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Regulations/Taking the Shot

Learning turkey hunting regulations

During spring turkey season, only gobblers or turkeys with beards can be harvested. When comparing male and female turkeys, males are larger and darker in color. Gobblers have heads that are fleshy with patches of red, white and/or blue. Hens have feathers extending along the back of their necks almost to the head, which is a dull blueish-gray. If you are unsure if it is a male or female wild turkey, it is legal to take if there is a beard protruding from its chest.

In Florida, the spring wild turkey season limit is two birds. On lands outside of the wildlife management area (WMA) system, you may take two in one day, except in Holmes County where the season and daily limit is one. On WMAs, the daily bag limit is one turkey.

Gobbler

Hens

Taking the shot

Taking aim at a turkey

After you have positively identified the wild turkey as legal to shoot and one you wish to take, wait until the turkey is within 40 yards and aim for where the major caruncles (the large bright red bumps of fleshy skin) meet the feathers on the front of the turkey’s neck. It’s best to take the shot when the turkey is standing tall and has its neck stretched out. It is not recommended to shoot a turkey while it is in full strut, because it’s harder to see its head and neck, and the feathers may interfere with shot penetration.

To know if a turkey is in shotgun range (within 40 yards), you can step off the distance between where you are sitting and easy-to-identify trees or bushes before your hunt. In general, every long stride you take is approximately 1 yard. It’s best to measure these distances after you get your blind set up and before there are turkeys in the area. You also can use an electronic rangefinder to determine distance.