Fall turkey hunting with dogs is currently allowed in 29 out of 43 states with fall seasons (2015): CA, CT, CO, HI, IA, ID, KS, KY, MD, ME, MI, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, WY.
In 1992, only ten states allowed dogs for fall turkey hunting (CA, CO, NE, NY, ND, TX, VT, VA, WV, WY).
Every year more states have fall seasons, and more states allow turkey dogs.
By 2004, hunters in 12 more states enjoy the sport (HI, ID, KS, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NV, OH, OR, TN) in 36 states.
In 2005, IA and MT allowed dogs for fall turkey hunting (from the beginning of their fall seasons), for a current total of 24 out of 43 states with fall seasons.
In 2007, ME, NH, PA, and WI (3 year/9 county pilot hunt, permanent statewide in WI 2010) allowed dogs for fall turkey hunting, for a current total of 28 out of 44 states with fall seasons.
In 2009 AR and NC ended their fall seasons (and NC allowed dogs).
In 2013 CT allowed fall turkey dogs, for a current total of 28 out of 42 states with fall seasons.
In 2014 UT opened their fall season (they already allowed dogs for spring), making it 29 out of 43 states.
14 States with a fall season that don't allow dogs (2015) are labeled with the OUTLAW BADGE: AL, AZ, FL, IL, IN, MA, MN, MO, MS, NM, OK, RI, SD, WA.
7 States without a fall season (2015): AK, AR, DE, GA, LA, NC, SC
States, Provinces & Indian lands
listed in alphabetical order.
Bring your dog into the U.S. from a foreign country.
The Lenape name for the turkey is Tshikintim, meaning: 'He scrapes with the hands'. (Algonquians call the feet of large birds 'hands'. The Lenape are an Algonquian tribe from eastern PA, DE, NJ, lower Hudson Valley and western Long Island areas in NY).
|"I like the idea of hunting
turkeys with dogs, it should be allowed everywhere, and
I think will be eventually. It will make fall hunting
much more popular, and assist in reducing the crippling
losses which are presently very high in hunts without
Williams (read about turkey dogs in Lovett's book
Hunting & Management)
“The Wild Turkey is the most vocal of all birds.” Learn the 29 calls (in the book above) at lovettwilliams.com
"An e-mail survey was sent to agency wild turkey biologists in 49 states and one Canadian province.
The recipients of the survey were members of the National Wild Turkey Technical Committee.
Responses via e-mail or telephone from 37 states and the province of Ontario reveal:
The number of turkey hunters using dogs for fall hunting is very small, and;
Two reasons were cited for the lack of concern about hunter success with dogs and potential for turkey population impact.
First, there seems to be no data to suggest that turkey hunters using dogs are significantly more successful than those who do not. Second, the number of turkey hunters willing to properly train, house and feed a specialized turkey hunting dog is small." Fall Turkey Hunting with Dogs, A Survey of States and Provinces January 2006 - Bob Eriksen, NWTF Regional Biologist.
'The Contenders' © 2009 courtesy George LaVanish
"A good dog never dies, he always stays, he walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is
on the fields and winter's drawing near, his head within our hand in his old way." -- Mary Carolyn Davies
If you live in a State where hunting turkeys in the fall with your dog is still not allowed (AL, AR, AZ, FL, IL, IN, MA, MN, MO, NM, OK, RI, SD, WA), or you'd like to work with others to amend the rules (like lengthen the season), send us your contact information. We'll put you in touch with others we know from your State, and put you on our mailing list for news as it happens.
|--- Everybody Wants Turkey For
We hear this about hunting turkey with dogs: "It's a rare and minor infraction of an obsolete rule that's no longer applicable." And this: "the wardens don't enforce it anyway, so why bother?" Because it's an injustice that needs to be righted (in certain jurisdictions). The traditional fall and winter seasons date back to the 1600's, much older than the spring season (1950's), which only came about as a way to stop shooting the hens that were just transplanted. Now, we have hunters from 9 to 99, who think the time to hunt turkeys is in the spring. Fall and winter have always been the traditional time for the harvest, and hunting of all game, primarily because turkeys are more abundant, and they taste much better in fall, than in the spring. The mean life expectancy of wild turkeys is only 1.3 to 1.6 years, so it makes sense to harvest them in fall, because so many won't make it through their second winter anyway. We want everybody to have turkey for Christmas, that's one reason why we work to change the rules. Also for future hunters, and those who long for the old time tradition.
- - - State/Province News - - -
From MO to SC, biologists worry over the decline
|Alabama 'Fall hunting for
gobblers is scheduled in a few counties with a historical
fall hunting tradition. Interestingly, the first
established legal turkey seasons in the nation were in the
fall season only. Alabama
was the first state to experiment with a spring
turkey season in the 1950s (p. 61 of the pdf).'
is reasonable enough: "Hunting of wild turkeys with dogs.
Any person who hunts, pursues, captures or kills a wild
turkey in this state with the aid of a dog at any time
shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction,
shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25.00 nor
more than $50.00 for each offense." Title 9 CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES - Chapter 11 FISH, GAME AND WILDLIFE - Section 9-11-238 Hunting, etc., of wild turkeys with dogs. Sign the Petition for the
Governor to keep their fall turkey season. Info. VICTORY
|Alaska doesn't have any wild turkeys to hunt
|Alberta and British
Columbia, Canada (also see Canada below) treeing bird dog
collective seeks those interested in cultivating the
art of Nordic treeing bird dogs like the Laika
& Spitz... for baying large game (bear, moose),
treeing birds (Capercaille, Turkey) and fur-bearing game
(bobcat, marten, fisher-cats) with these dogs from Norway,
Sweden, Finland and Russia. Here is the Laika forum.
