From CDFW:“California’s 2017 general spring wild turkey season opens statewide on March 25 and extends through April 30. The archery-only season will follow immediately afterward, running from May 1-14. Hunters who have a current junior hunting license may also hunt the weekend before the opener (March 18 and 19), and the two weeks following the general season (May 1-14), using shotguns or any other legal method of take.”As stated below, from July 1, 2016 on, non-lead shot is required for the take of wild turkeys. This applies to all federal, state, and private lands. Another commonly unknown ammunition regulation to consider when hunting wild turkeys in California is that according to Fish and Game Code 311 Section 250.1:
(b) Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey. All shot shall be loose in the shell.
So, if you plan on using your leftover waterfowl loads for spring turkey, make sure that you are not using a shot size larger than No. 2, or you will be in violation and could potentially receive a citation.Also, field-tipped arrows are no longer a legal method of take when archery hunting, you must use “broadheads.” Fixed blade, expandable and gobbler guillotine tips are all considered legal broadheads.And remember, shooting hours for Spring wild turkey hunting in California is one half hour before sunrise to 5 pm.
New for 2016/17:
Archery – Field-tipped arrows are no longer a legal method of take for wild turkeys in California. It was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in 2016 that arrows containing “broadheads” will now be required for the take of wild turkeys when hunting with archery equipment. This is due to the potential for high rates of lost or wounded animals with field tips – something that no hunter wants to see. Fixed blade, expandable and gobbler guillotine tips are all considered legal broadheads. NWTF-California testified in front of the commission several times in support of this change.Shotgun – Effective July 1, 2016, nonlead shot will be required when taking upland game birds with a shotgun, except for dove, quail, snipe, and any game birds taken on licensed game bird clubs. In addition, nonlead shot will be required when using a shotgun to take resident small game mammals, furbearing mammals, nongame mammals, nongame birds, and any wildlife for depredation purposes.
New for 2015/16:
Shooting hours – The end shoot time was pushed back from 4pm to 5 pm in the spring turkey season. In 2015 the California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations pushing the end shoot time from 4 pm to 5 pm. This change was created to allow for greater hunting opportunity during the spring season. This regulation change was not widely advertised and many hunters are unaware of the change. This is why we are bringing it back to the forefront. NWTF-California testified in front of the commission several times in support of this change. End shoot time for the Fall season remains at sunset.The 2016 Fall season will begin on Saturday 11/12 and will end on Sunday 12/11. The daily bag limit is 1 turkey, either sex, per day, with a total of 2 turkeys throughout the Fall season. We wish you the best of luck in the upcoming Fall season. Be safe and shoot straight!