California Offers Abundant Opportunities for 2024 Spring Turkey Season  

by California Department of Fish & Wildlife

California’s general spring turkey season opens statewide March 30, and runs through May 5. With growing populations of wild turkeys in many parts of the state, spring turkey season has become one of the more anticipatedopportunities on the hunting calendar.  

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host a variety of special turkey hunts throughout the spring turkey hunting season. This spring season kicked off with an exclusive junior weekend March 23-24, followed by the general season beginning this weekend. An additional junior season aligns with the archery-only season, which trails the general season from May 6-19.   

Wild turkeys are resilient and have expanded their populations throughout California. Although drought and wildfire have caused their populations to fluctuate over the past decade, responsible hunting and conservation practices have helped ensure turkeys and their habitats are sustained. Managed hunting prevents overpopulation, supports habitat conservation and contributes funding toward broader wildlife management goals.  

CDFW Advanced Hunter Education (AHE) Program and Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) Initiative have video resources for participants interested in beginning their turkey hunting journey. Check out the AHE webinars on: Turkey Hunting 101Turkey Calling and Turkey TalkTurkey Hunting with A Junior or New HunterArchery Turkey Hunting and the R3 Harvest Huddle Hour dedicated to An Introduction to Turkey Hunting.   

Dozens of CDFW-managed wildlife areas will be open to wild turkey hunting on a walk-in basis throughout the season. Please visit the CDFW Lands web page for a listing of wildlife areas and the recreational opportunities available at each.   

 Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one half-hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a valid California hunting license and upland game bird validation are required to hunt wild turkeys. An Upland Game Bird Validation is not requiredfor junior hunting license holders.  

Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a spring season limit of three birds.  

Nonlead shot is required when hunting with a firearm anywhere in the state. Crossbows may be used for the general turkey season but not during archery season without a disabled archers permit (Form can be found at the bottom of the web page). For more information on regulations, visit the CDFW Hunting Regulations site.   

Regulations regarding turkey season can be found on the Upland Game Bird Hunting web page. Please also visit CDFW’s Emergency Closures site to stay up to date on information regarding land closures.   

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