In Europe the animal rights factions caused them to compromise on training dogs. Instead of training on live, wild animals, in Finland they use a bear-machine, called a konekarhu (directly translated as machine-bear). Eventually the Finnish government allowed exemptions for trials to be conducted on bears, but people still use the bear-machine as an instinct test. They have similar machines for moose and lynx. Here is the bear trolley from Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, the goverment gave permits to two zoos, to allow dogs to bark at bears. In most places, wild animals can't be used in trials, so they will have to follow in Sweden's or Finland's steps, until they can lobby the government to grant special permits. Welcome to America, where you can use your tree dogs on wild turkeys (where allowed). While it's generally harder to walk up on a turkey in a tree, than it is to call them to you, if that's your traditional way to hunt birds with your dogs, enjoy the hunt.
|Arizona - Allowed
methods of take for fall turkey includes shotgun slugs,
.17 & .22 magnum, any centerfire handguns and rifles,
muzzleloading rifles, blackpowder handguns, bow &
arrow, and crossbows, but NOT WITH A DOG. You can hunt
Blue Grouse, Chukar Partridge, Pheasant, Quail, Bear and
Mountain Lion with a dog, but NOT A TURKEY. Inside
Process. Tell the Rulemaker
you'd like to see them change the rules. Arizona
2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping Regulations [PDF,
8.85mb] UPDATE 2008 - thanks to your comments,
centerfire rifles, muzzleloading firearms and handguns are
no longer legal methods of take. Looks like shotgun slugs
and rimfire are still allowed, but not dogs for hunting
fall wild turkey, yet. AZ
2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Regulations [PDF,
may be hunted with a 28 gauge or .410 shotgun, but not
with the use of dogs.
Arkansas closes their fall 2009 turkey hunting season! Probably just a concidence, a week before the Oklahoma-Arkansas chicken farm trial starts. It's long been known that domestic poultry litter causes blackhead and other diseases in wild turkeys.
The Arkansas NWTF Field Day addresses the issue.
has banned hunting
bear with hounds eff. 1/1/13 (read the comments!).
They still need to kill the same number of bears, just not
with the help of dogs. We know it's not the same, but we
invite hound hunters to try turkey hunting with a dog.
|Canada - see all Provinces
rules and regulation links here.
|Colorado has about 187
different game management units. Dogs are most appreciated
to hunt the mountains.
is expected to allow hunting turkeys with a dog on private
land during the fall firearms season in 2013 (regulations
are pending), thanks to Connecticut wild turkey biologist
Gregonis. Their fall firearm season is about a month
long and their archery season is about four and a half
months long. Both with liberal bag limits.
9/30/13 Connecticut is now open for fall turkey dogs on private lands. Mike Paciello
turkeys over bait is prohibited, but hunting hogs using
feeders is not. It's widely known a lot of Florida turkeys
are taken on their way to or from hog feeders
(technically, not 'over bait'), but don't you dare use a
dog in Florida! From the FWC: Prohibited methods and
equipment for taking game: Hunting turkeys with dogs.
Taking turkeys with dogs at any time is prohibited.
Hunters who use dogs for hunting, including bird dogs or
retrievers, are required to have their dogs wear collars
that identify their owners. This regulation also requires
dog hunters to possess landowners’ written permission
before using their dogs to pursue game on private
property. For more information, contact an FWC regional
“I would like to see dogs legal for fall turkey hunting in Florida.” Lovett Williams (via email 4/6/2005)
Ask Florida to change the rules in honor of Lovett.
Make a request to allow turkey hunting with a dog, by filling out the form at http://myfwc.com/contact/tell-us/improve/
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wild Turkey Program Coordinator is Biologist Roger Shields (email@example.com Tel: 850-265-3676). Roger said: "From a biological standpoint, hunting turkeys with dogs probably is not detrimental for stable populations." He also pointed out that "research suggests, the more variety hunters have, both in species and methods, the more likely they are to stay hunters."
|Georgia has no fall
turkey season, and we can't find the rule pertaining to
hunting turkey with a dog, but did find this interesting:
Bulldogs and Airedales are not allowed on WMAs for hunting
any species [p.16 of hunting guide
Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission -
Members of the 11 Ojibwe tribes may hunt mizise with the aid of a dog, in the
Michigan and Wisconsin 1836, 1837 and 1842 ceded
territories, but not in Minnesota, yet. Effective
10/9/14, Wisconsin Chippewa Tribes can shoot deer at
The difference with the Anishinaabeg and Odawa Indians, from York Factory to Duluth to Green Bay to Waganawkezee and Michilimackinac, was that the area was never invaded or settled by Euopeans during the colonial period. "This fact alone gave the Odawa a history that differs sharply from that of better-known stories of the Iroquois, Shawnee, Cherokee, Creek, and others whom we know a great deal about. Their story also differed from that of many of their own kin living farther south at Detroit and in the Ohio Valley. Indeed, the Odawa's long history of mastering empires and keeping them at bay ultimately helped them to evade the Indian removals of the nineteenth century and remain where they were into the twentieth... The (British) cooped up at Fort Mackinac in the middle of the straits... they were in the midst of of a vast alien country and still very much dependent on neighboring Indians whom they could not entirely trust." Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America
|Illinois It is
unlawful to use live or electronic turkey decoys, recorded
calls, dogs or bait. An area is considered as baited
during the presence of and for 10 consecutive days
following the removal of bait. Releasing or Stocking of
Turkeys has been Repealed.
