. With help from the NWTF, a turkey trapping and restocking program was initiated during the winters of 1998-99 and 1999-2000. By 2006, habitat improvements and other restoration efforts had paid off and turkey hunting in Holmes County was reopened with a limited 3-day spring season. Over the past decade, spring turkey season in Holmes County has been extended incrementally, and today, hunting success in Holmes County is as good or better than that in surrounding counties.

Hunting season opportunities in February/March

FS Forum member with a double header he landed out of state.

Spring turkey season

South of S.R. 70 – March 3 through April 8.
North of S.R. 70 – March 17 through April 22.

Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Weekends

South of S.R. 70 – Feb. 24-25
North of S.R. 70 – March 10-11

Zone D late muzzleloader season runs Feb. 19-25

Gray squirrel season runs through March 4

Quail season runs through March 4

For more season dates information, see:

2017-2018 Florida hunting season dates and bag limits

Final rule changes related to hunting and to FWC-managed areas

At its February meeting, the Commission approved rule changes related to hunting and FWC-managed areas around the state. Most of the rule changes expand or enhance hunting opportunities based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.

Sign up for a hunter safety course

Hunter safety courses cover firearms safety, wildlife conservation, responsible hunting and more. Students can attend a no-cost traditional classroom course. Or they can complete the classroom portion online. FWC’s website offers several online courses including a FREE option. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a skills day.

Bookmark these links to find information fast!

Get your hunting license and permits

2017-2018 Florida Hunting Regulations

New hunter information

Find a FWC-Managed Shooting Range

To read the full FWC press release click here

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