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December 6, 2012

Some wild turkey hunts are still open

By Niels Nokkentved, IDFG

   There's still time to bag a wild turkey for Christmas dinner. Though many fall wild turkey hunts have closed, others are open through the middle or end of December.

   A fall general season is open through Dec. 15 in Game Management Units 1, 2 (except Farragut State Park and Farragut WMA) 3, 4, 4A, 5 and 6. The fall general season also is open through Dec. 31 in units 8, 8A, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 18. This hunt is open on private lands only - please remember to ask permission to hunt on private land.

   Turkey hunters need a valid Idaho hunting license and turkey tag. A general fall turkey tag costs $19.75. A special unit tag, valid in the fall in units 1, 2, 3 and 5, costs $5.

   Wild turkeys are not native to Idaho but were transplanted here beginning in 1961. Since then, more than 150 translocations have been conducted statewide.

   Three turkey subspecies have been introduced to Idaho. More than 90 percent are the Merriam's wild turkey. Others are the Rio Grande wild turkey and the Eastern wild turkey.

   The Merriam's wild turkey was the first subspecies introduced to Idaho, and it has been by far the most successful. This bird is widely distributed in the mountains of the Pan-handle, Clearwater and Southwestern regions.

   The Rio Grande wild turkey was introduced in 1982. This subspecies is present in small numbers in riparian areas along the Snake, Boise, Payette and Weiser rivers.

   The Eastern wild turkey has been introduced to a few sites near Dworshak Reservoir, and some birds may still be found there. Hybrids occur in many areas of the state.

   General turkey hunting safety rules include:

  Positively identify your target.

  Assume every noise and movement is another hunter.

  Never stalk a turkey or turkey sound.

  Don't wear red, white or blue.

  Protect your back.

  Shout "Stop" to alert approaching hunters.

  Make your position known to other hunters.

  Preselect a zone of fire.

  Choose safe, ethical hunting companions.

  Practice courtesy and self-control at all times.

   All ethical wild turkey hunters support a series of rules to make wild turkey hunting a quality experience. Following these rules will not only help maintain healthy flocks of wild turkeys in Idaho, but will also add to the challenge and excitement of turkey hunting.

   Do not disturb nesting hen turkeys or their nests.

   Though it is legal to shoot a tom out of a roost tree, it is unacceptable among most hunters.

   If you hear another hunter calling a bird, allow that hunter to continue undisturbed and leave the area.

   Ask first to hunt on private land.

   For details on open hunts and rules, check the 2012 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules booklet, available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at: www.fishandgame. idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.