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Spring turkey hunting outlook looking good for 2022, similar to 2021

Another mild winter across much of the state has Fish and Game biologists optimistic about what to expect for this year’s spring turkey hunt.

“I expect to see a good number of two-year old toms to chase this spring. Pattern your shotguns and tune up your calls, gobbles are already echoing through the hills,” said Don Jenkins, Natural Resource Program Coordinator. “However, drought conditions last summer may have affected poult production in localized areas resulting in fewer jakes available for harvest in those areas.”

Youth turkey season opens April 8, and the general turkey season and many controlled hunts open April 15. Hunters can see which units have general hunts in Fish and Game's turkey hunting rules, in addition to details about the seasons.

Hunters will find most general hunting opportunity in the Panhandle, Clearwater, Southwest and Southeast regions, while most other areas are limited to controlled hunts. In each of the regions with general hunting opportunity, turkey populations are faring well, and the hunting outlook is as good as or better than recent years.

“Idaho provides some of the highest turkey hunting success rates in the country,” said Jeff Knetter, Fish and Game Upland Game & Migratory Bird Coordinator. “Abundant turkeys and a wide variety of public and private land access make for excellent wild turkey hunting opportunities.”

Fish and Game wildlife managers from each of the state’s seven regions have been monitoring regional turkey populations throughout winter.

Panhandle Region

Despite the low elevation snowfall that occurred relatively early this winter and stuck around for a while, the turkey outlook for the Panhandle Region remains good. During winter, Panhandle turkey populations are often associated with agricultural areas where food is available. Production the last few years has been good and hunters should see plenty of turkeys again this year. 

The highest concentrations of turkeys in the Panhandle can be found in the lower elevations of GMUs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Hunters may want to look toward the lower Priest River and lower Coeur d’Alene River drainages, as well as the lower elevations adjacent to the Kootenai River for higher densities of turkeys. Units 2 and 5 also provide for good opportunities.

Beginning this spring, there will be a new archery turkey hunting opportunity within the Farragut State Park/WMA complex. This archery-only season, which will occur from April 15 – April 30, is only open to the use of archery equipment and all other turkey hunting rules must be followed. There are certain areas within the State Park/WMA that are closed to hunting, so archery hunters should stop by the Farragut State Park visitor center during their normal business hours to learn more information about this opportunity and to pick up a map of the hunting area. 

As always, please remember to respect the land and the landowner, and to ask permission prior to hunting private lands.

Micah Ellstrom - Regional Wildlife Manager, Panhandle

Clearwater Region

The 2022 spring turkey hunting outlook for the Clearwater Region is looking good overall after mild winters the past four years. While too early to tell at this time, over the past few years there has been at or above average production. As a result, turkey numbers this hunting season should be comparable to recent years.

Turkeys are present throughout all forested portions of the Clearwater Region with the highest densities found in and adjacent to the Clearwater River drainage up to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers, the Snake River drainage up to the confluence with the salmon River, the lower Salmon River drainage up to White Bird and the Dworshak Reservoir area. 

Good opportunities for turkey hunting can be found on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area south of Lewiston, state and federal property, private property and corporate timber lands such as the Potlatch Timber Corporation and the Bennett Lumber Company. For information on corporate timberland, visit the company’s website, as well as Fish and Game’s Large Tracts Access Program ( which provides public access to thousands of acres of private timber land.

Mark Shepard - Regional Wildlife Technician, Clearwater

Southwest Region – Nampa

The turkey outlook in the Nampa subregion of the Southwest Region is good. Winter conditions have been mild in the valley and we anticipate a good overwinter survival in Units 38 and 39.

The region has similar hunting opportunities in 2022 as it did in 2021. Unit 38 again has general youth opportunity and two controlled hunt opportunities with 100 tags each. The primary limitation in Unit 38 continues to be access to private property where most turkeys reside. We ask hunters to be respectful of landowners and to always ask permission before hunting on private property.

Unit 39 harvest and success rates were stable in 2021. Turkeys follow the spring green up to higher elevations as weather conditions warm which should make turkeys available on public lands by opener.

