Tennessee’s turkey hunters will find several changes in store for the 2023 spring season. The changes were made by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission to benefit the state’s wild turkey population.
The spring turkey season will open Saturday, April 15, two weeks later than in previous years. The Young Sportsman Hunt is April 8-9, statewide. The bag limit has also been reduced from three birds to two birds, and only one bird can be a juvenile or jake. After hearing growing reports of decreasing turkey populations, the Commission voted to delay the statewide turkey season to improve reproduction and nesting success.
New turkey regulations will be in effect on select Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and hunters are reminded to check each WMA they hunt in the 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. One change that affects all WMAs is that fanning or reaping turkeys are now prohibited.
“I expect it to be a good season because we had really high recruitment in 2021 which means there should be a lot of 2-year-old birds in the woods,” said Roger Shields, TWRA Wild Turkey Program Coordinator. “For those people not having the opportunity to hunt in recent years, this could be a good year to get back in the woods.”
This will be the fourth spring turkey season to “Tag Before You Drag” where hunters tag their big game animal in the field prior to moving. Hunters are able to use the TWRA on the Go app to simply E-tag and report their harvest in the field in one easy step, with or without cell phone service, prior to moving.
If you do not have a phone, attach one of the temporary transportations tags that are printed at the bottom of your license this year, and you have until midnight on the same day of the harvest (or before leaving the state) to check in your harvest online at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com or at one of several manned check stations. Temporary transportation tags can also be obtained by logging in at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.
A combination hunting and fishing license, plus a supplemental big game license, or a sportsman license is required. To purchase a license online, go to GoOutdoorsTennesssee.com.
More information on the 2023 spring turkey season can be found in the 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting & Trapping Guide. The guide is online at www.tnwildlife.org and available at TWRA offices and license agents.
Hunting hours are 30 minutes prior to legal sunrise until legal sunset. Legal hunting equipment includes shotguns using ammunition loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller, longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows.
Firearms and archery equipment may have sighting devices, except those devices utilizing an artificial light capable of locating wildlife.