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Fall Turkey Season Opens October 25, 2004

October 14, 2004

The 2004 Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Season is scheduled to begin Monday, October 25 and will continue through Saturday, October 30. Hunters need a permit to participate in the season.


Fall is a great time to be outdoors in New Jersey and our colorful foliage rivals that of any New England state. Cooler temperatures and low humidity make participating in outdoor activities even more enjoyable. For the turkey hunter, these conditions are ideal.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife continually monitors wild turkey populations to ensure their continued success and survival. The Division’s Wild Turkey Project Leader reports that although turkey populations were depressed in recent years due to poor - to very poor productivity, preliminary research indicates good to excellent production of young birds (poults) this year.

The rise in productivity can be attributed to the lack of lengthy, cool, rainy periods that were common in 2003. Hunters should expect a much higher density of juvenile birds in the forests and fields this October than in the previous three years.

During the past three years, the total fall turkey harvest was composed of a higher number of adult turkeys than of juvenile turkeys due to poor summer production of poults. This year, biologists predict that a greater number of juvenile birds will be harvested due to the good productivity turkeys are now experiencing. The 2004 fall turkey season should be a great one for sportsmen and women.


Turkey permits are now available for the following Turkey Hunting Areas (THAs): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 at the Pequest, Northern Region, Central Region (Assunpink WMA), Southern Region and Trenton offices. Note that THA 9 has a limited number of permits available (less than 30) and will be sold only at the Northern Region and Pequest offices. Additionally, there are less than five (5) permits available for THA 20 and they will be sold at the Southern Region Office ONLY.

These are permits that were left over after the lottery was held and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Sales will be held weekdays ONLY from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for as long as the supply lasts. Adults interested in purchasing an unclaimed permit must bring their 2004 hunting license along with cash or check for $21 per permit. Youth hunters must bring their youth license, hunter education certificate or previous year’s youth license and cash or check for $12 per permit.

For more information on over-the-counter turkey permit sales see or call the 24-hour computerized permit hotline at 609-292-9192.


Turkey hunting in New Jersey is an extremely safe activity. Successful hunter education programs and low turkey hunter densities help ensure participants will have a safe and enjoyable hunting experience. While hunter orange is not required for hunting turkeys in New Jersey, it is recommended that hunters wear orange when walking through woods in search of flocks, especially since other hunting seasons are open at the same time. Hunters should always understand and follow the regulations in the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest.

Turkey hunting areas 1-11, 20 and 21 are open for hunting. Hunting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Turkey hunters may take only one wild turkey of either sex per permit during the fall season. However, hunters may only take one turkey per day regardless of the number of permits the hunter holds.

Dogs and artificial decoys may be used while turkey hunting during the fall season, however, the use of electronically-operated decoys and electronic calling devices is prohibited. All turkey hunters are required to have a calling device with them while hunting and turkeys may not be hunted by a group of hunters larger than five individuals. Hunters may not attempt to chase or drive turkeys for the purpose of putting them in range of other hunters. However, hunters may rush a flock of turkeys in order to scatter them.

No shot larger than #4 fine shot or smaller than #7½ fine shot can be used. Hunters may not use shotguns larger than 10 gauge or smaller than 20 gauge. Properly licensed hunters may use archery tackle for hunting turkeys. Turkeys may not be hunted within 300 feet of any baited area.

Successful turkey hunters must complete the transportation tag on their fall hunting permit immediately upon killing a turkey and must take the bird to an official wild turkey check station by 7 p.m. on the day it is killed. The hunter who killed the bird is the only person who may transport and check the turkey.


The Wild Turkey Restoration Project represents one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in the history of the state. By the mid-1800s, turkeys had disappeared in New Jersey due to habitat changes and over-exploitation. In 1977 biologists released turkeys captured in other states and as the population grew, biologists and technicians began to live-trap and re-locate birds. Using rocket nets and drop nets, more than 1,500 birds have been trapped and re-located, resulting in healthy populations of wild turkeys throughout most of the state. Even in South Jersey (parts of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland and Gloucester counties) where wild turkeys had been struggling just a few years ago, intensive restoration efforts have improved population numbers significantly.


The Outstanding Garden State Gobbler Records Program is administered by the New Jersey Chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation. For more information, contact your local or state chapter representative at 856-785-0455.


Additional turkey hunting information can be found in the 2004 NJ Wild Turkey Hunting Season Information and Permit Application supplement (pdf, 330kb) and the August hunting issue of the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Digest.


2004 Fall Turkey Permit Availability
Turkey Hunting Tips and Basic Information
Principal Foods for Wild Turkeys
Primary Turkey Range and Public Land in NJ
Spring 2004 Turkey Hunting Season Results

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 14, 2004