Fall Turkey Season Kicks off October 29 in Pennsylvania

The excitement of turkey hunting doesn’t have to wait for spring.  Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season, an annual opportunity to pursue the state’s only big-game bird among the changing colors of the autumn woods, kicks off Saturday, Oct. 29 in 19 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs.)

The fall season is closed in WMUs 5A, 5C and 5D. For the remaining WMUs the season lengths are as follows: WMUs 1A, 1B, 4A, 4B, 4D and 4E – Oct. 29-Nov. 5; WMU 2B – Oct. 29-Nov. 18 and Nov. 23-25; WMUs 2A, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 4C – Oct. 29-Nov. 12; WMU 2C, 2D & 2E – Oct. 29-Nov. 12 and Nov. 23-25; and WMU 5B – Nov. 1-3. Hunters are advised the three-day Thanksgiving season again will run Wednesday, Thursday and Friday where held.

As a reminder, no single-projectile firearms may be used in the fall turkey seasons. Hunters may use shotguns and archery gear only.

While fall turkey hunters no longer are required to wear fluorescent orange, the Game Commission highly recommends the use of orange, especially while moving.

During the fall season, any turkey – male or female – can be harvested. Female turkeys make up about 60% of the fall harvest.

When turkey populations are below-goal in a given WMU, the fall season length is reduced there to allow more female turkeys to survive to their spring nesting season.

Turkey populations in many WMUs were measured below the management goal. Therefore, in 2021, season length in 15 of the 21 WMUs was shortened, or closed, and the use of single-projectile rifles and handguns was eliminated. The 2021 statewide fall harvest (6,800 turkeys) was 20% lower than 2020. Statewide fall hunter participation (81,500 hunters) was 19% less than 2020.

But things are looking up.

Turkey reproduction in 2021 and 2022 was above average across many WMUs.

“This typically results in larger fall flocks,” said Game Commission wild turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena.

And there’s plenty of spots where hunters can put themselves in good position to take a bird.

“Expect to find turkey brood flocks concentrated on available food sources, such as areas with acorn production or agricultural areas,” Casalena said.

Casalena also encourages hunters to cover a lot of ground to find available food sources. When abundant food is found, determining turkey movement patterns around that food will improve hunter success.

Hunters during fall turkey season share the woods with hunters participating in many other hunting seasons. But fall turkey hunting has proven remarkably safe. 2021 marked the fifth year since 2012 with no hunting related shooting incidents while fall turkey hunting. The other years with no incidents were 2012, 2016, 2018, and 2019.