SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s spring turkey hunts are about to get underway and provide a great way to social distance while enjoying the outdoors.
Utah’s youth turkey hunt runs from May 1-3, and the spring general-season turkey hunt runs from May 4-31. While turkey hunting is allowed in many areas across the state, some counties currently have rules and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and those may affect your ability to visit, camp or recreate in the area.
There are two turkey subspecies that live in Utah: Rio Grande and Merriam’s. There are currently estimated to be between 25,000-35,000 healthy wild turkeys throughout the state.
“Due to a favorable winter and early spring, overall, this year’s general-season hunt should be better than in recent years,” Division of Wildlife Resources Upland Game Coordinator Heather Talley said. “Conditions look really good for both bird numbers and hunter access in most areas across Utah.”
Locally, hunters can also find turkeys in the Bear River Valley along the Bear River Corridor, as well as along the Wellsville Range from Deweyville to Willard and around Mantua. Turkeys can also be found in Cache County along the Wellsville Range and the Bear River Range, and along major drainages south of the Idaho border.
Higher densities of birds can also be found above Mendon, Wellsville, Clarkston, Cove, Richmond, Hyrum, Avon and Paradise.
Rio Grande turkeys are usually found at lower elevations. River bottoms dotted with cottonwood trees and areas containing mostly oak and pinyon-juniper trees are some of their favorite spots. Merriam’s turkeys, on the other hand, are typically found in ponderosa pine forests at higher elevations.
DWR officials suggest hunters try to get out and scout a few days before your hunt begins. Becoming familiar with the area and locating where the turkeys are is key to a successful hunt.
Hunters should spend time observing the turkeys’ daily patterns so during the hunt, they can set up in an area where the birds will be active. Typically, more turkeys are harvested between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. than during any other time of day.
“Turkeys are often found on private property, so be aware of the land ownership in the area you’re hunting and remember that you must get written permission from the landowner before you can hunt on their property,” Talley said. “Also, calls and decoys can greatly increase your success, so take time to practice with those beforehand. And lastly, turkeys have incredible eyesight so be sure to wear good camo and sit very still.”
For other general turkey hunting tips, visit the DWR website.