Turkeys offer spring hunting opportunities

Just because temperatures are heating up doesn't mean people have to wait until fall to hunt. The Colorado spring turkey season will open soon with plenty of opportunities for hunters to take a tom in Northwest Colorado.

The Colorado spring turkey season runs from April 8 to May 21. That gives people more than a month to get into the mountains to pursue these wary birds. In Colorado hunters are allowed to take one bearded turkey in the spring unless they have a licenses for an unlimited area. A resident over-the-counter turkey license costs $10.25 while a nonresident over-the-counter license is $75.25.

Most people believe a long car ride is necessary before they can get to an area that offers good turkey hunting. Actually, a short car ride to Meeker can offer the chance at turkey hunting. The only hindrance is there are no over-the-counter tags offered in that area.

Anyone who didn't plan ahead to be eligible for a turkey tag in the Meeker area shouldn't be quick to hang up that shotgun. The Rifle area can provide the thrill of going after a big gobbler and licenses for the area are sold over-the-counter. The Rifle area also offers plenty of public land.

Merriams Turkeys are native to Colorado and inhabit the Meeker and Rifle areas.

According to Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) Researcher Rick Hoffman, there are excellent turkey hunting areas in Northwest Colorado with hunting success depending on effort.

"I have always felt that if a person does their homework, they can find a pretty good place to hunt on public land, especially in the Rifle area," said Hoffman.

During the last few years the DOW has seen an increase in the number of people who participate in hunting turkeys. While the number of small game licenses for grouse and pheasant are down, the sale of turkey licenses has been increasing. According to Hoffman, the reason is spring turkey season doesn't compete with any other hunting seasons and turkey hunting offers a challenge equal to big game hunting.

"It's a challenge and an art form like bugling an elk," said Hoffman. "If you know what you're doing you can be successful at it and that can be a real thrill."

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