The Division of Fish & Wildlife will be accepting spring turkey hunting applications through February 22, and award notifications are slated to start Monday, February 28.

Talking turkeys when predicated where you are in southern New Jersey, there is still anywhere from four to 12-plus inches of snow still blanketing the fields and woodlands?

You bet!

While passing through the Buena area this morning what did we see but several loose groups of turkeys...hens, gobblers and jakes, poking around through the shallow areas of snow and, well, getting ready for the love season antics that will get underway, as per the calendar, in six or seven weeks, going full tilt by early-to-mid April.

Oh, yeah. Springtime is on the way!

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.
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However, if the itch is there scratch it, and this was evinced by a tom in strut. First one, then another. Even the teenager jakes looked like they were getting a bit feisty.

With an ever-increasing period of daylight, the biological urge to merge is percolating, calendar and snow notwithstanding. The sighting “spurred” us to do the online application thing, as we have an area to hunt in that particular Turkey Hunting Area (THA), but, with Saturdays the primary option (Period E) and the demand high, well, instinct took over.

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Make no mistake: the turkeys you’ll be seeing now and through March won’t be acting the same once the mating season commences. No use trying to pattern movements, but still fun to see them out and about prepping, however gradually, for the April-May lust-fest.

Leftover and/or unclaimed permits will be available for purchase starting 10 am Monday, March 25.

TSM, Tom P.
TSM, Tom P.
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The hunting periods are as follows.

Period A: April 25-29; Period B: May 2-6; Period C: May 9-13; Period D: May 16-20 and May 23-27. Period E (Saturdays): April 30, May 7, 14, and 21.

Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to noon except Period D, and also Saturday, May 21, when it’s a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.

Applications ($2, non-refundable/no exchanges) are available at license issuing agents (review pages 16-17 in the 2021-22 Hunting & Trapping Digest) or online at njfishandwildlife.com. The Turkey Hunting Area map can be viewed on Page 51 in the Digest, and also online at the aforementioned address.

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