Idaho Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Two mile winters in a row and minimal snow pack have helped Idaho's turkey populations grow higher than ever. Although the birds are not native to the state, turkeys were introduced into Idaho in the 1960s and since that time they have established strong breeding populations in many parts of the state. Some of the greatest opportunities for spring Idaho turkey hunting can be found in the Panhandle Region, units 1,2 3, 4, 4A, and 5. This area has one of the highest densities of Merriam's turkeys in the state. In some areas, the birds are becoming a headache to local farmers.

"Panhandle turkey numbers are as high as they've ever been," says Phil Cooper of Idaho Fish and Game. "More landowners are welcoming people to hunt," he says. With proper permits in the Panhandle Region a hunter can take up to 5 bearded turkeys, and success rates were very high.

Elsewhere in the state you can expect good hunting and high bird populations thanks to mile weather. The Clearwater Region, particularly the forested areas in units 8, 8A, 10, and 10A all have high bird populations and harvest rates. Unit 10A had the highest numbers of birds harvested in the state (346 in 2013), but nearby unit 11A actually has a higher success rate and lower hunter numbers, so that area is worth a try. Farther southwest, units 31 and 32A both had success rates that topped 23 percent, making them some of the best choices in that part of the state.

Idaho's youth turkey season this year runs from April 8-14, and the general season goes from April 15 to May 25. There are also a number of controlled hunts available, and successful applicants will enjoy low hunter numbers and good access thanks to reduced snowfall. Idaho offers "Extra" tags to take a second turkey, and out-of-state hunters can expect to pay $80 for a tag and $154.75 for a license. There are, however, plenty of areas in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions with good access.

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