Turkey Hunting in Oklahoma

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  • B
  • 93,532 (NWTF data)

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Rio Grandes, Easterns, Hybrids and Merriam's

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 419,445

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $25 (hunting license) plus $10 (turkey)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $142 (hunting license) plus $10 (turkey)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Oklahoma is a frequent destination for many traveling turkey hunters these days.

I've visited and turkey hunted the state numerous times, and filled tags on those trips. There are reasons so many of us make the effort, often coming from distant locations. Turkey hunting is a deep tradition in Oklahoma. It was one of the original states that started the Lt. Governor’s invitational turkey hunt.

To the west, the Black Kettle Wildlife Management Area has good Rio Grande turkey populations. Some of the better public hot spots for the Eastern subspecies are Three Rivers, Honobia Creek and Pushmataha Wildlife Management Areas. Some Merriam's are even found in the state, especially in the Panhandle region. Hybrids also roost statewide.

As the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife advises: "Managing wild turkeys in Oklahoma is a different proposition than it was only decades ago. Where once the sole objective was the restoration of wild turkey populations, today’s biologists are faced with new challenges, such as maintaining high carrying capacities by fine tuning habitat and harvest regulations. Modern distributions of the Eastern and Rio Grande subspecies are drastically different from pioneer days, with management philosophies, strategies and goals differing from one subspecies to the other."

For more on the state's wild turkey subspecies

Changes for the 2022 Season

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission has voted to move the spring turkey season opener to April 16 for the entire state and reduce a hunter’s bag limit to one tom statewide. The spring season had opened 10 days earlier, and the bag limit had been three per hunter.

“The later start date and one-bird bag limit for spring turkey season will protect dominant, mature toms during peak breeding,” Eric Suttles, Southeast region wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC), told the commission.

Bill Dinkines, ODWC Wildlife Division chief, provided the department’s recommendation to commissioners following a presentation by Suttles, which covered turkey population declines, hunting statistics, and results from a hunter survey that produced more than 5,000 comments — an all-time high for hunter input on a proposed change.

Turkey Hunting in Oklahoma (Steve Hickoff photo)

Additional information here.

– Steve Hickoff

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.