Outdoor Articles

Fall Turkey Hunting: Around and Back Again

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in Turkey Hunting

The first wild turkey seasons were held during the fall. However, in the 1950s, the Alabama Department of Conservation experimented with a spring gobbler season. Outrage accompanied the season, because some hunters believed that a spring season would disrupt the wild turkey’s breeding season and eventually eliminate all males even though research showed otherwise, but the spring season quickly gained in popularity.

Today, 49 of the 50 states (Alaska doesn’t have a turkey population) and four Canadian provinces conduct a spring gobbler season. Spring gobbler hunting has surpassed the fall season in popularity with more than two million participants a year.

However, fall turkey hunting is gaining in popularity as turkey populations rise, and states have realized the economic benefits and new hunting opportunities for hunters of a fall turkey season.

Once again, though, some hunters are speaking out against the new fall seasons, even though research has shown that a regulated, either-sex, fall turkey season does not reduce overall wild turkey populations.


“It’s mostly what people are accustomed to that determines their beliefs,” said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, National Wild Turkey Federation senior vice president of conservation programs. “If they start with a fall season, they worry about a spring season. If they start with a spring season, they worry about a fall one.”

Currently, 41 states offer some sort of fall turkey season and Oregon is considering a fall season. According to NWTF CEO Rob Keck, many hunters overlook fall turkey hunting, because they don’t realize the opportunities.

“The action is a little faster and turkeys are usually more vocal, which makes fall turkey season a good way to introduce children to hunting,” said Rob Keck, NWTF CEO. “Also, in most states both sexes are legal, which improves the chance of success.”

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