Turkey season tips

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FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

The latest hunting and conservation news and events from the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Spring turkey season - the call of the wild!

Wild turkey

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.

Photo courtesy of Jim Turlington

Where the wild turkeys are

Turkey distribution map

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!)

Where to turkey hunt

We offer 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.

Photo courtesy of FWC's Chad Weber

Take a young person turkey hunting!

Youth turkey hunter

The Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Weekends are Feb. 24-25 south of State Road 70 and March 10-11 north of State Road 70. These Saturday-Sunday hunts are held the weekend prior to the opening of spring turkey season on private property and many wildlife management areas (WMAs). Of the 81 WMAs hosting a youth spring turkey hunt, 26 of them do not require a quota permit.

Photo courtesy of Gary Jenson

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

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.

Holmes County

CWD detected in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks recently announced a deer in that state tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD has not been found in Florida. The FWC takes CWD very seriously and is taking an aggressive approach to prevent it from entering Florida. To guard against importing CWD from other states, it’s illegal to bring into Florida the whole carcass of any deer, elk or moose from 25 states (including Mississippi now) and two Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected. Importing live deer, elk and moose from any state is prohibited.

In addition, the FWC has been monitoring deer for CWD since 2002. If you see a deer that seems sick, abnormally thin or dead from unknown causes, call the toll-free CWD hotline, which is available seven days a week, at 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282) to report the animal's location.

CWD is a fatal, infectious neurological disease of white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose that is extremely difficult to control once it becomes established in a natural population. Learn more including where CWD has been detected and what hunters can legally bring back from CWD-affected states.


Short Cuts

Hunting season opportunities in February/March

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.


Tallahassee Ducks Unlimited Greenwings Event

  • When: Feb. 24
  • Where: Ayavalla Airfield off Gardner Road, Tallahassee, Florida
  • For more information

Traditional Bowhunters of Florida State Championship

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

The Florida Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) is a program for hunter safety course graduates to learn more about leadership, ethics and safety while expanding their knowledge about conservation, target shooting and hunting. Check out the following events:

Archery and hunter responsibility classes

  • When: Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: Tenoroc Public Gun Range, 3760 Tenoroc Mine Rd., Lakeland
  • For more information: Jason.Tackett@MyFWC.com

.22 rifle, shotgun, skills trail classes

  • When: Sunday, March 25 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Tenoroc Public Gun Range, 3760 Tenoroc Mine Rd., Lakeland
  • For more information: Jason.Tackett@MyFWC.com

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

Conservation Organizations

There are several organizations in Florida working diligently on behalf of conservation and creating opportunities for others to experience hunting. Learn more about how you can get involved in Florida!

National Wild Turkey Federation events in Florida

Ducks Unlimited Events in Florida

Florida Sportsmen Conservation Association

The Future of Hunting in Florida

United Waterfowlers-Florida

Quality Deer Management Association in Florida

Quail Forever in Florida

Safari Club International in Florida