WATERBURY, VERMONT- Vermont offers some of the best turkey hunting in New England according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Vermont hunters have established new spring turkey harvest records in eight of the last eleven years. In 2008, Hunters took a record 5,454 turkeys in both the youth weekend and regular May 1-31 seasons.
What makes Vermont's spring gobbler season special? Vermont's hunting is statewide during the spring season. Vermont's turkey population is one of the highest in New England. You can buy a turkey hunting license without having to go through a lottery. The turkey license comes with two spring tags for two bearded birds, and one tag for a turkey of either sex in the fall season. Plus, you get to hunt the entire weekend, because hunting is allowed on Sundays.
Youth turkey hunting weekend is April 25-26 this year. Landowner permission is required to hunt on private land, whether or not the land is posted. To be eligible, a youth must be age 15 or under and have at least one parent or guardian who is a legal resident of Vermont. The youth must have successfully completed a hunter education course and possess a hunting license, a turkey hunting license and a free youth turkey hunting tag. The youth also must be accompanied by an unarmed adult who holds a hunting license and is over 18 years of age. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to 12:00 Noon. The youth may take one bearded turkey during youth weekend and two bearded turkeys in the regular May hunting season.
The regular spring turkey hunting season is May 1-31. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to 12:00 Noon. Two bearded turkeys may be taken, and all of Vermont is open to turkey hunting during the youth weekend and regular spring season.
A shotgun or bow and arrow may be used in the youth turkey or regular spring turkey hunting seasons. Shot size must be no larger than #2 and no smaller than #8.
Vermont was the first New England state to re-establish wild turkeys when it stocked 31 birds in 1969 and 1970. Today, the Green Mountain State has an estimated 50,000 turkeys.
Vermont's wild turkey restoration program is a tremendous wildlife management success story funded entirely by hunters through the sale of hunting licenses and a federal tax on hunting equipment. Now, hunters are reaping the benefits by seeing excellent turkey hunting in Vermont. And, all Vermonters are enjoying watching the big birds as they roam hillsides they had been absent from for almost a century.
To find out more about wild turkey hunting in Vermont, contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05601-0501. Telephone them at 802-241-3700 or check in at their website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
The 2008 Vermont Turkey Harvest Report with the number of turkeys taken in each town is posted under "Hunting and Trapping" - "Big Game." Licenses are available on their website and at more than 300 agents statewide.
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Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.