Turkey Hunting Regulations
Youth Hunts for Turkeys
A hunter must be 10 to 17 years of age to hunt in a general season youth hunt.
NOTE: The 2020 Idaho Legislature may approve a new rule in April 2020 that would allow Hunting Passport holders who are 8 or 9 years of age to purchase turkey tags to participate in the following turkey hunts: general season, general youth-only, depredation, and landowner permission hunts with the appropriate landowner permission permit. Hunting Passport holders are not eligible to participate in controlled hunts. Please call your local regional office to find out if this rule has been approved.
A person applying for a youth only controlled hunt must be 10-17 years of age during the hunt for which they are applying, but they may not hunt until they are 10 years of age.
A 9-year old may purchase a junior hunting license and then purchase a turkey tag and/or apply for a controlled turkey hunt, but they may not hunt until they are 10 years of age.
Resident junior hunters under 12 must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 years of age or older who must be close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices.
Nonresident junior mentored hunters under 18 must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 years of age or older close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices.
No person may hunt wild turkey without having in his or her possession the appropriate hunting license, general tag, extra tag, and/or special unit tag.
Two turkey tags—one general and one extra tag—may be used for the spring turkey season before May 26.
A general tag or extra tag can be used with a controlled hunt permit to hunt in a controlled hunt. A second spring bird may be taken with an extra turkey tag. If the general and/or extra tag is not filled during the spring hunt, then that unused tag can be used in a fall general, fall controlled hunt, or fall landowner permission hunt.
A special unit tag may be used during general fall seasons in Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 6, 7, and 9. Special Unit Tags may be purchased at any time.
Controlled Hunt Permit Requirements
No person may hunt wild turkey in a controlled hunt or landowner permission hunt (see below) area without having in his or her possession the appropriate hunting license, general tag, and/or extra tag in addition to their permit. Permits are required for all controlled hunt and landowner permission hunt areas.
Spring and fall controlled hunt permits are valid only for specific areas and seasons as designated by hunt number. A turkey hunter must have a controlled hunt permit and a general tag or extra tag to hunt in a spring or fall controlled hunt. A turkey hunter may only harvest one bird per controlled hunt permit.
Landowner Permission Hunts (LPH)
These are a form of Depredation hunts. Do not apply for these hunts during the controlled hunt application period. LPH forms (a triplicate form provided by Fish and Game) are provided to landowners prior to the season or upon verifying a depredation problem that cannot be resolved by non-lethal means. Landowners can then provide permission to hunters. Landowners and hunters must fill out and sign their respective portions of the forms. Hunters must provide one copy of the form to the landowner and bring the remaining two copies to a Fish and Game office where they can purchase their controlled hunt permit after April 20 for spring hunts and after July 15 for fall hunts.
A hunter may harvest as many turkeys as they have legal tags for that given year. There are three types of turkey tags available:
- General Tag (one tag per person per year)
- Extra Tag (two tags per person per year)
- Special Unit Tag (three tags per person per year)
QUICK TAG OVERVIEW
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General Season, Spring Turkey
General or Extra Turkey Tag
General Season Fall Turkey
General or Extra Turkey Tag (Special Unit Tags in the Panhandle Region only)
Controlled Hunt, Spring Season
Apply for a Controlled Hunt Permit February 1 – March 1 and use the Permit with a
General or Extra Turkey Tag. Any leftover permits go on sale April 1 at 10:00AM MDT
Controlled Hunt, Fall Season
Apply for a Controlled Hunt Permit May 1 – June 5 and use the Permit with a
General or Extra Turkey Tag. Any leftover permits go on sale July 15 at 10:00AM MDT
Landowner Permission Hunt
Obtain a signed Landowner Permission Hunt form from the property owner, purchase the Permit at a Regional Office and use the Permit with a General or Extra
Spring and fall LPH permits are valid only for specific areas and seasons as designated by hunt number. A turkey hunter must have an LPH permit and a general tag or extra tag to hunt in a spring or fall landowner permission hunt. A turkey hunter may only harvest one bird per LPH permit.
Eligibility: Holders of valid hunting licenses are eligible to apply for controlled hunts subject to the following restrictions:
Holders of a Nongame Hunting License, Hunting Passport, or a Three-Day Nonresident Small Game License may not apply for any controlled hunt.
- Spring hunt application period: February 1 – March 1. Results available by March 20. Any left over permits go on sale April 1 at 10:00am MDT.
- Fall hunt application period: May 1 – June 5. Results available by July 10. Any leftover permits go on sale July 15 at 10:00am MDT.
Applications may be submitted electronically at any Fish and Game license vendor, by telephone (1-800-554-8685), or on the Fish and Game website. Applications will be taken beginning no earlier than the first day of the application period. Applications must comply with the following requirements:
- Only one application per person or group will be accepted. Additional applications will result in all applications being declared ineligible. For example, if John Smith submits a controlled hunt application for turkey, and then Bob Smith submits a group application for himself and John Smith, both applications for John will be declared ineligible as well as Bob’s application.
