California’s 2017-18 general spring turkey hunting season opens statewide on March 31 and extends through May 6. The archery-only hunting season follows immediately afterward, running from May 7-20.
Young hunters will have additional opportunities to bag a spring tom turkey. Junior Hunting License holders may hunt the weekend before the general opener, March 24 and 25, and the two weeks after the general season closes, May 7-20, using shotguns or any other legal method of taking.
Shooting hours for spring turkeys are from one-half hour before sunrise to 5 p.m. Both a hunting license and an upland game bird stamp validation are required to hunt wild turkeys, although an upland stamp is not required of Junior Hunting License holders.
Nonlead shot is required when taking wild turkeys with a shotgun anywhere in the state except when hunting on licensed game bird clubs. These regulations apply to both public and private land, including all national forests, Bureau of Land Management, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) properties. For more information on nonlead ammunition regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition.
CDFW is offering 89 separate special turkey hunting opportunities throughout the state. Starting this year, application for these special hunting opportunities must be made through CDFW’s Automated License Data System.
Hunts are grouped into three separate drawings: Junior hunts, General Opening Weekend hunts and Balance of Season hunts. There is a $2.42 application fee and only one application per hunter is allowed for each drawing. Applications allow hunters to select their top three hunt choices in order of their preference. Hunters may only be drawn once per application. The application deadlines for these hunts are as follows:
- Junior Hunts: Saturday, March 3, 2018
- Opening Weekend General Season Hunts: Saturday, March 10, 2018
- Balance of the Season Hunts: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
To apply for these hunts, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, sign into your account, select the “Purchase Licenses” link and select “2017 – Hunting” from the menu on the left side of the page. Spring turkey hunt application items will be available under the “Drawings” section on the right side of the page. After submitting your application, checking out and completing payment, you will be able to download a receipt confirming your entries into the drawing.