In the Fall of 2017 a member said: I saw results posted from Illinois’ shotgun turkey season (a miserly nine days): a grand total of 350 birds were killed. I did not participate-in the excitement of applying for Wisconsin permits, I forgot to submit an application for Illinois. Guess I didn’t miss much though, from the sounds of it. P.L. 11/29/17
- It is
illegal to use dogs, live decoys, electronically
powered or controlled decoys or recorded calls to hunt
"We killed about 13,193 gobblers in the spring of 2006, up from 11,159 in 2005. Indiana’s fall turkey season ran from Oct. 1 to Oct. 22 in 2006 (10/1 to 10/23/2005), guns are allowed during the last 5 days only. In the fall of 2005 we killed about 716 birds, and 584 in the fall of 2006. It took 11 years to get our fall turkey season started. 2007 is our 3rd year in the 3 to 5 years we’ve committed to evaluating the fall season under a conservative season framework. During the time we considered various proposals for fall turkey hunting there was considerable opposition to fall turkey hunting, with many issues raised, including the opposition to the use of dogs. As in many other states, our turkey hunters are primarily interested in spring hunting opportunities over fall hunting opportunities. The turkey hunting tradition in Indiana, as in most Midwest states, is build around spring turkey hunting which we have been able to do since 1970. Fall turkey hunting in Indiana is very new (2005 first season) and our hunters are still learning about fall turkey hunting.
In contrast to Wisconsin, we do not have good grouse populations and few grouse hunters. Our grouse populations have declined to very low levels and so have our grouse hunters. Most of our bird dog hunters focus primarily on quail and pheasants. We have also had a long tradition of field-trials often involving open country style hunts involving dog handlers on horseback. Our other major dog hunters pursue rabbits (primary beagles), raccoons (hounds), waterfowl/doves (generally retriever breeds), squirrels (mix breeds) and fox/coyotes (hounds & mix breeds). Most dogs used for hunting in Indiana have not been bred for use in fall turkey hunting like you would encounter in Appalachian states. There is a long fall hunting tradition in the Appalachian states and dog lines developed for turkey hunting are useful in locating turkeys in those extensive mountain areas. Getting any hunting regulations changed is an educational process and it’s often based on the public’s perception or opinion. The department holds periodic administrative rule hearings where citizens are invited to make proposals."
Steve Backs - Wildlife Biologist - January 2007 - Division of Fish & Wildlife - Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Iowa - dogs are allowed beginning in 2005 for residents. The legislature restricts the number of permits for nonresidents, and those are all sold in the spring. You can use a dog in any matter you see fit. Hopefully the scatter and call back method will get more popular as hunters learn about it. The issue in Iowa is that only 7 or 8% of the state is forested, and while there’s deer and turkeys in the other areas, that’s where most hunters hunt. Guiding, outfitting and leasing has grown in popularity, and excluding the residents because hunts can be sold to nonresidents. Iowa is the second lowest, or the lowest, in acres of public land in the country (map, map). A little over 1.5% of the state is public, there's no national forest, and very little wildlife refuge lands. Private land is getting tied up, it’s just starting to be an issue there. Residents are complaining to the legislature. The department is trying to find a balance. That’s another reason they’re in favor of dogs for the fall season. Fall permits, a habitat stamp fee, and a general small game hunting license totals $49 for residents, or $189.50 for nonresidents (none available).Terry Little, Ph.D. Iowa Department of Natural Resources June 22, 2005
|Kansas - hunters are
allowed to hunt turkey with their dogs and there's a four
Wild turkeys gobbling up eastern Kansas by Mike Belt for the Lawrence Journal - World
Kansas has so many turkeys they hunt them like quail. Picture gallery. Hunters flocking to buy Fall 2010 Wild Turkey Permits.
Read about the Great Kansas Prairie Fire of 1869 - started by a turkey hunter! →→→
|Maine - A fall
turkey hunting season with dogs is being considered.
Update new fall shotgun season Oct. 13-19. Update August 24,
2007: A new fall
shotgun season and with dogs approved in Maine
for fall 2007. Update September 27, 2013 - The Maine
fall turkey hunting season
has expanded, and the state has added an extra bird
to the season limit in many Wildlife Management
Districts. If you're serious about fall and winter
turkey hunting, Steve Hickoff's new book is a must read: Fall
and Winter Turkey Hunter's Handbook
is proposing a second fall/winter turkey season in the
January. This will be a week long in every county, versus
regulations limiting the season to only Western
Maryland. You can
use dogs for the current fall season but unknown if they
are going to
allow dogs in the newly proposed season." MD and PA
within a couple hours of Westminster, MD) contact me
"Thank you for contacting us about the proposed winter turkey season. We intend to allow the use of dogs in the January season if it is adopted as a regulation. Here is the link to our website with the proposed turkey season regulation and instructions to comment (make your comment before 4PM March 17, 2014 or attend one of two public meetings). Although not specifically stated in the proposal, we intend to allow the use of dogs during this season if it is approved." Bob Long - Wild Turkey and Upland Game Bird Project Manager, Maryland DNR 410-221-8838, ext. 106 February 26, 2014
Maryland's regulations say you can't use a dog in the spring, but by omission, you can use them in the fall and winter seasons.
A hunter can also use a rifle or shotgun slug in the fall, but it's still 3 times harder than in the spring.
Success rate in the fall season is about 10%... About 30% of spring hunters are successful in taking at least one turkey.
have a fall season, but don't allow dogs yet. Contact
By 1626, the Plymouth Colony limited the cutting of timber, so much had been cut down by that time, that the turkey's habitat was gone. The Wild Turkey: Biology & Management by James G. Dickson
In 1934 a turkey attacked a police dog in Haverhill, MA and won →
RESTRICTIONS: Wild turkeys may not be taken with the
aid of dogs. No person may be accompanied by a dog or dogs while
hunting or assisting in hunting wild turkeys.
Exceptions: A person on foot may, without permission, enter private land without a firearm to retrieve a hunting dog. After retrieving the dog, the person must immediately leave the premises. Apparently those Norwegians cover every angle - it's no wonder then that in International Falls, MN it is still against the law for a dog to chase a cat up a telegraph pole, and dog owners can be fined for this. It's also still against the law in Minnesota to hang male and female underwear together on the same washing line. In Alexandria, MN it is still illegal for a man who has garlic, onions or sardines on his breath to have sex with his wife. Who cares about hunting turkey with a dog?!