Unit 33 harvest increased slightly in 2021 but was near the 3-year average. Early season turkey opportunity is typically limited to private lands along the Middle Fork of the Payette. As the weather improves birds will move up onto public ground.

Ryan Walrath - Regional Wildlife Manager, Southwest

Southwest Region – McCall

The mild winter resulted in good turkey survival in hunting units 22, 31, 32 and 32A.  Recent turkey counts along Highway 71 indicate the population is relatively stable following the shift to fall general hunts in 2020. 

Units 22, 31, 32A and 23 all have general spring turkey hunts, as does a portion of Unit 32. Field reports suggest turkeys moved up in elevation early this year, as snow has already melted off at lower elevations.

Motorized travel is restricted on Andrus WMA until May 1, but walk-in hunting is welcome. In addition, there is turkey hunting available on Access Yes! properties near Cambridge, Indian Valley, and New Meadows.

Regan Berkley - Region Wildlife Manager, Southwest

Magic Valley Region

The Magic Valley has limited turkey hunting opportunities, and only controlled hunts are available for turkey hunting in Unit 54. Turkeys are primarily found on or near Big Cottonwood Wildlife Management Area. Turkeys follow the snow line up in elevation as spring progresses and are more widely distributed later in the hunting season. This turkey population has declined in recent years due to a combination of several hard winters, poor spring nesting conditions, summer drought and two large wildfires. 

Turkey tag numbers were reduced in 2022 in response to the decline in this turkey population. However, in February 2022, 36 turkeys were translocated from Pocatello to bolster the turkey population and hunting opportunity in Unit 54.

Jake Powell - Regional Wildlife Manager, Magic Valley

Southeast Region

Winter conditions were below average this year, and as such, overwinter survival is expected to be high. Drought conditions this past summer could have negatively impacted chick survival, however Fish and Game did not measure drought impacts. 

Hunters should expect similar to slightly increased turkey numbers compared to last spring when hunter success rates and total harvest declined compared to prior years. Much of the snowfall this past winter arrived in December, and since that time very little snow has accumulated. However, colder temperatures have delayed snowmelt in some areas, so hunters might expect slightly different distributions of birds this spring.

Hunters will find turkeys in hunting Units 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 77 and 78. Highest concentrations of turkeys are found on the western sides of the Bear River and Portneuf mountain ranges. Other portions of the region have more sporadic and patchy distributions of turkeys. Many are associated with private lands, and hunters are urged to be respectful of private properties and landowners when pursuing turkeys.

Zach Lockyer - Regional Wildlife Manager, Southeast

Salmon Region

With mild winter conditions, the Salmon region is seeing good overwinter turkey survival. Winter population counts showed stable to growing populations in both the Challis and Salmon areas. Currently, all turkey hunting in the Salmon Region is regulated through controlled hunts for both the spring and fall seasons. However, as a result of growing turkey populations we are excited to offer increased tag numbers this year.

We have increased the number of tags allocated in all of the Salmon area spring and fall controlled hunts. In addition hunters will enjoy a longer 21A-1 fall season this year. As this population continues to grow and will hopefully result in increased hunter opportunity in years to come.

The majority of birds will be found on private lands, and hunters are encouraged to get permission from landowners prior to applying for hunts. With this expansion in turkey populations, we are starting to see more birds on public land, but we still want everyone to know it is primarily a private land hunt at this time.

Dennis Newman - Regional Wildlife Manager, Salmon

Upper Snake Region

The Upper Snake Region has a small population of turkeys, mainly along the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake River. Turkeys are limited to controlled hunts for both the spring and fall seasons in the region with opportunities for youth only hunts. Winter 2021-22 was normal to slightly below average for most of the region. Hunters will likely find most turkey hunting opportunities at lower elevations at the beginning of the season, but expand as snow recedes and as spring progresses.

Hunters should expect to see a slightly increased turkey populations in the region, with anticipated success rates being stable. The region has a lot of private property along the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake River, so be sure to ask first to hunt on private land.

Randy C. Poole Sr. - Region Wildlife Technician, Landowner Sportsman Coordinator, Upper Snake