SEASON DATES AND RESTRICTIONS
Current Season Dates - Searchable Application
Shotgun: Seven consecutive days beginning the fourth Saturday in October; Seven consecutive days beginning the first Saturday in December
Archery: Beginning the first Saturday in September through the third Monday in January
Crossbow: October 1 through the end of the third full weekend in October; Second Saturday in November through December 31
LEGAL FALL TURKEY EQUIPMENT
• Breech-loading or muzzleloading shotguns no larger than 10 gauge and no smaller than .410.
• Breech-loading shotguns must be plugged to hold a maximum of three shells (two in magazine and one in chamber).
• Lead or non-toxic shot no larger than No. 4.
• Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows, of any draw weight (no minimum).
• Crossbows, of any draw weight (no minimum) with a working safety.
• Non-barbed broadheads with a minimum cutting diameter of 7/8-inch, whether expandable or non-expandable.
- Four (4) birds total. No more than two (2) of which may be taken with a shotgun.
- No more than one (1) bird may have a beard length of three (3) inches or longer.
- No more than (1) bird may be taken per day.
Adult hunters: Unless exempt, all fall turkey hunters ages 16 and older must carry with them in the field proof of purchase of a valid Kentucky hunting license and a valid Fall Turkey Permit. Short-term (1- or 7-day) hunting licenses are not valid for turkey hunting.
The Fall Turkey Permit is valid for fall archery, crossbow and shotgun turkey seasons and allows a hunter to harvest up to the fall season bag limit of turkeys.
Youth hunters: Youth younger than age 12 are exempt from license and turkey permit requirements. Youth ages 12-15 are eligible to purchase a Youth Hunting License and a Youth Turkey Permit, which is valid during any turkey season for one turkey. Youth hunters must abide by season bag limits and harvest restrictions but can use the youth permit throughout the license year. The Youth Sportsman’s License includes two (2) Youth Turkey Permits. Anyone may call turkeys, or assist in the hunt, for a legal hunter. Callers and assistants don’t have to possess hunting licenses or turkey permits if they are not turkey hunting, and may carry equipment while in the field.
Turkey hunters may not use firearms to take turkeys during archery or crossbow-only seasons. On some WMAs, special equipment restrictions may apply.
Firearm turkey hunters 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult, who shall remain in a position to take immediate control of the youth’s firearm at all times.
HARVEST RECORDING and TAGGING REQUIREMENTS
The process and requirements for recording, checking and tagging harvested turkeys are the same as for deer and elk. See the Recording, Checking, Tagging and Transporting page for details.
POSSESSION/RELEASE OF LIVE TURKEYS
Because of potential disease problems and genetic pollution, it is illegal to possess live wild turkeys. For the same reasons, domestic or pen-raised turkeys should not be released into the wild.
HUNTING TURKEYS OVER BAIT IS ILLEGAL
It is illegal to hunt turkeys over bait – an area where feed, grains or other substances capable of luring wild turkeys have been placed. An area is considered baited until 30 days after the bait has been removed. An area where grain, feed or other substance exists as the result of bona fide agricultural practice or manipulating a crop for a wildlife management purpose is legal for turkey hunting.
TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY TIPS
- Don’t stalk a turkey. The chances of getting close enough for a shot are slim, and odds of becoming involved in an accident increase.
- Eliminate the colors red, white and blue from your turkey hunting outfit. Red or white are the colors hunters are looking for when differentiating a gobbler’s head from the hen’s grayish-blue head. These colors not only put you in danger, but they can be seen by turkeys as well.
- Don’t move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. A quick movement may draw fire. Yell in a loud voice “Hey, I’m here,” and remain hidden.
- Be particularly careful when using a gobbler call. The sound and motion may attract other hunters, and could draw fire.
- When selecting your calling position, sit at the base of a large tree, if one is available, to protect your torso and head. Position yourself so you can see 180 degrees in front of you.
- Never shoot at a sound or movement. Be 100 percent sure of your target. Assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter.
- When hunting with a turkey decoy, place the decoy about 20 yards from your calling position. To be safe you need a clear line of sight beyond the decoy of at least 80 yards. This will enable you to see any approaching hunter and keep you at a safe distance if another hunter were to shoot at your decoy.
- Keep your shotgun unloaded when not in the field, and open the action or unload your shotgun when climbing a steep hill, stepping over low fence wire, or fording a creek.
- After bagging a turkey, put on an article of hunter orange while carrying the bird out of the field.