Turkey Hunting in Pennsylvania

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  • B
  • 220,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 935,146

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $20.90

    Resident adult hunting license. Second spring gobbler tag available ($21.90; purchase before April 28, 2017).

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $101.90

    Non-resident adult hunting license. Second spring gobbler tag available ($41.90; purchase before April 28, 2017).

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

The hunting culture thrives in Pennsylvania. Turkeys. Deer. Small game. Even waterfowl.

Wear camouflage to a roadside diner during spring turkey season, and chances are someone with a smile on their face will ask if you managed to kill a bird.

I know. I was born and raised in PA turkey country. And I've turkey hunted there in recent years. 

While nearly a million licensed hunters take to the woods each year, not all target spring gobblers – though participation is far higher than most states.

Yes, this also sometimes makes a pure hunt difficult in some regions, especially for birds you see strutting from a distance, while glassing from the road.

Then again, if you walk far and long on public property, you will definitely chance at hearing turkeys, especially in mountain country.

Vast public lands, a simple licensing system and purchasing options, make this a solid state destination for non-resident turkey hunters. It's not an "A" due to hunting pressure; it's not a "C" for reasons below.

Public hunting opportunities rule.

North-central Pennsylvania counties, where I'm originally from, and the vast state game lands found there, draw Keystone State hunters. This region is one of the truly wild places left in the United States.

Elsewhere to the Northwest, Allegheny National Forest (517,000 acres) usually has birds. WMU 4D (central PA) puts up high kill numbers, too.

Poult production is down slightly in the Northeast, Southeast and even in the Southwest according to sources (though this region's WMUs 2A and 2C both average 2,000 spring kills annually).

Note: Sunday hunting is prohibited here. Non-residents with short trip opportunities should plan around this. Also, the tactic of "fanning," and moving on gobblers to kill them, is illegal. The law reads: "No stalking. Hunting by calling only."

Pennsylvania Turkey Hunting Fact: Youth hunters average 6,000 PA spring turkey kills, exceeding entire season totals for some other states.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Pennsylvania (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

Pennsylvania Turkey Hunting

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