Experts Say Patience Key For Spring Turkey Season
March 16, 2018
Editorial Staff (267 articles)
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Experts Say Patience Key For Spring Turkey Season

Spring Turkey Season starts tomorrow in South Zone

Patience as much as skill will test Texas turkey hunters during the opening days of this year’s spring turkey season, as they may be forced to wait out the natural pecking order to get a gobbler’s attention.

According to biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), recent field observations suggest hens are slowly becoming receptive, and breeding activity should be peaking over the next few weeks.

“Things are changing daily as gobblers are strutting and hens are slowly becoming receptive,” said Jason Hardin, TPWD Upland Game Bird Program specialist. “That means many hens could become interested in breeding near opening day of the season, effectively hampering a hunter’s chances of luring love-struck gobblers. If you do go early in the season some of the best hunting could be mid-day after hens split off from toms.

“By week three most hens should be bred and hunting should be good from the time the toms leave the roost until they go back up for the night,” he noted. “Also, if conditions remain mild and if we get a few more timely rain events, Texas can expect another good year of nesting and populations growth.”

Conditions shaping up

Biologists report habitat conditions in South Texas are shaping up in a hurry. There has been enough rain to green up the landscape with bluebonnets, wine cups, and other flowers popping up quickly.

As for the rest of the state, the landscape should follow suit week-by-week moving northward. One region of concern: the Rolling Plains, where the landscape remains very dry with limited rain in the last six months.

Spring turkey season for Rio Grande turkey runs March 17-April 29, and then culminates with a youth-only weekend May 5-6. In the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons run March 24-25 and May 19-20.

The North Zone general season opens March 31 and runs through May 13. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties.

Eastern spring turkey hunting in the counties having an open season is April 15-May 14. Hunters must report harvest of eastern turkeys electronically to TPWD within 24 hours of harvest.

Report with the TPWD My Texas Hunt Harvest App or online from the TPWD turkey page at www.tpwd.texas.gov/turkey. Get the app for free from Google Play or the App Store. Hunters will receive a confirmation number upon completion of the reporting process. Hunters still must tag harvested birds.

The harvest reporting app works as a tool for voluntarily reporting and tracking harvests of other resident game species, including Rio Grande turkey. With My Texas Hunt Harvest, hunters can log harvested game animals and view harvest history, including dates and locations of every hunt.—courtesy TPWD

Brandon Ray photo

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