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Big Game Hunting

Turkey Hunting

Traditional Seasonturkey.jpg

Spring firearm and archery: Early April to mid-May.
Fall Black Hills turkey: October through December in prairie units.
Early October to mid-October in the Black Hills. (Some units have special seasons.)

Range and Habitat

Wild turkeys are found statewide in varying densities. In the eastern portion of the state, turkeys prefer the woods and brushy hillsides of rivers as well as tree belts.

In the western portion of the state, cottonwood river bottoms, creeks and cedar-covered slopes provide ideal turkey habitat.

turkeymap2.gifThe main turkey habitat is found in the Black Hills, where hunters have access to 1.2 million acres of public lands in the national forest.

Non-resident hunters may hunt the Black Hills, where licenses are unlimited and hunters may hunt statewide, except for several east river counties closed for Eastern turkey reintroduction.

More information about turkey hunting. (GFP)

Turkey Hunting Tips

  • Walk ridge tops, use locator calls.
    Black Hills spring turkey hunters walk ridge tops using locator calls to pinpoint gobblers. 
  • Permission needed for private land.
    Acquire permission when prairie turkey hunting since most land is private. 
  • Late season hunting is often better.
    Hunting spring turkeys late in the season is often better. Hens begin nesting later and gobblers begin wandering, making them more susceptible to calls. 
  • Combine your hunts.
    Combining fall turkey hunting with other fall seasons creates an exciting hunt.
    Prairie turkeys frequently use the same roost repeatedly, whereas Black Hills turkeys sometimes switch roosts, but generally roost on east-facing slopes. 
  • Camouflage and calling.
    Spring turkey hunters rely on camouflage and calling to lure birds into shotgun range. Always identify your target before shooting.