California Offers Abundant Opportunities for 2022 Spring Turkey Season
California’s general spring turkey season opens statewide March 26 and runs through May 1. With growing populations of wild turkeys in many parts of the state, spring turkey season has become one of the more anticipated opportunities on the hunting calendar.
This year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host 95 special turkey hunts during the spring turkey hunting season. To apply for special hunts please visit CDFW’s online sales site to purchase your $2.42 application for opening weekend. Additional hunting days and locations throughout the season are available and separate $2.42 applications are required for each opportunity.
Among the many opportunities to hunt wild turkey this spring:
- Youth and Archery Opportunities: To view specific hunting dates for youth-only and archery-only seasons, visit CDFW’s regulations webpage.
- CDFW’s SHARE Program offers public hunting opportunities on private properties. In 2022, spring turkey SHARE hunt opportunities are available on two private ranches in Tulare County, the 722-acre River Ridge Ranch and the 975-acre Hart Ranch. Applications for these special SHARE hunts must be made through CDFW’s online sales site. There is a $12.42 application fee for each hunt that provides economic incentives and liability insurance to participating landowners. For more details on these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/SHARE.
- Dozens of CDFW-managed wildlife areas will be open to wild turkey hunting on a walk-in basis throughout the season. Please visit CDFW’s Ecological Reserves and Wildlife Areas of California web page for a listing of these lands and the recreational opportunities available.
The application deadlines are Feb. 26 for the Junior Hunts, March 5 for the opening weekend General Season hunts and archery-only hunts, and March 9 for the Balance of the Season hunts.
Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one half-hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys. An upland validation is not required for junior hunting license holders.
Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a spring season limit of three birds.
Nonlead shot is required when hunting with a firearm anywhere in the state. Turkeys can be legally hunted with air rifles of at least 0.177 caliber. Crossbows may be used for the general turkey season but not during archery season without a disabled archers permit. For more information on regulations, visit the CDFW Hunting Regulations webpage.
Turkey hunters are strongly encouraged to review the CDFW Wildlife Area Operational Changes Due to COVID-19 web page prior to visiting any state-operated wildlife area to understand all required health and safety practices in place to help protect visitors and staff. Turkey hunters are further advised to check with the local management of the individual property they are planning to hunt for specific entry procedures, details and other regulations.
Taylor Williams, CDFW R3 Program, (916) 275-8017
Matt Meshriy, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 801-8708