When does fall turkey season start in Pennsylvania? Here’s what you need to know

Pa Outdoors

Turkeys are shown in a pen at Root Down Farm in Pescadero, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Many turkey farmers are worried their biggest birds won’t end up on Thanksgiving tables. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, the traditional Thanksgiving feast is being downsized. Fewer people at Thanksgiving tables means many families will buy smaller turkeys, or none at all. (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

(WTAJ) — Turkey season is upon us as Halloween sees its way out the door. For Pennsylvania hunters, here’s all you need to know.

Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season kicks off Saturday, Oct. 30 in 19 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units.

The game commission reports that turkey reproduction was well above average this past summer, resulting in above-average fall flock sizes that are worth going after.

All about the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs)

Fall turkey season lengths are as follows: 

  • WMUs 1A, 1B, 4A, 4B, 4D and 4E – Oct. 30-Nov. 6
  • WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow only) – Oct. 30-Nov. 19 and Nov. 24-26
  • WMUs 2C, 2D and 2E – Oct. 30-Nov. 13 and Nov. 24-26
  • WMUs 2A, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 4C – Oct. 30-Nov. 13
  • WMU 5B – Nov. 2-4.
Wildlife Management Unit 1

Note: The 2021 fall turkey season is shorter in 14 WMUs across the state. There is no fall season in WMUs 5A, 5C or 5D. Shotguns, archery tackle, or muzzleloading firearms are the only lawful tools that may be used. Centerfire and rimfire rifles are no longer permitted for fall turkey hunting.

The PA Game Commission is advising hunters that the three-day Thanksgiving season will be held only in four WMUs this year, WMUs 2B, 2C, 2D and 2E, and, like last year, the season will run the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after Thanksgiving.

While fall turkey hunters no longer are required to wear fluorescent orange, the Game Commission highly recommends the use of orange when not required, especially while moving.

Harvest and reporting

The turkey must be tagged immediately before moving it, and the tag must be securely attached to a leg until the bird is prepared for consumption or mounting.

Mentored hunters under the age of 7 are allowed to receive, by transfer, a fall turkey tag supplied by their mentor

Within 10 days of harvest (five days for mentored hunters), turkey hunters must report harvests to the Game Commission, either by going online at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov, calling toll-free or mailing in a prepaid postcard.

Anyone calling to report their harvest can call 1-800-838-4431.
Hunters will need to have their license and their copy of the harvest tag in front of them when they make the call.

If any hunters harvest a turkey that was leg-banded for research, they should follow the instructions on the band. The Game Commission leg-banded 479 turkeys last winter in an effort to determine spring harvest and annual survival rates.

Season outlook

It is believed the Brood X cicada hatch in most of southern Pennsylvania, coupled with relatively warm and dry late spring weather across most of the state, resulted in average to above average poult survival this past summer in 19 of the 23 WMUs. The 12 WMUs with above average recruitment are projected to hold larger than average flocks this fall. There are fall turkey seasons in nine of these WMUs (WMUs 1B, 2A, 2C, 2G, 2H, 3D, 4A, 4B, and 4D).

The above average recruitment in most areas, in combination with continued habitat management and lower fall harvests, are in line with the management goal of assisting the population to increase.

For more details and information you can visit the PA Game Commission press room by clicking here for Fall Turkey Season.

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