UPDATE Fall 2012 - Minnesota Fall Wild Turkey licenses will no longer be distributed by lottery. They may be purchased online, by telephone and wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
Minnesota Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Season is Sept. 29 - Oct. 28, 2012 but you still can't use a dog.
|Mississippi - The fall
turkey permits are only good on private land. In those
counties the permits go to private landowners, they don’t
have to shoot the turkeys themselves, they can let anyone
that’s legal do it (necessary hunting license required).
Landowners need 100 acres for the 1st permit, 500 acres
for each additional permit (600 acres = 2 permits, 1100
acres = 3 permits, etc.). Update June 2008: Mississippi
amended the season for fall 2008. There will be one
continuous season October 15 to November 15th.
Update September 2012: Per Public Notice 2382, dogs cannot be used to hunt turkeys in Mississippi. If you wish to comment on this, or discuss further, please contact Dave Godwin, MDWFP Turkey Program Coordinator, at 662-325-5119 firstname.lastname@example.org
We hear from a number of Missouri residents that hunt in
the fall with their dog. When asked how can they do that,
they say Show Me why
they need a law for something everybody already does?
Missouri's own Larry Dablemont tells it like it is in Turkey Call Champions and the Outdoor Guide Magazine Writer's Blog
|Montana's first fall
turkey season was in 2005, and dogs were allowed right
from the beginning, for either the spring or fall season,
like it should be everywhere. "A person may take game
birds during the appropriate open season with
the aid of a dog."
"There is no law against hunting turkeys with a dog. As long as the dog does not take the bird (except for wounded birds) - it's legal." 8/7/09 Ken McDonald - Wildlife Division Administrator - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 406-444-5645
hunting wild turkey with a dog is not only allowed in the
fall, it's also allowed in the spring. On 7/16/2009 Scott
Taylor of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said
there’s no restriction on using a dog for spring or fall
turkey. The way their regulations work, if it’s not
expressly prohibited, then it’s legal. So, since there’s
no mention of using dogs to hunt spring or fall turkey,
then it’s allowed. On 7/20/2009 Kit Hams wrote: "My dog
frequently accompanies me in the Spring." Kit Hams - Big
Game Program Manager - Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Administrative Code 503.147 states, 'It is unlawful to
hunt, chase or pursue: (Section 3) Any wild turkey with a
dog from March 1 through June 30 of any year.' By omission
of reference to any other time period, the pursuit of
turkey in the act of hunting by use of a dog is
permissible. Short answer: You can hunt turkeys with a dog
in the fall." Craig Mortimore, Upland Game & Waterfowl
Staff Biologist, Nevada Department of
Wildlife, June 27, 2005
Update 2015 - Nevada Fall turkey hunts have been closed due to poor numbers.
"The fall turkey hunt in Nevada has not been held for the last several years due to diminished population size. We currently do not have an anticipated reinstatement date as that will be predicated on better population performance. We are in our fourth year of extreme drought conditions and water availability along some of our major river corridors with turkey populations (e.g. Carson and Walker Rivers) is severely reduced. This has had some negative effects on turkey production. At the current time, we are being conservative with turkey seasons and quotas." Shawn Espinosa Upland Game Staff Biologist Nevada Department of Wildlife 1100 Valley Road Reno, NV. 89512 Phone: (775) 688-1523 August 4, 2015
|New Mexico has a
fall season, but it is illegal
to: Take or attempt to take game species over
ground baited with any material or scent distributed there
to entice the animals, except
quail or turkey on
private land. Or to shoot a turkey from its roost.
Use of Dogs: Dogs may not be used to hunt big game except bear and cougar (turkey is classified big game).
Storage: Big game and turkey tags must remain with the meat. They authorize possession and storage for one year from the last day of the hunt. To store or possess meat after this date, you must have a storage permit from the Department of Game and Fish.
|New York State Department of Environmental Conservation proposes to change the fall turkey season from 4 weeks to 2 weeks in length. And bag limits from 2 to 1 birds. They are receiving comments through June 29, 2015. Send an email for sample letter. Comment on the Proposed Rulemaking Part 1, Section 1.40 - Hunting Wild Turkey Send your comments to: WildlifeRegs@dec.ny.gov|
has one of the oldest traditions of hunting turkey with a
dog in the fall or winter seasons. But there'll be no fall
or winter turkey hunting, with or without dogs in North
Carolina starting in the fall of 2009 - spring hunting
Harris from Henderson, NC offers this insight for
you NC hunters and officials to ponder:
"The North Carolina Wildlife Commission has decided after just six years to end the winter turkey season despite biologists’ opinions. The main reason stated for the cancellation was that certain counties in the winter season were experiencing lower spring gobbler harvests. North Carolina’s wildlife biologist, Mike Seamster has made comments to contradict the Commission’s decision.
Blaming the winter season for low spring harvest numbers seems wrong for many reasons. First the winter harvest report in North Carolina indicates that very few turkeys are being harvested. In the six years where the season has been in place, never have more than 200 turkeys been reported. The number of winter turkeys harvested has never been more than one eighth of the spring harvest numbers. And the number of hunters who actually pursued winter turkeys has been very low. The harvest numbers reflect hunter participation in each county, rather than turkey populations in respective counties, according to Mike Seamster, the Wildlife Commission’s upland game bird biologist.
Popular scientific belief is that turkey population densities are regulated by forces of nature, rather than hunting pressure. Seamster has said that most hunters do not realize that turkey populations are driven primarily by reproductive success, not harvest regulations and predators. Noted biologist Lovett Williams has said that turkeys taken in the fall or winter by hunters are accounted for in the overall survival rate of the species. A turkey that was taken by a hunter would have been taken by another predator or the elements. Furthermore, gobblers taken in the fall or winter would have a negligible impact on the success rate because turkeys are not monogamous. Surviving gobblers would take care of all receptive hens the next spring. Of course for every gobbler taken in the winter season, there will be one less turkey gobbling in the spring, but that would equate to only about ten less gobbling turkeys per county in the winter turkey hunting area." Turkey Hunting with Your Boykin Spaniel by Russ Harris
Ohio Update April 20, 2008: Fall turkey hunters will be able to hunt the entire season from October 11 through November 30 with a shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, bow or crossbow. This new rule adds 35 days to the previous season for fall turkey gun hunting. Nine additional northeast counties will also be open for fall turkey hunting, bringing the total to 46 counties.
