A Beginner’s Guide to Turkey Hunting
The Ministry of Natural Resources strictly regulates hunting wild turkeys in southern Ontario.
When does turkey season start this year?
The Ministry of Natural Resources decides when all hunting seasons begin and end. The turkey spring hunting season traditionally starts April 25th. Season dates are available in the yearly guide which is on their website.
There is a two-bird bag limit during the spring turkey hunting season. In the spring, only bearded birds are fair game. This rule protects the turkey hens during their laying season. There is also a fall turkey season. It begins in October. In the fall, part of the season allows for bow and part of the season is bow and shotgun. The fall season of turkey hunting has a single bird bag limit.
What does a hunter need before they can go turkey hunting?
Before heading out into the field, every turkey hunter needs to have completed a hunter education course and received their outdoors card. They must also purchase a small games license for every year they want to hunt. If they are hunting with a gun, they also need to have their PAL. In addition to these licenses, hunters must also purchase turkey tags.
It’s important to keep those tags safe! Hunters print their tags at home; the system allows them to be printed once. Paper tags can be easily damaged, so make sure tags have a sleeve to protect them. If a conservation officer finds someone carrying an untagged turkey, that person could face a $300 fine.
For a full listing of regulations and enforcement, visit the Ontario Fish and Wildlife website.
Remember, the new hunting rules are in full effect this year. Forgetting to report a hunt has serious consequences.
Is there special equipment for turkey hunting?
When setting out to hunt wild turkey, it’s important to invest in some special equipment. It might seem expensive, but proper turkey gear can make the difference between reaching bag limits or reaching for air.
Turkeys have incredibly keen eyesight. Camo can help a hunter to be hidden from them. Investing in a proper spring camo pattern can help a hunter remain unnoticed by the wild turkeys as they draw in close.
An essential part of turkey hunting is a turkey decoy. During the spring, turkeys are searching for a mate. The sight of a hen or a parading tom can drive all sense from their heads and send them on the attack. A distracted turkey is easy to shoot.
Turkey calls help a hunter lure a turkey into their ambush. Turkeys during the rut are very susceptible to calls. Toms follow the noise of hen calls to find a mate or tom calls to chase off competition.
Of course, it is essential to have a good turkey shotgun and good turkey ammo to be successful in the game bird season.
What are the rules when turkey hunting?
A bow or a shotgun is required when turkey hunting. There is no rifle season for turkey.
During the spring hunting season, a hunter can buy up to two turkey tags. Each tag is good for one bearded wild turkey. A hunter can only bag one turkey in a day. Turkey hunting hours during the spring season are limited to a half hour before sunrise to 7:00 p.m.
During the fall turkey season, it is okay to hunt both male and female turkeys.
Hunters need to be respectful of private property. Trespassing is still a crime, even if it is turkey season. Before hunting on private land, make sure to ask the landowner for permission.
Did you know?
Organizations like the Ontario Federation of Hunters and Anglers or the Canadian Wild Turkey Foundation are serious about wildlife management and preservation. They worked hard to bring back the Southern Ontario turkey populations to sustainable levels. It’s thanks to their hard work that we have wild turkey hunts again.