Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Eric Bonneman
St. Augustine, Florida, is a popular destination for turkey hunting. The area offers a variety of habitats for wild turkeys, including pine forests, swamps, and private lands. This diversity of habitats provides opportunities for hunters to pursue birds throughout the spring hunting season.
Spring Turkey in Florida
Florida’s spring turkey hunting season is an excellent opportunity for recreational hunters to participate in the sport. During this period, which takes place from mid-March to late April, hunters can use various methods such as calling, decoying, and still hunting. In St. Augustine, north of State Road 70, the 2023 spring season will open on March 18 and close at the end of April (April 23).
All who wish to hunt turkeys in Florida must obtain a valid hunting license and permit. Additionally, they must familiarize themselves with the state’s regulations outlining restrictions on firearms and ammo use, hunting hours, and decoy/call usage. Hunters must be mindful of these requirements to ensure a successful and enjoyable outdoor time!
When hunting turkey in Florida, camouflage clothing is essential for optimal success. Wear a hat with a brim and face mask for protection and concealment. For comfort and warmth, bring lightweight gloves and waterproof boots to keep you dry throughout the day. If needed, don a light jacket or vest to help ward off the night chill.
Don’t forget to bring bright-colored material while in the field; you may be required to wear it, but even if not, it is always a good idea to have it on hand to throw on in case of emergency or for when you’re done with your hunt – not only will this help differentiate you from other hunters, but it also may meet local safety regulations. Lastly, be wary of any scented products that can alert turkeys; stick to unscented items and follow all safety guidelines for an enjoyable hunt.
Hunting for wild turkeys requires various pieces of equipment. Hunters will need a shotgun or bow, the corresponding ammunition, and, if desired, a turkey call and decoys for extra success on their hunt. Shotguns can use #2 shot size or smaller, and legal pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns propelling a bolt or arrow are all accepted tools for taking turkeys.
Decoys may be used while out in search of these birds; however, recording sounds/calls or hunting over bait and using dogs to flush out the turkeys is not permitted. You should study your local laws to ensure you are familiar with any other regulations that may be enforced before starting your turkey-hunting endeavors.
Tips, Tricks, and Safety
Safety is the highest priority when hunting in the St. Augustine area, whether on public or private lands. The Matanzas Wildlife Management Area alone offers a range of possibilities to those who wish to exercise their rights as hunters by pursuing turkeys. Still, other public lands provide hunting opportunities too.
Another option is to hunt on private land through a lease arrangement with a landowner. You should always stay aware of your surroundings and practice safety by keeping your firearm pointed with the muzzle in a safe direction and wearing brightly-colored clothing as required by law. With these precautions in place, you can ensure that your turkey hunting experiences in the region remain enjoyable and memorable.
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