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Spring turkey hunts set for April 26 start, with more birds afield

Wild turkeys in Utah.
Division of Wildlife Resources
Wild turkeys in Utah.

Utah’s youth and general-season turkey hunts begin soon, here are some turkey hunting tips.

Utah’s 2024 youth turkey hunt is set for April 26 to 28 and the general-season hunt will run from April 29 to May 31. According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 turkeys can be found across the state – a higher number than last year.

The turkey population declined over the past two years due to multiple years of drought and severe winter conditions. But DWR coordinator Heather Talley said last summer’s wet spring provided ideal conditions for brood rearing, which helped young turkeys survive. After a milder winter this year and enough snowfall for a moist spring, Talley said there should be an increase in the state’s turkey population.

According to DWR turkey populations are healthy in the Wasatch area and Provo Canyon. There are also more turkeys in the northern part of Utah and turkeys can be found on private property in Morgan County. Hunters must get written permission from a landowner if hunting on private property.

When planning a hunt, the DWR recommends scouting the area and observing the turkey’s daily patterns a few days prior. Hunters are more likely to get the bird when turkeys are more active between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Talley said calls, decoys and camo are also helpful.

Two subspecies of turkey live in Utah: Rio Grande and Merriam’s. To find Rio Grande turkeys, the DWR recommends going to lower elevations like river bottoms scattered with cottonwood trees. Merriam’s turkeys, on the other hand, can be found at higher elevations in ponderosa pine forests.

General season permits are available online until the end of the hunt.