Turkey Hunting in Idaho

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  • B
  • 30,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Merriam's; some Rios; hybrids

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 6,000 (turkey)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $32.50

    Hunting license and turkey tag is $32.50. An archery permit is $18.25 and each extra turkey tag is $12.25.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $234.75

    Hunting license and turkey tag is $234.75. An archery permit is $20, and each extra turkey tag is $80.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Most of Idaho’s turkey population resides on public ground and can be hunted with an over-the-counter tag.

Hunter success is also good, typically hovering around 50 percent.

The downside: One of the drawbacks for the non-resident turkey hunter is Idaho’s location; unless you live in neighboring Washington, Oregon or Montana, getting to the Gem State’s turkey population is quite the haul.

Also, like any other Western hunting destination, the steep terrain in the north and western areas of the state (which is where most of the birds are located) is physically demanding at times. 

Some history . . .

Wild turkeys are not native to the Gem State, but were transplanted in 1961.

Merriam’s were the first subspecies, and by far the best trap-and-transfer effort, with large populations that stretch across the Panhandle and Clearwater regions of Idaho.

Rios were introduced (and even a few Easterns) in the early 1980s, but results were weak. Still, there are huntable populations of Rios in the Idaho Falls and Boise regions along the riparian river habitat.

Since that time, more than 150 successful transplant efforts have taken place, which have resulted in a population of 30,000, making Idaho a prime Northwestern turkey destination.

In fact, NWTF Idaho Chapter President Don Jenkins once argued Idaho is perhaps the best Western turkey destination in the Lower 48.

Fun Fact: It’s hard to beat the Panhandle, Clearwater and Southwest regions of the state for turkey hunting. Ninety percent of Idaho’s turkey population roams these vast and rugged regions, and although numbers are strong, it often takes many days in the woods to fill your tag. Out of these three areas, however, the Clearwater typically boasts the highest success rate. 

– Brian Strickland and Steve Hickoff

Idaho Turkey Hunting © John Hafner photo

More on Idaho turkey hunting.

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