California’s 2017 general spring wild turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 25 and extends through April 30. The archery-only season will follow immediately afterward, running from May 1-14.
Hunters who have a current junior hunting license may also hunt the weekend before the opener, (March 18 and 19), and the two weeks after the general season (May 1-14), using shotguns or any other legal method of take.
Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 5 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 a possession limit of no more than three turkeys during all spring seasons (general, archery and junior) combined.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering spring turkey hunt opportunities throughout the state. Please see the Special Hunts webpage to view and apply for hunts in Butte, Sutter, El Dorado, Fresno, Sacramento, Sonoma, Santa Clara and Yuba counties. The application deadline for these hunts is Friday, Feb. 17. There is no fee to apply.
Additional opportunities will be offered through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Program, which offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Three SHARE Access Permits will be distributed via random drawing for two-day hunts on Sleepy Creek Ranch and Jones Ranch in northern Santa Barbara County. The hunts will be held on various dates in April. Successful applicants for each property will be allowed to bring a hunting partner or a non-hunting partner. A $10.50 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. To apply for these hunts, please go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales. To learn more about the SHARE Program, please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.
The statewide population of wild turkeys is estimated at 240,000 birds. CDFW estimates about 36,000 hunters bag about 28,000 turkeys in the spring season each year statewide. Wild turkeys are found in most counties in California, with the top 10 for spring harvest being Shasta, Butte, Placer, El Dorado, Tehama, Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada and Lake counties.
For places to hunt turkeys and additional tips and information, hunters should refer to the “Guide to Hunting Wild Turkeys in California” on the CDFW website.
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Karen Fothergill, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 716-1461
Victoria Barr, CDFW SHARE Program, (916) 445-4034
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988