A turkey allowed during Oklahoma’s spring hunting season

Oklahoma’s spring turkey hunting season is fast approaching, but Pottawatomie County Game Warden Mike France wants to make sure hunters are aware of the new bag limit — only one per nobody in the whole state.

France, which said the season starts April 16 and ends May 16, said hunters can only catch one turkey per person this season, with that limit in effect across the state.

The change was driven by declining turkey populations, he said, particularly over the past three years.

The dangers of torrential rains, along with predators like skunks and opossums, have taken their toll on turkey nests, he added.

France said that by easing hunting this year, wildlife officials hope the turkey population can rebound with a few good hatches. The turkeys are in breeding season right now, he said.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, at a special meeting last June, approved significant changes to wild turkey hunting season dates and bag limits, which went into effect at fall, spring restrictions including a tom, statewide.

The commission reported that the rule changes were extremely difficult decisions, but noted that it gave the state a chance to improve its wild turkey population while providing hunters with the most opportunities possible.

Turkey populations in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation reports that the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is represented in Oklahoma by three subspecies: Eastern, Rio Grande, and Merriam’s. Wild turkeys are large birds, with adult toms often weighing over 20 pounds.

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Helen L. Cuellar