Utah Increases Number of Spring Turkey Permits

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If you enjoy hunting turkeys in Utah, stop worrying if you'll get a permit to hunt next spring.

You're guaranteed one!

At their Aug. 20 meeting, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a change that will give everyone who qualifies a chance to hunt turkeys in Utah in spring 2010.

Three hunts

Utah's turkey season has been split into three different hunts for 2010.

The first hunt happens April 10–29, 2010. The second hunt runs April 30–May 2, 2010. The third hunt runs May 3–31,2010.

Even though three hunts will be held, you can obtain only one permit. You must hunt during the hunt you obtain a permit for.

First hunt

The first hunt is a hunt Utah hunters are very familiar with. It's a limited entry hunt. (A limited entry hunt is a hunt in which only a limited number of permits are available.)

There will be a difference this spring, though—the hunt will be held on a regional basis instead of on smaller, specific areas. The following number of permits will be available through a draw:

Region     Permits Northern    400
Central    500
Northeastern 250
Southeastern 250
Southern    1,100

"This first hunt should be less crowded than the hunt in May because only 2,500 permits will be offered for it," says Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "There's one difference, though—if you draw a permit for the April hunt, you won't be limited to hunting one specific area like you have been in the past. Instead, you can hunt an entire region."

Second hunt

Only hunters who buy a general season statewide permit and are 15 years of age and younger can participate in the second hunt, which runs April 30–May 2, 2010.

Young hunters who draw a limited entry permit can't participate in the youth hunt.

The number of permits available for the youth hunt are unlimited in number. And young hunters can obtain the permits over the counter. Youth hunters can hunt anywhere in Utah that's open to turkey hunting.

Youngsters who buy a permit for the youth hunt can also use the permit to hunt during Utah's third hunt, the general statewide hunt. That hunt starts May 3, 2010.

Third hunt

The third and final hunt is Utah's first-ever statewide turkey hunt. The hunt will be held May 3–31, 2010.

You can hunt anywhere in Utah that's open to turkey hunting. And just like the youth hunt, there is no limit on the number of permits available for the hunt. Permits will be available next spring at www.wildlife.utah.gov, at DWR offices and from more than 300 license agents across Utah.

Hunters of all ages can participate in the May 3–31, 2010 hunt.

Utah's turkey population

Olsen says DWR biologists have watched and studied turkeys in Utah closely for more than 20 years. He says the biologists are comfortable allowing more hunters into the field.

"Even though more hunters will be in the field, we don't think that will have a negative effect on Utah's turkey populations," he says. "Each hunter in Utah is restricted to taking only one male turkey. And female turkeys are very successful at reproducing."

Olsen says turkeys and other upland game birds reproduce at a high rate. "It's not unusual for a single male turkey to breed as many as 10 females. And female turkeys are very productive. They usually lay a clutch of between 10 to 12 eggs.

"Because one male will breed several females, and because female turkeys are so productive, removing males out of the population will have little effect on the overall number of turkeys in the state."

2009–2010 Turkey Guidebook

More information about Utah's 2010 turkey hunting season will be available in the 2009–2010 Utah Turkey Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks during the week of Sept. 7, 2009.