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Indiana

Hunting

Pigeon River FWA, a Turkey Paradise

Turkey Hunters

For people interested in hunting wild turkey, Pigeon River Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA), which is in the northeast corner of the state, is a great option.

Its 12,000 acres surround a stretch of the Pigeon River and contain an abundance of diverse habitat, making it home to many game species.

Wild turkeys can be found nearly everywhere, from the FWA’s large stands of mature hardwoods to its open, grassy fields. To benefit turkey populations, staff clear openings in the woods and mow access lanes. This creates a mosaic-type habitat that provides turkeys with nesting, feeding, and brood-rearing areas. During spring, males can be found in these openings strutting, gobbling, and working to attract hens.

Existing woods are maintained by keeping nut- and berry-producing trees and shrubs and removing those that do not produce food. Clearing such vegetation allows light to reach the forest floor and stimulate the growth of grasses and forbs. Turkeys forage in this area, scratching the ground and picking insects from under the leaves. Because the property runs next to the river, many of the hardwoods eventually encounter riparian areas that are prime roosting habitat.

Prescribed burning is another important tool. Burns set back woody plant growth, prevent material buildup, and allow annual weeds to grow, providing nesting and brood-rearing habitat and foraging areas.

Staff also establish food plots to provide supplemental food sources during winter and grass fields during warm seasons to provide cover for hens and their brood as they travel. These areas also serve as nesting areas and harbor a wide variety of insects and seeds for turkeys to eat.

Turkey hunting on Pigeon River FWA is done through an online reserved draw system. Sign-up starts in late February at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt. A no-show draw is held at the FWA’s check station each morning of the season at 5:30 a.m. Youth weekend is held using a preseason reserved in-house draw, with the reservation period running from the end of March to early April.

Because turkey season runs concurrent with spring mushroom season, Pigeon River FWA turkey hunters may only actively hunt until 1 p.m. Despite these limited hours, the prime habitat, abundance of turkeys, and high acre-to-hunter average gives hunters plenty of opportunities for success. More information at on.IN.gov/pigeonriverfwa or 260-367-2164.

Visit a Fish & Wildlife Area

The Division of Fish & Wildlife manages public lands so Indiana’s fish, wildlife, and habitats can thrive and benefit present and future generations of Hoosiers.

At a Fish & Wildlife area you can:

  • Hunt and trap
  • Fish
  • Enjoy shooting sports
  • View wildlife and practice wildlife photography
  • Walk in nature
  • Enjoy scenic views

Check in is required. Camping is also available at Glendale, J.E. Roush Lake, and Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Areas. To plan a visit and learn more about Fish & Wildlife areas, go to on.IN.gov/dfwproperties.