Ohio regulations allow hunters to use a leashed dog to help recover a wounded turkey during the spring season.
This should be allowed in every State, but really, leashing a good dog only hinders it in finding a wounded bird.
|Oklahoma still doesn't allow turkey hunting with dogs. Dogs may be used in taking all species except deer, elk, antelope and turkey. Legal means include bow and arrows, shotguns, centerfire rifles or pistols, any rimfire rifle or handgun. So, it's ok to shoot them with a thirty-odd-six, but don't use a dog! But then it is still illegal to make faces at a dog in Oklahoma, a crime that could result in a prison sentence.|
|Ontario, Canada spring and fall turkey dogs are here.|
|Pennsylvania turkey hunters, spearheaded by John Plowman and working with the AWTHDA, changed the law to allow the use of dogs for the fall season. Public comments regarding the use of dogs convinced the Game Commission to include the issue in the Wild Turkey Management Plan in January 2006. AWTHDA- PA members joined together to support the effort and got on a mailing list run by Ron Shealer. Turkey dogs made history and got in the News at the Tribune-Review, Post-Gazette, and again at the Tribune-Review. The PA State Senate passed the turkey dog legislation. It took 15 months of hard work by a lot of dedicated people from many states to change the law. In thanks for our work supporting this legislation, Governor Rendell awarded the American Wild Turkey Hunting Dog Association this commemorative pen used to sign the bill. It was passed in 2007, and by the fall of 2009, turkeys are so numerous they're stopping traffic in Lancaster Pennsylvania. But there's still very few PA turkey hunters that have taken the time and work required to train and utilize a specially trained dog and learn the entire repetoire of a turkeys' calls. The current generation of turkey hunters might be slow in adopting the old time tradition. Hopefully the next generation will be faster. Different fall turkey season lengths in various WMU's among proposed changes to 2010 & 2011 rules.|
Island - "Regarding your inquiry about using dogs
for fall turkey hunting, it would be wrong to assume that
by ommission dogs are legal. Regulation 10.10.3 states
that "Calling is the only legal method for hunting wild
turkey". Now, I am not opposed to the use of dogs in
legitimate fall turkey hunting, so I did propose this
specific technique be included, to be allowed for fall
turkey hunting in Rhode Island. Prior to going to public
hearing, we had a workshop for our sportsmen regarding
proposed Regs. Most sportsmen present were not fall turkey
hunters; however, almost everyone that spoke on it said
dogs should not be allowed for fall turkey, so I was
over-ruled (and even if out of ignorance, it made no
difference). I just don't think they understood or cared.
So the proposal never got into the regulations and the
proposal died. As I say, as the state's turkey biologist,
I have no objection to this method, but obviously do not
have the final say. Also our fall season is limited to
archery hunting so at this time, given our fall hunting
opportunities, hunting with dogs or not is just not an
important issue here for our sportsmen." Brian C. Tefft
Principal Wildlife Biologist RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife 277 Great Neck Road West Kingston, RI 401-789-0281
Rhode Island turkey hunters - you have some professional allies! Archers - use a popup blind the first few years with a dog.
Carolina only has a spring season and turkeys
may not be hunted with dogs.
"Turkey hunting regulations are similarly muddled. On private land in 11 counties in the Low Country the season opens on March 15, while the rest of the state waits until the beginning of April. Likewise, and you can couch it delicately if you wish, but I won't. DNR spokesmen flat-out lied to sportsmen when the fall turkey hunting season was "suspended" the better part of two decades ago. Promises were made, in public hearings, that the traditional season would resume once hatch levels increased. That debt remains unpaid and seems unlikely to be paid so as long at the present wild turkey biologist holds sway.
He is adamantly opposed to fall hunting for turkeys -- not on the basis of hard science or sound biology but rather because he just doesn't like it. Yet the country's pre-eminent authority on turkeys, Dr. Lovett Williams, has told yours truly on more than one occasion that there's nothing wrong with fall hunting where populations will sustain it."
Jim Casada wrote that in The Herald (January 1‚ 2006). Then on November 22, 2008 he called the "lack of a fall turkey season in South Carolina a shame and disgrace."
Rev. Zack Farmer said that Archibald Rutledge and Henry Davis "thought it an abomination that people were allowed to shoot gobblers during the spring season and likened it to shooting fish in a barrel. They thought it much more sporting to bust up a group of turkeys in the fall and call them back in and hunt them by stealth than use hen calls during the mating season to bring even wary old birds running foolishly to gun." The Times and Democrat Orangeburg, S.C.
does not allow dogs for turkey, spring or fall, but you
can shoot them from the highway.
Turkeys are classified as big game, therefore; It is illegal to use dogs to hunt big game.
Restrictions; The following are illegal: To discharge a firearm, muzzleloader, crossbow or bow and arrow at any big game animal, except turkey to be taken with a shotgun using shotshells or with a bow and arrow, from within the right-of-way of an improved highway including gravel township roads.
No turkey may be shot in a tree or roost. Lead shot is legal for turkey hunting on all public lands.
Legal animals: “Any wild turkey” means any dark turkey that bears characteristics of a Merriam, Rio Grande or Eastern turkey.
South Dakota permits private shooting preserves to offer hunting from Sept. 1-March 31 for pheasants, quail, partridge and turkey.
| "Tennessee does allow dogs to be used
while turkey hunting, both in the fall and in the spring
(if anyone ever uses them in the spring.) For fall turkey
hunting, we have a limited number of counties which allow
hunts. Hunting is allowed one of three ways.
