Why Fall Turkey Seasons Vary by Wildlife Management Unit
Fall seasons differ according to the wild turkey population density in each Wildlife Management Unit, varying from closed to 3 weeks + a 3-day Thanksgiving holiday season. Each hunting license comes with one fall turkey tag (and one spring tag), so we regulate fall harvest by season length. Even though the majority of the harvest occurs during the first week of the season, our harvest data show that fifteen to eighteen percent of the harvest can occur the last Monday-Friday of the season, so the longer the fall season length the higher the harvest.
During the fall season any turkey can be harvested because jakes, young males, are difficult to distinguish from females this time of year. Still, our research shows females (both juvenile and adult) comprise a larger portion of the fall harvest than males. Our management and research have shown that we shouldn't overharvest females, so we set the fall season length conservatively.
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