Kentucky’s spring turkey hunting set to make return

Kentucky’s 2023 spring turkey hunting kicks off with the youth-only season held this coming weekend, April 1st and 2nd, followed by the general hunting season opening on Saturday, April 15th and continuing through Sunday, May 7th.

Kentucky’s spring hunting season is structured to give turkeys ample time to breed before introducing hunting pressure while giving hunters the opportunity to hear plenty of gobbling.

Zak Danks, wild turkey program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, forecasts a good year for gobbling by 2-year-old birds based on the above-average turkey brood survival rate recorded in 2021. Brood surveys, which are conducted in July and August, help the department make season predictions.

He encourages beginners to try turkey hunting this season, as these abundant 2-year-old birds have encountered less hunting pressure than older gobblers, potentially making them more susceptible to calling by hunters.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife maintains a “Learn to Hunt Turkey” page on its website designed to help newcomers to turkey hunting.

Hunters seeking advice also should consider tuning in to Kentucky Afield TV’s upcoming segment featuring a guest panel of turkey hunting experts. The show will be a good chance for people new to turkey hunting to learn about using turkey calls.

The show will go live on Kentucky Afield TV’s Facebook page at  6 p.m. central time on Monday, March 27th and will also air on Kentucky Educational Television on April 1. Topics will include turkey behavior, hunting gear, tactics and regulations, as well as submitted questions.

Kentucky’s statewide spring harvest limit is two legal turkeys. A legal turkey is defined as a wild turkey that is male or has a visible beard.