1. If a county (let's use Hardeman as an example) has a quota hunt, anyone can apply for the Hardeman county hunt and if the big computer in Nashville pulls out their name, they can hunt with a shotgun during the limited dates specified on the permit.
2. If a person owns land in Hardeman county, he can hunt during those dates with a shotgun on his own land without a permit.
3. Since Hardeman county is open to shotgun hunting for landowners and permit holders, it is also open to anyone who is deer hunting with archery equipment during any of the archery-only deer hunts. In other words, if it is the archery season, and you are deer hunting in Hardeman county, and a turkey walks by, since Hardeman county is open to the quota hunts, you could shoot the turkey." Alan Peterson, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Nov. 23, 2004
In Tennessee, calling wild turkeys from March 1 to the opening day of spring turkey hunting on WMA's is prohibited.
..................................Fall turkey is closed in 17 counties, open in 78 counties. Starting in the fall of 2018: With concerns for a recent dip in the wild turkey harvest, the TFWC also voted to limit the fall turkey hunting seasons to bearded birds only, dropping the harvest of hens during the fall. The spring turkey season will remain the same as it has been in recent years, allowing a four bearded bird bag limit.
..................................Of the 686 turkeys killed in the Fall of 2017, about half were hens (343). About half of them wouldn't of made it through the winter (172). So, it'll be up to 172 hens, to produce enough males, so spring hunters can still kill 4 toms each. With an average of 3 poults making it alive until Fall and half of them being males, that's an extra 258 huntable birds. If half of them make it until the next Spring, that's an extra 129 Jakes. If half of them make it to 2 years old, that's another 65 gobblers. Adding 65 to the 34,620 killed in the spring (2017) doesn't go very far (<.002%).
There's another option. If we kill too many in the spring for the population to recover, stop hunting them in the spring. Hunt them in the traditional fall season, like it used to be. Success rates show they're 3 times harder to kill in the fall than in the spring. You'll get twenty times the exercise too.
|Utah up until
2014, Utah didn't have enough turkeys to have a fall
season, but they always
allowed dogs in the spring.
UPDATE - Utah will have a fall general season turkey hunt in 2014, the first fall hunt held in Utah since 1984 (and you can use your dog). Using dogs to hunt - Utah Admin. Rules R657-6-20 and R657-54-13
DOGS may be used to locate and retrieve upland game or wild turkeys during open hunting seasons.
Or use a FALCON in the Fall. See the 2015–16 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook.
Update 2018 - There's an abundant population. You can buy up to three fall hunting permits. During both the fall and spring seasons, you can use any shotgun firing shot that's BB or smaller in diameter. And during the fall hunt, you can hunt turkeys with rim fire firearms. Plus a 4 1/2 month season really justifys having a turkey dog in Utah. Join the club.
has fall hunting seasons for turkeys in most WMU's, you
can use your dog, and take one turkey of either sex. All
of their wild turkeys originated from 31 wild birds that
were live-trapped near the Pennsylvania border in New York
in 1969 and 1970. Wild turkeys previously existed in
Vermont until the mid-1800's.
Virginia Feb. 6, 2012 - The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), in cooperation with Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, recently initiated an effort to develop a Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan, similar in scope and intent to the existing statewide management plans for black bear and white-tailed deer. Virginia Tech personnel will be hosting a series of focus group meetings in March and April to discuss various aspects of wild turkey management with Virginians who have a strong interest in management of wild turkeys. The goal of these meetings is to seek input from stakeholders regarding their views and opinions of wild turkey management in Virginia. This information will be used to develop goals for the Wild Turkey Management Plan.
VDGIF and Virginia Tech specifically are seeking individuals with strong interests in management of wild turkeys, including hunting (hunting in spring and fall, with and without dogs), individuals who have experienced conflicts with or suffered damage from wild turkeys, and others who have an interest in conservation of wild turkeys, to participate in these meetings. If you would like to be a focus group participant, contact: Holly N. Morris Graduate Research Assistant - Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation 113 Cheatham Hall (0321) Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 24061 Phone: (304) 667-7037
UPDATE: June 12, 2012. The nine focus group meetings were conducted in April and May. Members can view summaries of the meetings HERE.
UPDATE January 2013 VDGIF and Virginia Tech's Wild Turkey Management Planning Process
| Washington - Our
turkey population in the far eastern side of Washington is
booming. Both Merriams and Rios. In fact, the state has
expanded the turkey season in the fall with special
permits and a general open season. And Washington turkey
hunters are able to shoot 3 turkeys a year... two in
Eastern Washington and one in Western Washington. One of
these days we may very well have the chance to use dogs
during the fall turkey season.
June 27, 2005 Department of Fish and Wildlife has extended the time period for the Draft wild turkey management plan available for public comment. Read the Executive Summary.
UPDATE 2/11/08: The fall regulations are being discussed at the upcoming (March and April) Fish and Wildlife Commission meetings and have not been updated on the Web at this time. We will be updating our season information after these meetings conclude. It is likely that we will have expanded fall hunting opportunity, especially in northeastern Washington. Mick Cope, Upland Game Section Manager - WDFW
NEWS from Michael Day to Mick Cope 4/16/09- The Concise Explanatory Statement for the 2009-2011 hunting seasons adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their April 3-4, 2009 meeting in Olympia explains the changes the Commission has made regarding the 2009-2011 hunting seasons.
*UPDATE 2012*: "Washington is looking for ways to increase participation in their fall turkey hunts. I suggest that they allow hunters to use dogs during the fall season only and to drop the fall permit system. Please send your comments in on Issue # 6 of the proposals, for the 2012 -2014 hunting season - http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/
The WDFW will accept written or email comments until Feb 21st, email to: email@example.com Thanks for any help you dog & turkey lovers can provide." Tom Fritsch Goldendale, WA
**UPDATE 2014**: Tom Fritsch has attended the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife commission meetings at various locations throughout Washington State for the last 10 years. He has finally convinced some of the commissioners that fall turkey hunting with dogs is a time honored and enjoyable tradition just as hunting grouse, wildfowl and upland birds with a dog.
