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Turkey Hunting Regulations

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General Information

Bag Limits

General

One per day, three per license year, no more than two of which may be taken in the fall.

Archery and Fall Firearms Season

One per day, either sex may be taken.

Spring Turkey Season

One per day, bearded turkeys only.

Checking Fall and Spring Turkeys

  • Wild turkeys killed in the fall (except those killed in January) must be checked at a Game Check Station, by telephone, mobile app, or the Internet checking system.
  • Wild turkeys killed in January must be checked using the telephone, mobile app, or Internet checking system.
  • Wild turkeys killed in the spring gobbler season must be checked using the telephone, mobile app, or Internet checking system.

Archery Turkey Season

Season Dates

October 3 through November 6

Statewide except in areas where there is a closed firearm season on turkey.

Legal Methods and Restrictions for Archery Turkey Season

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle, and Local Firearms Ordinances for more details.

  • Archery tackle only.
  • Persons with a disability that prevents them from drawing a bow or crossbow may hunt with an arrowgun during the special archery season provided they have in possession an authorization form provided by the Department that has been completed by their physician.
  • Decoys and blinds may be used.
  • Broadhead widths must be at least 7/8-inch wide or expand upon impact to 7/8-inch.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead turkeys (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • It is unlawful to have a firearm in possession. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)

Youth and Apprentice Fall Turkey Hunting Weekend

Season Dates

October 10 and 11

  • Statewide (Sunday hunting on private lands only) in counties, cities, and areas with a fall turkey season.
  • Bag limit is one turkey (either sex) per youth/apprentice hunter, per weekend.
  • Resident and nonresident youth hunters 15 years of age and under or holders of a valid apprentice hunting license, when in compliance with all applicable laws and licenses, may hunt when accompanied and directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18 who has a valid Virginia hunting license or is exempt from purchasing a hunting license. Nonresident youth of any age need to have the appropriate licenses (unless exempt from purchasing a license).
  • Hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.
  • Turkeys harvested by youth or apprentice hunters count against their daily and season bag limit.
  • Adult hunters accompanying youth or apprentice turkey hunters:
    • do not need a deer/turkey license.
    • may assist with calling.
    • shall not carry or discharge a firearm.
    • shall maintain close visual and verbal contact with, provide adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm.

Youth and Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend

Season Dates

April 3 and 4

  • Statewide (Sunday hunting on private lands only).
  • Bag limit is one turkey (bearded bird only) per youth/apprentice hunter, per weekend.
  • Resident and nonresident youth hunters 15 years of age and under or holders of a valid apprentice hunting license, when in compliance with all applicable laws and licenses, may hunt when accompanied and directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18 who has a valid Virginia hunting license or is exempt from purchasing a hunting license. Nonresident youth of any age need to have the appropriate licenses (unless exempt from purchasing a license).
  • Hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.
  • Turkeys harvested by youth or apprentice hunters count against their daily and season bag limit.
  • Adult hunters accompanying youth or apprentice turkey hunters:
    • do not need a deer/turkey license on this weekend.
    • may assist with calling.
    • shall not carry or discharge a weapon.
    • shall maintain close visual and verbal contact with, provide adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm.

Spring Turkey Season

Bag Limit

One per day, bearded turkeys only. Hunters may take one, two, or three bearded turkeys depending on how many turkeys were taken in the fall season.

Season Dates

April 10 through May 2

  • Statewide.
  • One-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon each day.

May 3 through 15

  • Statewide.
  • One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Legal Methods and Restrictions for Spring Firearms and Youth and Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during these seasons. See Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle, and Local Firearms Ordinances for more details.

  • Arrowguns are allowed.
  • Modern firearms.
  • Archery tackle.
  • Muzzleloading firearms.
  • Decoys and blinds may be used.
  • It is unlawful to use electronic calls.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead turkeys (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • When using a shotgun it is unlawful to use or have in possession any shot larger than number 2 fine shot during spring turkey season.

Q: Why is spring gobbler hunting limited to noon during portions of the gobbler season?

A: Our research shows that there is an elevated risk of accidentally shooting a hen turkey during the early portion of the spring turkey season. Hens are more active earlier in the season because most have not yet begun to incubate eggs. By May 1, most hens are incubating eggs, so all-day hunting presents less risk to hens after this date.

 

Spring Turkey Hunters Needed For Survey!

For years the Department has conducted a statewide survey of spring turkey hunters to collect their observations and opinions, but participation has been declining. Survey results help the Department with many wild turkey conservation issues. Participants receive an annual report. To participate, send your name and mailing address to dwrweb@dwr.virginia.gov with “turkey survey” in the subject line.

 

Spring Gobbler Quota Hunts

Quota spring gobbler hunting opportunities are offered on eight WMAs, the New Kent Forestry Center, the Adams Daniel Farm, and the Hockley Experimental Forest in 2021. For more information about these hunts and to apply see Public Hunting Quota Hunts.