- Each applicant for controlled hunts must submit a $6.25
($14.75 for nonresidents) nonrefundable application fee with their application.
During the application period, Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards may be used to make telephone applications or online through Fish and Game’s website. Those using the credit card system will pay a processing fee (Phone: three percent plus $5.50; Online: three percent plus $3.50) in addition to the nonrefundable application fee. To apply by credit card, dial 1-800-554-8685, 24-hours a day, or use the Fish and Game website.
Group Application: Two hunters applying for the same controlled hunt on the same application.
Refunds Of Controlled Hunt Fee: Hunting license fees will not be refunded to unsuccessful applicants. Application fees for controlled hunts are not refundable.
Second Choice Drawing: Single or group applications which are not drawn for the first choice hunt will automatically be entered into a second choice drawing provided the second choice hunt applied for has not been filled.
Notification: It is the applicant’s responsibility to find out if they were successful in the controlled hunt drawing. Results for spring seasons will be available by March 20 on the Fish and Game website. Fish and Game will mail a postcard notification to all successful applicants by March 20. Results for fall seasons will be available by July 10.
Nonresident Permit Limitations: No more than 10 percent of controlled hunt permits may be issued to nonresidents.
Unfilled (Leftover) Controlled Hunt Permits: Any spring controlled hunt permits for turkey that remain unsold after controlled hunt drawings may be sold on a first-come, firstserved basis on or after April 1 at 10:00am MDT. Unsold fall controlled hunt permits will go on sale July 15 at 10:00am MDT. Hunters 65 years of age or older or hunters with a senior combination hunting license or a disabled hunting license may apply for first-come, first-served leftover youth-only controlled hunt permits. Controlled hunt permits will be issued to successful applicants. The 10 percent nonresident limitation shall not apply
Permit Designation to Child or Grandchild: A holder of a controlled hunt permit for turkey may designate that permit to the holders child or grandchild (under the age of 18) who is otherwise qualified to participate in the hunt. The child or grandchild may be designated only one controlled hunt permit for turkey per calendar year. The designation must be made before the opening date of the hunt. Resident adults can only designate permits to resident youth; nonresident adults can only designate permits to nonresident youth. For more information and a form to designate the permit, please contact your nearest Fish and Game office or visit the licensing section of Fish and Game’s website.
Tag Validation and Attachment
Immediately after any wild turkey is killed, a turkey tag must be validated and securely attached to the bird.
To validate the tag, the hunter must cut out and completely remove two triangles on the border of the tag, one for the month and one for the day of the kill.
The tag must remain attached as long as the turkey is in transit or storage.
Unlawful Methods of Take
No person may take turkey:
- Outside of legal shooting hours.
- With lead shot exceeding BB size or steel shot exceeding T size.
- By use of dogs, except during fall hunts.
- With a trap, snare, net, crossbow or firearms; Except turkeys may be taken with a shotgun using shells not exceeding 3 1⁄2 inches maximum length, or muzzleloading shotgun.
- From any watercraft.
- By the use or aid of any electronic call.
- By the aid of baiting. Bait is defined as any substance placed to attract game.
- Species Identification
- The beard or leg of wild turkey must be left naturally attached to the carcass while being transported.
Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Daily Bag Limit: The maximum number of turkeys that may be legally taken, caught or killed by any one (1) person during a calendar day:
- During spring seasons the daily bag limit is two bearded turkeys, using a general tag and an extra tag.
- During fall seasons the daily bag is equal to the number of valid tags possessed. Either sex turkeys may be taken during the fall. The maximum number of tags one hunter can possess in one year is six.
Tags: There are Three Types of Tags
- General tag is valid for spring and fall seasons. It can also be used during spring or fall controlled hunts with the purchase of a controlled hunt permit or a landowner permission hunt permit. If the general tag is not used to harvest a turkey in the spring it may be used in fall seasons.
- Extra tag is valid for spring and fall general seasons. It can also be used with a controlled hunt permit or a landowner permission hunt permit. Two tags per person per year.
- Special unit tag is valid for the fall season in Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 6, 7 and 9
Two turkey tags—one general tag and one extra tag—may be used for the spring turkey season before May 26.
Shaded areas indicate general wild turkey distribution in the primary units open to wild turkey hunting.
Wild turkeys are not native to Idaho but were first transplanted here in 1961. Since then, more than 150 translocation efforts have been conducted statewide.
Three turkey subspecies have been introduced to Idaho. More than 90 percent are the Merriam’s wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami). Others are the Rio Grande wild turkey (M.g. intermedia), and the Eastern wild turkey (M.g silvestris).
The Merriam’s wild turkey was the first subspecies introduced to Idaho, and it has been by far the most successful. This bird is widely distributed in the mountains of the Panhandle, Clearwater, and Southwest regions.
The Rio Grande wild turkey was first introduced to Idaho in 1982. This subspecies is present in small numbers in riparian areas adjacent to the Snake, Boise, Payette, and Weiser rivers.
The Eastern wild turkey has been introduced to a few sites near Dworshak Reservoir, and some birds may still be found there.
Hybrids occur in many areas of the state.