Here's your youth turkey season checklist:
- Kid (age 10 to 17)
- Hunting license and turkey tag
- Turkey calls
Idaho's general season youth turkey hunt runs Sunday, April 8 through Saturday, April 14. It's an opportunity for kids to get an early shot at turkey hunting, and a way for parents, grand parents and other adults to mentor a young hunter without affecting their own hunt. Licensed youth who are 10 to 17 years old on April 8 may participate in the general youth turkey hunt.
Turkey hunting is a great way to introduce youth to hunting. It's also a great head start for young hunters who are planning to participate in next fall's big game hunts.
Turkey hunting is exciting, inexpensive, and you don't need a bunch of specialized gear. Turkeys are often found in fairly accessible places where long hikes into rugged country are not required, and it's also easy to pack one out if you have a successful hunt.
Part of the excitement is talking to a tom turkey with calls is visually and audibly appealing because you often know your quarry is in the vicinity, and the trick is to lure it within shotgun (or archery) range of the waiting hunter. See the video below for a first-hand look at a turkey hunt.
Turkeys are found throughout Idaho, but most general seasons are in the Panhandle, Clearwater, Southwest and Southeast regions. You can see a map of them on page 22 of the turkey rules.
Turkeys tend to congregate at lower elevations in early spring, often near agriculture lands, and follow the snow line up in elevation as spring progresses.
Hunters should scout out hunting areas before the season, and make sure you get permission on private land before they hunt. When in doubt, check a map or app so you know who owns the land, and savvy hunters typically introduce themselves to landowners before the season starts.
If you're new to turkey hunting, the National Wild Turkey Federation offers some helpful tips and information to help you get started.
Turkey hunting has grown in popularity since Idaho Fish and Game first introduced the birds in the 1960s. An estimated 30,000 wild turkeys – Merriam’s, Rio Grande and Eastern – roam the state’s public and private lands.
With general turkey seasons for youths and adults, along with multiple tags available, there are lots of opportunities for people to get outdoors and enjoy hunting in the spring. Add to that the typically mild weather, the chance to see other wildlife, and spring turkey hunting is fun, accessible and value packed.
Youth hunt rules
Licensed youth who are 10 to 17 years old on April 8 may participate in the general youth turkey hunt. Resident hunters under 12 and nonresident hunters under 18 must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 years of age or older to participate.
Adults who accompany youth hunters must also be licensed and be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting and without the aid of electronic devices.
For more information, see the 2018-19 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules brochure, and printed copies are available at all Fish and Game offices and license vendors.