The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reminds hunters that the 2011 Connecticut spring wild turkey hunting season runs from April 27 to May 28. In addition to the regular season, there are two special Saturdays which provide an opportunity for youth hunters to learn safe and effective wild turkey hunting techniques. The first one was held April 16 and the next one will be held on April 23. On these days, licensed junior hunters (ages 12-15) with a valid spring season turkey permit can hunt while accompanied by a licensed adult mentor. The mentor may not carry a firearm, and juniors may hunt any state land open to turkey hunting or private land where they have obtained written consent of the landowner.
This year will mark the 31st consecutive year that sportsmen have hunted turkeys in Connecticut. The statewide turkey population is estimated at approximately 35,000 birds. Healthy and numerous wild turkey populations exist throughout the majority of Connecticut’s woodlands. Last spring, 7,389 hunters took 1,245 bearded turkeys.
"In addition to longer and warmer days, spring brings a special treat for many Connecticut hunters – turkey hunting. Our mixed hardwood forests and adjacent agricultural lands offer ideal habitat and plentiful forage, which in combination provide for some of the finest turkey hunting in New England," said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEP Wildlife Division.
During the 2011 spring season, two bearded turkeys may be taken on state land and three on private land. Hunting is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise until noon each day; except on the designated junior hunter training days when the hunting hours have been extended until 5:00 PM.
Tagging and Reporting Requirements: All harvested turkeys must be tagged immediately and reported to the DEP on-line (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting) or by phone (1-877-337-4868) within 24 hours. Hunters must use 2011 Kill Tags to record information about turkeys they harvest. Copies of the 2011 Kill Tags and instructions are on page 27 of the 2011 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide and also are available on the DEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting. Hunters are no longer required to mail in a kill report card. After reporting their kill via the Internet or by telephone, hunters will be given a confirmation number to write on their Kill Tag. This confirmation number serves as proof that the kill was legally reported.
Recommended safety precautions for spring turkey hunting:
"Common sense and patience are required for maintaining a safe hunting experience and harvesting a gobbler," added Jacobson. "Spring turkey hunting requires preparation. Scouting, calling, and hunting techniques unique to this effort can be learned by attending seminars, reading articles, watching videos, and talking with experienced turkey hunters."
Turkey hunters who hunt on private land are reminded that written landowner permission, on a form provided by the DEP, is required. Hunters may obtain both a private land and state land permit type during the spring season. Private land and state land permits may be purchased on-line (www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing) or over the counter at some DEP offices, town clerk offices, and commercial vendors that sell hunting, fishing, and outdoor equipment. More information on the spring turkey season, hunting regulations, junior hunter training days, and tagging and reporting requirements is contained in the 2011 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide, which is available wherever hunting licenses are sold and on the DEP’s Web site (www.ct.gov/deep/hunting).