The general spring turkey season in California opens statewide on March 26 and ends on May 1. With wild turkey populations growing in many parts of the state, spring turkey season has become one of the most anticipated opportunities on the hunting calendar.
This year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will host 95 special turkey hunts during the spring turkey hunting season. To apply for special hunts, please visit the CDFW Online Marketplace to purchase your $2.42 application for opening weekend. Additional hunting days and locations throughout the season are available and separate $2.42 requests are required for each opportunity.
Among the many opportunities to hunt wild turkeys this spring:
Youth and Archery Opportunities: To view specific hunting dates for youth and archery seasons, visit the CDFW Rules webpage.
CDFW’s SHARE program provides public hunting opportunities on private property. In 2022, SHARE spring turkey hunting opportunities are available at two private ranches in Tulare County, the 722-acre River Ridge Ranch and the 975-acre Hart Ranch. Requests for these special SHARE hunts should be made through the CDFW online marketplace. There is a $12.42 application fee for each hunt which provides economic incentives and liability insurance to participating landowners. For more details on these hunts, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/SHARE.
Dozens of CDFW-managed wildlife areas will be open for walk-in wild turkey hunting throughout the season. Please visit CDFW’s California Ecological Reserves and Wildlife Areas webpage for a list of these lands and available recreational opportunities.
Hunting hours for spring turkeys are half an hour before sunrise at 5 p.m. A hunting license and validation of the Upland Game Bird Stamp are required to hunt wild turkeys. Land validation is not required for junior hunting license holders.
Hunters are limited to one bearded turkey per day with a limit of three birds in the spring.
Lead-free shot is required when hunting with a firearm anywhere in the state. Turkeys can be legally hunted with air rifles of at least .177 caliber. Crossbows can be used during general turkey season, but not during archery season without one [/Licensing/Hunting#:~:text=Disabled%20Archer%20Permit%2D%20NO%20FEE&text=Allows%20the%20hunter%20to%20hunt%20with%20a%20crossbow%20or%20other,tag%20or%20during%20archery%20season.]Disabled archers allowed. For more information on the regulations, visit the CDFW Hunting Regulations webpage.
Turkey hunters are strongly encouraged to review the CDFW Wildlife Area Operational Changes Due to COVID-19 webpage before visiting a state-operated wildlife area to understand all required health and safety practices in place to help protect visitors and staff. Turkey hunters are further advised to check with the local management of the individual property they plan to hunt for specific entry procedures, details and other regulations.