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Spring Turkey Hunting Season in Texas: Where Gobblers Are Abundant and the Excitement is High

Thayne Muthler

Spring enthusiasts in Texas can find an abundance of Rio Grande turkeys across Central Texas, extending from Edwards Plateau to Trans-Pecos and even up to the Panhandle area.

These turkeys are easily spotted in various locations, particularly if you have access to some land or can explore one. They often prefer areas near small rivers or water sources because it's easier for them to search for food like grasshoppers and caterpillars.

A prominent feature of Hill Country turkeys is their tendency to display their feathers, create sounds, and pursue female birds. Sunlight affecting their eyes and the availability of food, which can change due to rainfall, drive this behavior.

Turkeys typically engage in their activities during daylight, moving from one place to another for food. This behavior makes them easy targets for hunters who quietly wait for them. However, hunting turkeys with decoys or hiding spots, as some hunters prefer, might not be as thrilling as witnessing a turkey's natural display before attempting to catch it.

While Rio Grande turkeys often stand out, there are moments when they blend into their surroundings, especially when not displaying or pursuing females. For this reason, venturing into forested regions before sunrise is important to hear their unique sounds and observe their displays.

Recently, while driving near Burnet in the afternoon, I observed a large turkey displaying for a female about 50 yards from the road. Although I had heard their sounds and seen female turkeys near my home before, this was my first encounter with such a display in that region.

This experience validates the saying, "Turkeys are found everywhere." They appear to be plentiful across various habitats. A friend shared a video of a male turkey from his garden in Camp Verde, displaying its feathers in an attempt to attract a female.

It's worth mentioning that the number of eastern wild turkeys in certain southern states has been declining over time, likely due to climate alterations, creating additional difficulties for these birds.

Additionally, it's wise to avoid conflicts with turkeys because they can be strong adversaries when fighting over territory. I recall witnessing a very intense and long-lasting fight between two turkeys in the Panhandle; they were locked together for more than an hour.

Turkeys show strong will in fights, as illustrated by a friend from Rio Frio who caught a turkey stuck in a feeding area, demonstrating the toughness and persistence of these birds.

Turkey hunting seasons in Texas vary by area. The North Zone's season runs from March 30 to May 12, the South Zone's from March 16 to April 26, and the East Zone's begins on April 1st. Hunters should check the dates for their county. Each season allows for four gobblers, but in the Eastern Zone, it's just one gobbler per permit. Check county listings for specific dates.