Like much of the Northwest, the primary Washington turkey hunting areas have experienced a relatively mild winter snowfall in 2013 and it is likely that 2014 will be an excellent season, with high brood survival rates. Washington’s turkey populations exist in pockets in areas where there is sufficient food and rainfall to support their populations.
The primary destination for hunters this year will be the northeastern portion of the state, primarily Region 1’s Stevens, Ferry, and Pend Orielle Counties, and Colville claims to be the “Wild Turkey Capital of Washington.” These areas have large numbers of turkeys, and the northeast turkey population unit (P10, which covers GMUs 101-136) accounts for nearly two-thirds of the state’s harvest. Another unit that has experienced an increase in turkey populations is GMU 335 in the southcentral portion of the state, which has seen an upswing in turkey populations that continues to grow.
Washington has a special youth season on April 5 and 6 statewide, and the general Washington turkey season begins on April 15 and runs through May 31. The vast majority of turkeys that occur in Washington are Merriam’s, though there are a few pockets of other subspecies in areas of the state. A total of three bearded turkeys may be taken (two in the eastern portion of the state, one in the western), and tag prices in Washington are very competitive, costing just $15.90 for a Washington resident and $44.50 for non-residents.
Terrain in the state varies greatly, but you can expect to find birds where agricultural areas meet with timber. Much of the best turkey hunting in Washington is on public land, but in areas where there are lots of birds landowners are often willing to allow hunting to help control numbers.
- Turkey loads kick. There’s no way around it. That recoil is one reason some hunters, particularly new or smaller-framed hunters, miss. Federal’s Heavyweight LR take some of the punch of each shot without sacrificing killing power. They have nearly half the recoil of standard Heavyweight loads, but still travel at 1,300 fps at the muzzle. The 2 ¾-inch 12-gauge shells are packed with 1 ¼ ounces of #6 or 7 tungsten-based shot; the 20-gauge shells are also 2 ¾ inches and are packed with 1 1/8 ounces of #7 shot. Price: $25 per box of 5
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