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Drought may mean fewer turkeys for spring hunting season

Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 21:11:07-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — During the turkey hunting season last fall, our dry stretch of weather was just beginning.

Now with the spring turkey season about to begin, we're in the middle of a drought. If you're gearing up to hunt some turkeys, be prepared to work a little harder to find your targets.

April 2 is opening day for the spring turkey season in Central Texas. More specifically, turkey hunting is allowed in counties along and west of I-35. Some hunters aren't wasting any time getting out in the wild.

"We'll drive tomorrow and hunt Sunday and Monday," said hunter Bill Daly.

But finding good game may require some strategy, since fewer turkeys are expected to be roaming the countryside this spring. With drought gripping the state, it's been harder for the birds to reproduce.

"If the egg becomes too dry, it'll actually drop what's called the 'air cell' in the egg, and it'll suffocate the embryo," said hunter Douglas Lynn.

The dry conditions have also stunted the growth of the plants that turkeys eat, leaving them to look for other food sources.

"A lot of the birds in Texas, fortunately, get fed by land owners and property owners," said Lynn. "They have turkey feeders."

That means a successful hunt will require some planning and perhaps a little more luck than usual.

"I would say do your homework. Go out and scout," Lynn said. "Scout diligently on the property that you're selecting to hunt."

Lynn noted that when he went hunting for turkeys years ago during a drought in New Mexico, he had the best luck finding the birds by setting up near a water source.

Despite the setbacks, some hunters say they're not in it for the numbers, but for the quality time spent in nature.

"Most of it to me is getting out in God's creation and, you know, actually harvesting a critter is icing on the cake but it's good fellowship with some good friends," said Daly.

The spring season is unique because it allows turkey hunting in a few counties in East Texas, which may be a good option if you don't want to stay local.

Texas Parks and Wildlife wants to remind hunters to be mindful of bag limits and tagging rules. You can find more information on state hunting zones, regulations and season dates by visiting

The spring hunting season comes to a close in Central Texas on May 15, and hopefully by then we'll have made some progress in erasing the rain deficit.