Youth Hunting Day kicks off turkey season on Saturday

Posted: Apr. 21, 2017 12:01 am

Youth license holders will be the first with a chance to harvest a turkey during the Youth Turkey Hunting Day scheduled for Saturday.

That’s two days before the regular season opener on Monday.

Hunters with a valid Youth License who have obtained a “Y” turkey permit may begin their spring turkey hunting season on this day prior to the opening of the regular season.

The Youth Turkey Hunting Day is part of the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Take a Kid Hunting Program.

It is considered an extension of the regular season permit held by the youth. If a youth hunter harvests a turkey on this youth hunting day the “Y” period permit is no longer valid for future hunting.

All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.

Direct supervision of the youth hunter by a properly licensed non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older is required. The adult may not shoot on this day.

Helpful turkey hunting information and tips can be found on the Wild Turkey in New Jersey page at

The Wild Turkey Hunting Season Information booklet is no longer published, so hunters should refer to the regulation information linked from the wild turkey page.

Permits are available at license agents and online (permits obtained online are mailed so allow time for delivery).

Permit availability can be checked at



The Division’s Turkey Restoration Project represents one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in the history of the state.

By the mid-1800s, turkeys had disappeared in New Jersey due to habitat changes and killing for food.

Division biologists, in cooperation with the NJ Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, reintroduced wild turkeys in 1977 with the release of 22 birds.

In 1979, biologists and technicians began to live-trap and re-locate birds to establish populations throughout the state.

By 1981 the population was able to support a spring hunting season, and in December, 1997, a limited fall season was initiated.

There is now an abundance of wild turkeys throughout the state with turkeys found wherever there is suitable habitat.

In South Jersey, where wild turkeys had been struggling just a few years ago, intensive restoration efforts have improved population numbers significantly.

The statewide population is now estimated at 20,000 – 23,000 turkeys with an annual harvest of approximately 3,000 birds.

Spring turkey permits were awarded via a lottery followed by over-the-counter sales; the lottery application period was Jan. 25 – Feb. 22, but there are still leftover permits in many zones. There is no lottery for the fall turkey season.



All harvested turkeys must be tagged immediately with a completed transportation tag.

A turkey must be taken by the person who killed it, on the day killed, to the nearest turkey check station where personnel…

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