Oooh….turkey season is close, brother. Watching the Outdoor TV, I’m filled with anxious feelings as I scan down the calendar. Have the first and second weekends booked. And I’m sure I’ll fill in most of the rest in the coming weeks.
The Glory of Spring Turkey Season!
If you’re hunting Florida this year for the famed Osceola, here are some things you should know.
1. Florida is home to two subspecies of turkey, the Osceola and Eastern. The Osceola resides only in the peninsular section of the state. If you’re coming to Florida to hunt the Osceola, make sure you haven’t booked a trip in the Panhandle.
2. Tags and permits you’ll need:
Hunting license ($17 for residents, $46.50 for nonresident 10-day license);
Management area permit if hunting public land ($26.50)
Turkey permit ($10 for residents, $125 for nonresidents)
These licenses and permits are available at county tax collectors' offices and at most retail outlets that sell hunting/fishing supplies. You can use a credit card and call 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (888-486-8356), or shop online at www.fl.wildlifelicense.com.
3. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. on public land and all day on private.
4. The only firearms allowed during spring turkey hunts on wildlife management areas (unless otherwise noted below) are shotguns and muzzleloading shotguns, using shot no larger than No. 2. Bows and crossbows also may be used. On private lands, you may hunt with centerfire and rimfire rifles and pistols.
5. It doesn’t matter if you are on private land or not, these rules stay the same: Only gobblers (male) and bearded turkeys may be taken. The daily bag limit is one turkey, and the season limit is two. Baiting is against the law, but using decoys is allowed.
You may not use dogs to hunt turkeys, use recorded turkey calls or sounds, or shoot turkeys while they are on the roost (in a tree).
6. The above information comes from FWC.com. If you don’t believe me, click here. This link also provides a list of 42 public lands you can hunt without a quota permit.
7. The season runs from March 5th – April 10th in Zone A, and March 19th – April 24th in Zones B, C, D. Please check the FWC website for zone boundaries.
Best of luck this season!
Past TWL Turkey Hunting Posts
2010 Florida Spring Turkey Hunting Primer
Magnums, for Better or Worse
The Tuesday Morning Jake
The Pygmy Osceola
Spot & Stalk Gobbler
South Carolina Gobbler
The Chassahowitzka Hunt
Turkey Hunting Safety
Green Swamp Gobbler