Wild turkey season opens

Published 4:21 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Wild turkey hunting season has started for Chilton County. As with any other hunting seasons, wild turkey season has specific dates and restrictions that have to be followed to legally bag the feathered fowl. March 25- May 8 is open season for wild turkey in Chilton County. Throughout Alabama, there are different zones that determine the hunting season for the area. A special preview weekend specifically for youth was available the weekend before the season officially started.

Brian Jones, local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter president and owner of Clanton Outdoors, said Chilton County “is a good county to turkey hunt in” because of the size of the population of Eastern wild turkeys here.

Shotguns and bows are allowed for hunting wild turkeys, but the vast majority prefer to hunt with a shotgun, he said. A 12- gauge shotgun with a choke specifically designed for turkey hunting is used most often. Specialized ammunition is also used.

“It is really trial and error,” Jones said. “A lot of people learn from someone that they have hunted with — a hunting partner, a hunting buddy, dads, grandads, uncles.”

Jones learned from his father.

“My dad started taking me turkey hunting when I was like 10 years old,” Jones said. “You learn the ropes by somebody who has hunted before.”

He has enjoyed it because it is an opportunity to “be out in nature” and more interactive than deer hunting.

“Turkey hunting I enjoy more than deer hunting,” Jones said. “It is a lot more interactive sport with the animal because you’re calling, and they are calling back to you. You are very interactive with the turkey while you are hunting. In deer hunting a lot of times, you are just sitting and waiting.”

However, this interactivity can also make turkey hunting difficult.

“You have to learn how to do a few turkey calls, and you’ve got to learn turkey movements,” Jones said.

Turkey calls are made using specialized equipment — mouth calls or friction calls.

“(Turkeys) have very good eyesight, and they can hear very well for a wild animal, so getting close to them is tough,” Jones said. “It takes a little time, and you’ve got to be (camouflaged) and learn how to move in the woods and be still.”

Jones said removing the feathers from the turkey “is fairly easy. It’s just like a chicken.”

He said the leg meat of a wild turkey tends to be a bit tough, so not everyone eats it. Breast meat is what everyone eats.

“They taste delicious,” Jones said.

His favorite way to eat the turkey meat is to cut it into nugget-sized portions and cook it in a skillet.

“Usually, I will eat them with a little honey or molasses,” Jones said. “It’s really good.”

Hunters are limited to one gobbler per day in general with additional restrictions in the National Forest. Decoys can be used after day 10 of the season, but there are some additional restrictions depending on where one is hunting, such as the National Forest or other public land. Additional information on restrictions and safety precautions is available at outdooralabama. com/what-hunt/turkey-hunting-alabama.

Editor’s note: This article originally published in “2023 Spring Guide.” Copies are available at The Clanton Advertiser office, 1109 Seventh St. N in Clanton.