Wild Turkey Hunting

The 2024 spring wild turkey hunting season will run from April 13 through May 11, 2024. A special one-day hunt for youth and non-ambulatory hunters is set for April 6, 2024.

Resident and non-resident hunters aged 13 and older must have a valid Delaware Hunting License and pass a turkey hunting course approved by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife before they can legally hunt turkeys in Delaware.

There is no Sunday hunting of turkeys. The bag limit is one turkey per year. Bearded turkeys only.

Turkey hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m.

All turkeys must be checked at an authorized turkey check station by 2:30 p.m. on the day the bird is harvested.

The 2023 Wild Turkey Hunting Season

A total of 785 wild turkeys were harvested during the 2023 season, a 37 percent increase over the previous year. This is also a Delaware turkey harvest record-high since the season was initially opened in 1991, and an 11 percent increase over the previous record set in 2016.

The 2023 season ran from April 8 to May 6, 2023, with a special hunt day on April 1 for youth and non-ambulatory hunters.

Harvest by Turkey Management Region

Delaware is divided into four wild turkey management regions, made up of 18 wildlife management zones.

Nearly half (47.3%) of harvested wild turkeys in 2023 (371 birds) were taken in the interior region, which runs along the western side of the state from the C and D Canal south to the Seaford area.

The Southern region, most of interior Sussex County, yielded 267 birds (34%).

One hundred twenty wild turkeys, (15.3% of the harvest) were taken from the Bayshore region.

The northern region, above the canal, yielded a harvest of 11 birds (1.4%).

Public Land vs. Private Land

Chart of turkey harvest by land ownership in 2023.Those hunting on private land were allowed to hunt on all 25 days of the season. Those hunting on public land were selected through a preseason lottery to hunt during one of four week-long season segments.

Most wild turkeys harvested in 2023 (643 – 82%) were taken from private lands, while the remaining birds were harvested on public lands.

The harvest of 135 turkeys (17% of the total) taken from public lands was greater than the previous year by 36 turkeys and is also an all-time record harvest.

The top four public lands areas for harvesting a wild turkey in 2023 were Redden State Forest, Norman G. Wilder Wildlife Area, Midlands Wildlife Area, and Milford Neck Wildlife Area respectively.

2023 Youth and Non-ambulatory Person Hunt

On April first, 33 wild turkeys were harvested during Delaware’s annual hunt day for youth and non-ambulatory persons. This one-day harvest event was up slightly from 2022’s 28 birds and is likely another all-time record high harvest.