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With a good crop of birds last year combined with a healthy stock of mature gobblers, this year’s spring turkey season holds plenty of opportunity for hunters willing to put in the time afield, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
“I am looking forward to a great turkey season,” said Jason Hardin, TPWD Upland Game Bird Program specialist. “This past spring and summer, Texas experienced one of our best hatches in years. Hunters can expect to see quite a few mature toms and a ton of jakes. These jakes will be great for introducing new hunters to turkey hunting and set the stage for the next two years of spring hunting.”
The spring season for Rio Grande turkey in the South Zone runs March 19-May 1 and culminates with a youth-only weekend May 7-8. In the North Zone, the youth-only weekend seasons are March 26-27 and May 21-22. The North Zone general season opens April 2 and runs through May 15. A special one-gobbler limit season runs April 1-30 in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties.
Hardin notes that the mild winter and early spring should lead to some early breeding behavior. The large number of juvenile hens on the landscape could lead to quite a few mature gobblers being “henned-up” early in the season.
“However, by mid-season most of the hens should be bred and incubating eggs leaving a large number of mature gobblers looking for love,” he noted. “Also, if conditions remain mild and if we get a few more timely rain events, Texas can expect another good year of nesting and populations growth.”
As for eastern turkey prospects, heavy rains across the region could create challenges for hunters.
Eastern spring turkey hunting in the counties having an open season is April 15-May 14. All eastern turkeys must be reported to TPWD within 24 hours of harvest. Eastern turkey hunters will be required to report their harvested bird through the My Texas Hunt Harvest app or on the TPWD turkey page. Hunters can download the app or report their harvest directly on the TPWD turkey page at www.tpwd.texas.gov/turkey. The app is also available at Google Play or the App Store. Hunters who use the electronic reporting options will be issued a confirmation number upon completion of the registration process.
Hunters still have to tag harvested birds.
The new harvest reporting app can also be used as a tool for voluntarily reporting and tracking harvests of other resident game species, including Rio Grande turkey. With My Texas Hunt Harvest, hunters can log harvested game animals and view harvest history, including dates and locations of every hunt.
TPWD has closed the spring Eastern turkey season in several areas. This includes Angelina County and the Angelina National Forest in Jasper County.
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