"Turkey dog hunting is one of the proposals now under consideration for the 2015-2017 Washington State hunting regulation changes. Our next chance to change this rule will not be until three more years from now. There are areas in Washington where turkeys are somewhat of a nuisance, they even allow the fall harvest of two beardless birds in certain game management units. Dogs will assist hunters in harvesting birds, while eliminating the loss of any wounded birds. Please help us make Washington State the 29th state to allow dogs for turkey hunting, by commenting on the proposals for wild turkey hunting with dogs. Here is the link: http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/
Click on the box 'View and Comment on Proposed Hunting Regulation Issues and Alternatives'. DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS SEPTEMBER 22, 2014. On the other issue, about comments for 'Fall Turkey General Seasons', I believe 'status quo' is good. We have a lot of early and late fall seasons to chose from."
"Thanks for all AWTHDA members help, letters and comments over the last several years on this important issue. Call or write anytime." Tom Fritsch Goldendale, WA tel: 509-773-3380 September 2, 2014
Washington State is surrounded (by states and provinces that allow dogs for turkey hunting)!
Under the Small Game and Hunter Orange Requirement (near the bottom of the page), we support the proposals, especially the second one that extends the fall turkey season in certain GMU's and replaces the fall permit season in Klickitat County with a general fall turkey season. In the comment box recommend the WDFW allow fall turkey hunting with dogs.
Hunting—Hunter orange clothing requirements.
Small game and other wildlife seasons and regulations.
PLEASE NOTE: All hunters should support a rule that provides more hunting opportunities, especially with dogs. Tom has been working on this since 2004. Your comments are crucial to getting it passed this time.
|West Virginia -
You can train your dog on any game in West Virginia 365
days a year and 24/7, including squirrel, rabbit, bear, or
any game bird, EXCEPT NOT on deer or turkey! Deer we
understand, but turkey? This is one of those old rules
that have been in place for centuries. Technically, your
dog can only chase turkeys during the 3 week fall season.
That seems like a pup wouldn’t be a good turkey dog until
he’s too old to run up and down the mountains anymore! If
you hunt West Virginia, or are willing to help get the
rules changed, give us a holler.
Wisconsin - Update May 27, 2009. In Baraboo, Wisconsin today, the DNR advanced the rule to allow turkey hunting with your dog in the fall STATEWIDE, and the Natural Resource Board approved it unanimously. It’s a GREAT DAY for all hunters, and especially turkey hunters in Wisconsin! Statewide, dogs are allowed beginning in the fall of 2010, PLUS the fall season has been extended for 2009 and 2010 the whole month of December.
Wisconsin has the largest wild turkey population in the country, the longest season, and the most liberal regulations anywhere (half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset, seven days a week, etc.). And now the number one tool we have for eliminating lost cripples, the dog, is allowed statewide. We're passionate about hunting wild turkey in the traditional fall season, when the birds vocabulary is far different than in spring, and when they taste much better. And the resource is better off when we use a trained dog, because we never lose one bird. Help us get turkey dogs allowed in every state - join now. Photos courtesy Steve Turpin.
(not estimated, like some states) 47,722 turkeys during
the 2010 spring season and 7,394 during the fall. There are always
extra permits available for the fall season in most zones.
|With nearly unlimited fall turkey
permits, it pays to train a dog for Fall Turkey in Wisconsin! If
you'd like to hunt with experienced turkey dogs, need help
finding a place to hunt, where to stay with your dog, or
other WI questions, write
|A new report says
about 16% of the total land area in Wisconsin is publicly
owned for conservation or recreational uses (turkeys).
A turkeys range is 1 to 5 square miles in WI study (write for text)
|Wisconsin is the #1
state for turkeys. There are nearly unlimited
permits available in most zones
(pdf). All these birds are descendants of 334 genuine
Missouri turkeys acquired in the 1970's in a swap for
1000+ Wisconsin Ruffed Grouse (read the history). What a deal
that was, thank you WI-DNR!
The 2011 Fall Turkey Hunting Season is September 17 to November 17. Plus an extended fall season for Zones 1-5, from November 28 to December 31. Hunt Wisconsin turkeys on the snow in December, like hasn't been done since the mid 1800's! Graphic courtesy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Online & Phone Turkey Registration (pdf) begins
with the Fall 2011 Season in Wisconsin. Turkey hunters
will be able to register their turkeys from their home or
hunting camp. Hunters will need to register their turkeys
by 5:00 p.m. on the day after harvest, and report details
regarding the age and gender of their bird, as well as the
location, date, and time of harvest. That means you can
register the bird with your cell phone and then prepare
the meat for the cooler, or for cooking immediately.
Where's the turkeys & wolves in Wisconsin? DNR page. Map boundaries. Look →
|Wisconsin fall 2014 - "Three out of five DNR regions showed a decrease in turkey observation rates compared to last year. The largest changes occurred in the south-central, western and southeast regions, with decreases of 30 percent, 14 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The northeast region saw a 73 percent increase, while the northern region experienced a 12 percent boost. The statewide turkey observation rate was 22 percent above the long-term average. The average brood-size documented in 2014 was 4.5 young per brood, up from 4.2 in 2013" - read more. In the last two years, 20,000 more hunters applied for a WI fall turkey permit.|
If your turkey dog is wide ranging, check out the Wisconsin Timber Wolf Maps before you go. Click on maps to enlarge. The Wisconsin Timber Wolf is no longer endangered and was delisted 1/29/07. The highest risk of wolf depredation to dogs seems to occur in July through September. Wolves injured or killed a lot of dogs in Wisconsin. The chances of your Turkey Dog meeting with Wisconsin wolves are localized, predictable, in only 10% of the wolf's range, and concentrated in northwestern WI near Lake Superior, but their nice map makes it look like a lot more than that, wouldn't you say?
