Changes coming to turkey season, TWRA officials say

In an effort to combat lower than normal turkey populations, some changes have been made to the season.
Turkey season changes on the way.
Turkey season changes on the way.(WAFB)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee’s turkey hunters will find several changes in store for the 2023 spring season, according to TWRA officials.

After hearing growing reports of decreasing turkey populations, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to delay the statewide turkey season to improve reproduction rates in turkey populations across the state. After the change, the spring turkey season will now open Saturday, April 15, which is two weeks later than previous years.

The bag limit has also been reduced from three birds to two, and now only one of those birds can be a juvenile or jake.

New turkey regulations will go into effect on certain Wildlife Management Areas and TWRA asked hunters to check each WMA they hunt in the 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. One of the changes that affects all WMAs is that fanning or reaping turkeys are now prohibited.

“I expect it to be a good season because we had really high recruitment in 2021 which means there should be a lot of 2-year-old birds in the woods,” said TWRA Wild Turkey Program Coordinator Roger Shields. “For those people not having the opportunity to hunt in recent years, this could be a good year to get back in the woods.”

A combination hunting and fishing license, plus a supplemental big game license, or a sportsman license is required to hunt turkey in the state of Tennessee. To purchase a license online, you can visit the website here.