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Turkey Hunting

Turkey Season

Delaware’s spring wild turkey hunting season will run from April 12, 2025 - May 10, 2025. A special one-day hunt for youth and non-ambulatory hunters will occur on April 5, 2025. Turkeys may be hunted 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1:00 PM. Hunting on Sundays is now permitted for all gamebirds, including turkeys. However, the season will not be open on Sunday, May 11, 2025. Public land permits can only be used on the property and season segment for which they are issued. Applications must be post-marked by January 6, 2025 to be processed for the lottery drawing.

Segment dates (A-D) for Public Land
Permits are:

(A) April 12 - April 18

(B) April 19 - April 25

(C) April 26 - May 2

(D) May 3 - May 10

Turkey Harvest Report Cards

All hunters legally allowed to hunt turkeys, will receive a Turkey Harvest Report Card which will show their turkey “tag” available to the hunter if they are legally allowed to hunt turkeys in Delaware. All hunters that have completed a Division approved turkey education course will receive a turkey harvest report card when they purchase a license or obtain their LEN. Additionally, youth hunters under that age of 13 will also receive a turkey harvest report card when they obtain their LEN because they are eligible to hunt turkeys without taking the course, provided they are accompanied by an adult that has a hunting license or LEN and has completed the course. If you have taken the turkey education course but do not receive a turkey harvest report card when you obtained your license or LEN, please contact the hunter education program at 302-735-3600 x1. All hunters that completed the Division approved turkey education course after purchasing their license, or obtaining their LEN, will need to go to their Digital DNREC account at and reprint their license. The reprinted license will have a validation that shows they completed the course and they will be able to print their turkey harvest report card. For more information about the turkey education course please see Hunter Education Program.

Upon successfully harvesting a turkey, and before the animal is moved from the place of kill, the hunter must complete the appropriate section of their Turkey Harvest Report Card. This section must be punched and the date of harvest must be recorded. Once the turkey is registered (no more than 24 hours following harvest) the turkey registration number is to be recorded in permanent ink on the card. IMPORTANT: Hunters shall not remove the “tag” from their Turkey Harvest Report Card for any reason, including being attached to a turkey and the card should be kept as a complete document.

Both the Turkey Harvest Report Card and Delaware Hunting License or LEN card must be in a hunter’s possession while a hunter is hunting turkeys. If a hunter has already harvested a turkey and recorded their harvest information on their card the harvest information will automatically be printed on the newly issued card. If a harvested turkey is no longer in a hunter’s immediate possession, a Turkey Possession Tag must be affixed to the bird. See the Turkey Possession Tags section on this page for more information.

Turkey Possession Tags

Hunters that successfully harvest a turkey are not required to attach a tag to their turkey at the place of kill before the turkey is moved, however they must complete the appropriate section on the Turkey Harvest Report Card. See Turkey Harvest Report Card section on this page for more information. The only time a physical tag is required to be affixed to a turkey is if the turkey is no longer in the hunter’s immediate possession, at which time the successful hunter must affix a Turkey Possession Tag. These tags can be found in the middle of the paper version of this guide, within your Digital DNREC account (, on the FW website, at or a hunter may make their own Turkey Carcass Tags provided they include the hunters’ name, license number, harvest date and turkey registration number once the turkey has been registered.

Examples of what constitutes a turkey leaving a hunter’s immediate possession include dropping it off at a processor or taxidermist. A good rule of thumb, if a Natural Resource Police Officer encountered a hunter’s turkey and the hunter wasn’t available to talk with the Officer, than the turkey needs to have a Turkey Possession Tag affixed to the animal. For questions, please call 302-735-3600.

Legal Birds and Bag Limit

Bearded birds only. Bag limit is one turkey
per season.


All non-electronic calls are legal. For safety reasons, and to avoid potentially “calling” other hunters closer to your location, hunters should use caution if imitating a male gobbling call.

Legal Firearms, Bows, and Shot Sizes

  1. Shotguns (10, 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 gauge), including smoothbore muzzleloading shotguns – 20, 16, 12, 10 gauge – legal shot sizes: #4 or smaller. All shot types are legal, including those comprised of tungsten super shot (TSS).
  2. Longbow/compound/crossbow – Minimum broadhead width of 7/8 inches.
  3. Crossbows may be used for turkey hunting. Crossbows must meet the same standards as for deer hunting.


For safety reasons, it will be illegal to wear any visible garment having the colors red, white or blue.


