More Chances to Take a Turkey

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Young turkey hunters are among those who will benefit from the changes.

DWR Press Release

Wildlife Board approves changes for 2018–19 turkey hunt

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting this fall, you’ll have more chances to take wild turkeys during Utah’s fall hunting season. You’ll also have more firearm and shot shell options to choose from.

At their May 31 meeting, members of the Utah Wildlife Board — a panel of seven citizens appointed by the governor — approved three major changes. Two apply only to Utah’s fall hunting season. A third applies to both the fall and the spring hunts:

You can buy up to three fall hunting permits.

During both the fall and spring seasons, you can use any shotgun firing shot that’s BB or smaller in diameter.

Only during the fall hunt, you can hunt turkeys with rim fire firearms.

Board members also approved a change that will allow young turkey hunters to apply as a group for permits to hunt during the spring limited-entry season. Those who will be 17 years of age or younger on July 31, 2019 can apply as a group for the 2019 spring hunt. Groups can include up to four young hunters.

You can see all of the turkey and upland game hunting rules the board approved in the 2018–2019 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available online by June 18.

Fall hunt changes

Turkey populations, especially in parts of Cache County, have gotten large enough that the birds are coming into conflict with people. DWR biologists trapped and moved a record number of birds — 548 — from the county this past winter. Increased fall hunting is another tool that should help reduce the number of birds.

“Hunting is still the best tool biologists have to manage wildlife populations, including turkeys,” says Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Allowing hunters to use rim fire firearms and have up to three fall permits should increase the number of turkeys hunters take this fall. Rim fire firearms are small caliber firearms, including the popular .22 long rifle and the .17.

“Allowing hunters to buy up to three fall turkey permits will give avid turkey hunters more chances to get into the field and hunt,” Robinson says. “And allowing hunters to use rim fire firearms might really appeal to young hunters who don’t want to shoot a shotgun.”

Gauge, shot size change

Allowing turkey hunters to use any shotgun, including a .410, should benefit both spring and fall hunters. “.410 shotguns are a good option for many hunters who are young and just getting started in the sport,” Robinson says. “Changing the requirement allows hunters to use these smaller guns.”

Allowing the use of smaller shot sizes also gives hunters more options. Robinson says advances in shotgun shell design have made sizes as small as No. 9 effective for turkeys.

“Shells loaded with smaller shot sizes put out dense patterns that can be very effective at bringing a turkey down,” he says. “Hunters in Utah now have the option to choose the gun and ammunition combination that works best for them and their hunting situation.”

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