The spring turkey hunting season is underway in the State of Utah and there are plenty of the wild birds throughout the state.
According the Division of Wildlife Services (DWR), there are currently between 25,000-35,000 wild turkeys roaming around areas of the Beehive State.
“The wild turkey population in the Cache Valley area is healthy and robust,” according to Wildlife Biologist Jim Christensen. “We can find turkeys all the way from the Idaho State line down to the southern end of the valley. They are found on the east side of the valley and west side of the valley. They are doing very well in Cache Valley.”
Utah’s south central and southwestern regions have the highest density of turkeys in the state — and a relatively low number of hunters — which means these areas may provide better hunting opportunities.
There are two turkey subspecies that live in Utah: Rio Grande and Merriam’s, according to DWR.
Rio Grande turkeys are usually found at lower elevations. Merriam’s turkeys are typically found in ponderosa pine forests at higher elevations.
If you’ve never tasted wild turkey, don’t be too put off by the ‘wild’ characterization, said Christensen. The birds can actually be quite tasty.
“Any wild game meat is all in the preparation,” he said. “If you don’t take care of your meat, it’s not going to taste as good. As long as you field dress your animal and prepare the meat, it can taste fantastic.”
Christensen stressed that turkeys are often found on private property, so be aware of the land ownership in the area you’re hunting.
You can buy a permit for the statewide general season anytime between now and when the hunt ends on May 31, 2019. General-season permits are available on the DWR website. They’re also available at hunting license agent locations and DWR offices.
For more information on season dates and permits, see page 35 of the 2018–19 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook is available online at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks or at hunting license agent locations and DWR offices.