Temporary blinds of vegetation or camouflage material are legal. Artificial turkey decoys are legal. Decoys may have no parts from a formerly live turkey.


Dogs or bait may not be used. All bait must be removed at least 10 days prior to hunting. Hunters may not drive turkeys or shoot them while they are at roost.

Mandatory Turkey Safety Course

Before hunting turkeys in Delaware for the first time, all hunters age 13 and older must complete a mandatory turkey education course. For more information, please see Hunter Education Program of this guide. Upon successful completion of this course, hunters will need to reprint their hunting license (if they already have a license) as completion of the course will be indicated on the license. Hunters that have already successfully completed the course will no longer need to carry a card as proof of completion as long as their hunting license indicates they have completed the course. In addition, public land hunters must have an annual permit from the Division if hunting on a State Wildlife Area or from the Delaware Department of Agriculture if hunting on a State Forest.

Youth under the age of 13 are not required to complete a mandatory turkey education course but they must have a License Exempt Number and be under direct supervision by a person 21 years or older while hunting. See Hunting Information for information related to the requirements for an accompanying adult.

Public Land turkey Permits

A permit is needed to hunt turkey on public lands. See Turkey Hunt Application for the permit application form to hunt on State Wildlife Areas. See Public Lands Hunting & Trapping for information on how to hunt on State Forest Lands. Hunters may only receive one public land permit each season, either a State Wildlife Area, National Wildlife Refuge, or a State Forest permit. The State Forest Lottery will be held after the State Wildlife Area and National Wildlife Refuge Lottery. Hunters that successfully receive a State Wildlife Area or National Wildlife Refuge permit, and applied for a State Forest permit, will have their State Forest application removed before the lottery takes place and they will not be eligible for the State Forest lottery. This system maximizes the number of individual hunters that have an opportunity to hunt on public lands each season.

Youth and Non-Ambulatory Turkey Hunt

Open statewide. Any youth from 10 years through 15 years and individuals that are non-ambulatory, and use a wheelchair for mobility, may hunt. Young hunters must be under direct supervision by an adult 21 years of age or older. Hunters 13-15 years old must have a valid Delaware junior hunting license and must have taken a Basic Hunter Safety course as well as a Delaware approved turkey hunter safety course.

Adult companions must be licensed to hunt in Delaware (or exempt) and must have taken a Delaware approved turkey hunter safety class. Adult companions may not possess a firearm during the hunt. Young hunters must be of sufficient size and physical strength to safely handle a firearm.

The normal bag limits and regulations apply and all turkeys taken must be registered.

All state wildlife areas and state forests open for turkey hunting will be open for the Youth and Non-Ambulatory Turkey Hunt. Hunters may go to any areas they choose. If overcrowding occurs, the Division may add this hunt to its pre-season lottery system in future seasons.

For more information on youth hunting, see the Youth Hunting section on Youth Hunting Information.

Wild Turkey Research

Harvesting Leg Banded Turkeys

To better understand turkey ecology and hunter success, wild turkeys have been captured and marked with leg bands and some have been fitted with radio transmitters to track their movements. Hunters should treat turkeys with transmitters and leg bands as they would an unmarked turkey. So that we can accurately evaluate turkey survival, hunters should not target marked birds or refrain from harvesting marked birds if they can tell they are banded prior to harvest as this will influence our research results. If a marked turkey is legal for harvest, then it may be harvested. If a hunter harvests a marked turkey, they are asked to call the phone number listed on the metal leg band, 302-831-4621, or the Division at 302-735-3600 so that information concerning the harvested turkey can be collected. Furthermore, hunters must still register their turkey in the same manner described within this Guide.

Wild Turkey Sighting Survey

During the months of July and August, the Division asks hunters and the general public to submit their observations of turkeys as part of an annual survey of the population. Survey forms may be found in June on the Division’s website at or it may be obtained by calling 302-735-3600.

First Time Turkey Hunters

All first time Delaware turkey hunters must successfully complete a Division approved Turkey Hunting Safety Course. This includes both public and private hunters. Public land hunters must have completed the Turkey Hunting Safety Course before they can apply for a public land turkey permit.

To register for a classroom Turkey Hunting Safety Course, call the Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600 x 1.

Delaware also accepts an online turkey course:

(Certification Fee $29.99)

Note: Upon completion of the online course, students must contact the Hunter Education office at [email protected] or 302-735-3600 x 1)to update their account to reflect course completion. Students will be required to submit a copy of their course completion certificate. Please include a phone number where the Hunter Education Office may call, in case there are any questions.