Brazen wolves near Anchorage killing dogs that are walking with their owners. VIDEO! Wolves kill woman jogging in Alaska 3/8/10.
Alaska Fish & Game killed the two wolves responsible.
Wolves in Illinois - story with game camera pictures.
|What is the wild turkey population in Wisconsin? 350,000 (2014) ...the last Wisconsin wild turkey population estimate of 350,000 turkeys... p. 38 Section 2, Ecology of Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin - A Plan for their Management: 2015 - 2025 Wisconsin wild turkey update|
of trapping, transplanting and restoring wild turkeys in
Wild turkeys disappeared from eastern Wisconsin by 1846 (page 172). The Wisconsin Frontier - A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier by Mark Wyman
1976 - Wisconsin’s wild turkey... were reintroduced to the state in 1976. P. iii of turkeyplan.pdf
Program funding for the turkey translocation project through the 1980s was provided by federal Pittman-Robertson revenue and state hunting license sales. P. 13 turkguide.pdf
In January 1976, 29 turkeys were released in the Bad Axe River watershed in Vernon County, and over the following nine years a total of 334 Missouri wild turkeys were released at various sites in southwestern Wisconsin. P. 24 turkeyplan.pdf
1981 - And the story doesn’t end with just a successful wild turkey reintroduction. In July 1981, about 40 people met in a restaurant west of Milwaukee to discuss forming a Wisconsin chapter of the NWTF. A Wisconsin organization followed, and NWTF involvement in Wisconsin facilitated funding and hunter support. P. 23 ss1079l.pdf
1983 - The first Spring season in Wisconsin was in 1983. Membership in the Wisconsin chapter of the NWTF increased to over 500 just two years later, and volunteers initiated turkey hunter education clinics.
1989 - The first Fall turkey hunting season in Wisconsin was in 1989.
1990 - The NWTF replaced these funds in 1990 with an innovative funding mechanism. They located other states interested in establishing wild turkey populations and brokered a deal that provided trapped turkeys from Wisconsin at $500 per bird. This funding source completely paid for the entire trapping and relocation program through 1993. P. 24 ss1079l.pdf
1990 - As the program progressed, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) “Target 2000” program provided additional funding by coordinating restoration programs in other states and reimbursing Wisconsin $500 per turkey shipped out of state. Beginning in 1990, nearly 1,400 turkeys were shipped to Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, and Louisiana over the next decade. P. 26 turkeyplan.pdf
2010 - Thanks to the founding of the American Wild Turkey Hunting Dog Association in 2004 and their efforts since then, dogs are finally allowed to hunt Wisconsin turkeys, beginning in the Fall of 2010. Join the AWTHDA.
"In the U.S., turkeys tied raccoons for second place behind deer for public complaints about
wildlife damage to field crops, accused of racking up in excess of $600 million US in damages."
If you are in need of wild turkey abatement, and tired of wild turkeys damaging the crops, disturbing domestic livestock, attacking children and pets, scratching up the lawn and cars, fouling the yard, driveway, and golf course with their scat (#45, 71, 82, 84, 85, 91, 96, 97, 99, 102, 108, 112, 113...) call the Nuisance Wild Turkey Fighters (NWTF). We're a non-profit wildlife management organization specializing in nuisance fowl control. We maintain a list of qualified individuals to eliminate the foul fowl. Our members are an on-call, rapid response team of turkey hunting experts available to local authorities when needed. We have sharpshooters and turkey dogs standing by. When animal control officers and wildlife agencies need fast service, our professionals are depended on to respond quickly and discreetly. Costs vary, depending on distance and the number of dogs required. We bring traps, guns, and most importantly dogs to alleviate the problem turkeys. If you're bothered by the over populated nuisance fowl, call the NWTF at 920-776-1272, we're standing by to help. If you've exhausted all other methods of population control, we have an alternative, environmentally friendly method of chasing them away with trained turkey dogs. They will most likely return, but we solve that by getting you a turkey dog of your own.
|We found a genuine need for a trained dog to
harass sandhill cranes when a farmer asked me to keep the
cranes off his corn field. He said; "last year they really
did a lot of damage, you can tell it's cranes doing it
because the plant is plucked from the ground." The next
morning we were up at 5AM. I sicced Keena on the big birds
and she beelined across a 40 to chase them away. They
didn't come back for 3 days. It doesn't hurt the crane
(they see the dog coming and take off), and we get our
exercise. MI, MN, and WI farmers were authorized to use a
bird repellent since 2006 for use on corn seed to
deter sandhill cranes. The cranes walk along the row,
pluck the plant out and eat the kernel that's still there.
They only do that for 2-3 weeks (depending on soil type
and temps), until the kernel disintegrates. The farmer
greatly appreciated having someone monitor the fields for
him, and we were glad to do it. Check first with
binoculars if the cranes have young with them, they may
not be as willing to take flight. "Bill stabs by cranes
have killed humans and dogs (pdf)".
flight by the time you're within 200 yards they may not
intend to. The International
Crane Foundation points out that scaring the birds
off to the neighbors cornfield might not be any better.
So, there's lots of considerations before putting your
valuable turkey dog on a crane. If nuisance cranes are
bothering the corn, or territorial cranes are causing
damage to property or themselves by attacking their
reflection in glass windows, write to the AWTHDA
Crane Scarers. Professional, natural,
environmentally friendly nuisance fowl control. The
economical alternative to Avipel®.
Except for that short period when corn is emerging,
Sandhill Cranes can be the farmers best friend. Here's a
juvenile Great Blue Heron, they make really excellent
mousers and insect eaters, as these pictures taken in
September 2009 attest! My turkey dog barks at the
intruder, but knows it's sure not a turkey!
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