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Fall & Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon New Jersey Hunting

Spring Turkey Hunting Supplement and Permit Information

Printing a separate Spring Turkey Hunting Supplement booklet has been discontinued. All regulation and permit information are contained in this turkey hunting segment of the Digest.

Turkey Hunting Permits, General

This hunting Digest contains information for both the 2018 Fall Turkey Season and 2019 Spring Turkey Season. Turkey hunting is by permit only. NOTE: For the permit application process, lottery notes, changes, status check and directions on how to claim your permits, see details on License, Permits & Stamps. See License Information & Fees for fees.

Turkey Permits, 2018 Fall Season

The fall turkey permit lottery has been eliminated. A turkey hunting permit is still required and may be purchased at license agents or online at Fish and Wildlife’s Internet license sales site www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com.

Fall Turkey Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 10, 2018. Permits will be available until the permit quota is reached or the season ends.

Turkey Permits, 2019 Spring Season

  • Spring Turkey Permits are allocated by lottery. Hunters who apply in the lottery have a much greater chance of receiving their desired area and period choices than hunters who wait for over-the-counter sales of leftover permits.
  • Application Period January 25–February 22
  • Award Notifications and Permit Pickup Begins March 4. Permits must be claimed by 11:59 pm on March 25.
  • All Permits awarded in the lottery will be available to claim until 11:59 on March 25. Unclaimed awarded permits will be redistributed in the over-the-counter sale. Application fee(s) will not be refunded for unclaimed permits.
  • Over-the-county sale of leftover permits: 10 a.m. MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2019 until permits sell out or the season ends, whichever occurs first.

Spring 2019 Gobbler Season Permits

Hunters are limited to filing only one application which allows for up to two permits, one in the first lottery and one in the second lottery. See License, Permits & Stamps for instructions.

First Lottery

  • Selects applicants from the Spring Season First Lottery.
  • See below for dates of the five turkey hunting period segments.
  • The Youth Turkey Hunting Program guarantees that all applicants aged 10 to 16 (those still eligible to hunt using their Youth License) will receive their first choice permit request in the first lottery for the spring season designated as Period Y. Youth permits are not counted in the permit season quotas. Period Y Permits are also available during the over-the-counter sales period.
  • Hunters possessing a Permit to Shoot From a Standing Vehicle are guaranteed one first lottery permit only for the Spring Season. Any additional permit purchased is taken from the available permit quota and is not guaranteed. Individuals possessing a Permit to Shoot from a Standing Vehicle must apply and/or purchase their permits via their home computer or go to a web-based license agent. Verifone© agents cannot handle these requests.

Second Lottery

  • Assigns unissued first lottery permits (leftover) to applicants who applied for a permit in the second lottery.
  • Youth permit requests for the second lottery are not guaranteed. A youth’s second permit (or more) is valid only for the one designated hunting period A, B, C, D or E.

Consider your requests carefully! If you request the same turkey hunting area and peri­od in both the first and second spring lotteries you could receive two permits for the identical area and peri­od combination. Permits will not be exchanged if you receive the permits requested on your application. If you are awarded two permits in the lottery you must claim them both at the same time. You will not be able to claim only one.

IMPORTANT: Hunters who are awarded two permits in the lottery must claim (purchase) both at the same time. Hunters cannot claim only one awarded permit.

Turkey Season Dates and Hunting Hours

The 2018 fall turkey season will consist of one seven day hunting segment, N, (excluding Sunday) from Saturday, Oct. 27 through Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Fall hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

Hunting hours for the spring season are one-half hour before sunrise until noon daily, except hunting hours for the last two weeks of the spring turkey season (including all of period D and the last Saturday of period E) are changed to one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. These expanded hunting hours during the last two weeks of the season allow opportunities for working and youth hunters.

Coyotes may be harvested incidentally while turkey hunting. See Small Game Hunting Regulations.

Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 Turkey Hunting Regulations

  • Bag Limit: During the fall season, turkeys of either sex may be taken. During the spring season, only male turkey may be taken; bearded hens may not be taken in the spring. During both seasons, the bag limit is one turkey per permit, but only one bird may be taken in a given day, regardless of the number of permits a hunter holds.
  • Artificial decoys may be used while turkey hunting, except the use of electronically-operated decoys is prohibited. Dogs may be used for turkey hunting only during the fall season. All hunters are required to possess a calling device while turkey hunting. The use of a hand-held decoy or a turkey tail-on-a-stick as camouflage to sneak up on a turkey is prohibited. Stalking a turkey is illegal.
  • Hunting methods during the spring gobbler season are restricted to calling or stand hunting.
  • The maximum group size while turkey hunting is five hunters.
  • Hunters may not attempt to chase or drive turkeys for the purpose of putting them in range of other hunters. However, during the fall season only, hunters may rush a flock of turkeys to cause the flock to scatter.
  • No shot larger than #4 fine shot or smaller than #7½ fine shot may be used for turkey hunting.
  • Hunters may not use shotguns larger than 10-gauge or smaller than 20-gauge for turkey hunting. Shotguns must be plugged to be capable of holding no more than three shells.
  • Fluorescent hunter orange is not required to hunt turkeys.
  • Properly licensed hunters may use archery tackle to hunt turkeys. Bows used for turkey hunting (long, recurve, compound or crossbow) must have a minimum draw pull weight of 35 pounds at the archer’s draw length (long and recurve bow), or peak weight (compound bow), or 75 pounds minimum draw weight (crossbow). Arrows must be fitted with a well-sharpened metal broadhead with a minimum width of 3/4 inch.
  • While turkey hunting, a weapon may not be in possession within 300 feet of any baited area.

Mandatory Turkey Check Requirement

All harvested turkeys must be tagged immediately with a completed transportation tag. A turkey must be taken by the person who killed it, on the day killed, to the nearest turkey check station where personnel will issue a legal possession tag. See Fall 2018 & Spring 2019 Turkey Check Stations for a list of official turkey check stations to locate one closest to your hunting area.

NOTE: During Youth Turkey Hunting Day, hunting periods A, B, C and the first three Saturdays of hunting period E, the turkey must be taken to the nearest check station by 3 p.m. During hunting period D and the last Saturday of hunting period E, the turkey must be taken to the nearest check station by 9 p.m. During the Fall Turkey Season, the turkey must be taken to the nearest check station by 7 p.m. In the event a turkey is killed too late to register at a check station, call the nearest Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Office (see Law Enforcement Regional Offices) and leave a message including your name, phone number, CID number and the Turkey Hunting Area where the bird was taken. The bird must be checked the next day. If it was butchered, bring all remaining parts (beard, head, legs, etc.) to the check station.

In the future turkey hunters will be able to report their turkeys via the Electronic License System. Once this is active, complete instructions will be available on Fish and Wildlife’s website at NJFishandWildlife.com and printed in the next hunting Digest. Subscribe to our email lists at NJFishandWildlife.com/lstsub.htm to be notified of Fish and Wildlife updates and events, including any changes to the harvest reporting system.

Turkey Hunting Seminars

The latest turkey hunting techniques are presented at several turkey hunting seminars sponsored by Fish and Wildlife or wildlife conservation organizations. These seminars focus on how to set up, calling techniques and key safety information for turkey hunters. New turkey hunters are especially encouraged to join us at a seminar. Check your newspaper and our website for the seminars scheduled during March or April.

Stalking is Illegal

Use of a hand-held decoy or a turkey tail-on-a-stick as camouflage to sneak up on a turkey is prohibited. In New Jersey, stalking of wild turkeys is illegal, both for ethical reasons and for personal safety.

 

2019 Spring Gobbler Hunting Season Dates

Hunting Period

Dates

Youth Turkey Hunting Day

(10–16 years of age)

Hunting Period Y

Sat., April 20
If no turkey is harvested on this youth hunt day, Period Y permits may be used in the designated zone for balance of season until a bird is harvested
Hunting Period A Mon., April 22–Fri., April 26
Hunting Period B Mon., April 29–Fri., May 3
Hunting Period C Mon., May 6– Fri., May 10
Hunting Period D Mon., May 13– Fri., May 17; Mon., May 20–Fri., May 24
Hunting Period E All Saturdays, April 27, May 4, May 11 and May 18