Not full? Utah to open applications for upcoming turkey hunts

Turkeys walk around in northern Utah in 2016. Applications for Utah's limited-entry turkey hunt open on Wednesday next week.

Turkeys walk around in northern Utah in 2016. Applications for Utah's limited-entry turkey hunt open on Wednesday next week. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Didn't get your fill of turkey at the table this Thanksgiving? There's an upcoming hunt for that.

Applications for the limited-entry spring turkey hunt are set to go on sale next week, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The division lists 1,952 available permits for the hunt, which is to be carried out between April 9 and April 28, 2022.

Beginning Wednesday, those hoping to snag a permit can apply online (see link below) or call their nearest division office. There are 700 southern region permits, 402 northern permits, 400 central, 250 northeastern and 200 southeastern permits altogether for the upcoming hunt.

The deadline to apply is 11 p.m. on Dec. 27. The division will hold a drawing and the results will be released by Jan. 6, 2022.

Permits for Utah's general statewide turkey hunt will go on sale later in 2022, beginning on Feb. 24 for the hunt that will happen during May 2022.

Turkeys have an interesting history in Utah. While pioneers didn't find them when they arrived in 1847, there are indigenous records that indicate the species is native to the area.

"Based on historical and archeological evidence, it's clear Native Americans and turkeys coexisted in Utah. That evidence includes pictographs, petroglyphs, blankets made from turkey feathers and turkey bones that have been found at places where Native Americans lived historically," said Heather Talley, DWR's upland game coordinator.

State wildlife biologists tried and failed to reintroduce the species in the 1920s. A second attempt 30 years later proved to be successful. The reintroduction program was again enhanced in 1989.

It's estimated there are between 25,000 and 35,000 wild turkeys — including Rio Grande and Merriam's subspecies — in Utah now, according to Talley. She added there were likely some population declines this year as a result of the state's drought, which can impact turkey survival rates, but the population is still believed to be "stable."

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