MONTPELIER — The state is contemplating changes to how hunters report the turkeys they shoot during the approaching season.

The Fish & Wildlife Department stated earlier this week that it’s evaluating alternatives to in-person reporting, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing guidelines and orders issued by the state. It stated that Fish & Wildlife would release more information before the opening of turkey season.

Youth spring turkey hunting opens April 25 and 26 with the regular spring season running May 1 through May 31.

Last year, turkey hunters shot 5,496 turkeys between the two spring seasons. Of those, 579 were shot during the youth season.

To participate in the youth weekend, a hunter must be 15 years old or younger, have completed a hunter education course, and possess a turkey hunting license with a free youth tag. Landowner permission is required to hunt on private land during the youth weekend. Young hunters have to be accompanied by an adult with a valid hunting license. Shooting hours in the youth season are half an hour before sunrise until 5 p.m. Youth can take one bearded turkey during the youth season and two bearded turkey during the regular May season.

Shooting hours for the regular season are half an hour before sunrise to noon. The bag limit is two bearded turkeys.

Shotguns and archery equipment can be used to hunt turkeys in either season. Shot size must be between #2 and #8.

“Beyond the simple joy of sharing an outdoor adventure of this sort with a young friend, experienced hunters can take satisfaction in knowing they’ve introduced these youngsters to some of the most exciting and rewarding hunting the state has to offer,” said Chris Bernier, wild turkey biologist at the Department of Fish & Wildlife. “Coupled with the thrill of ‘talking’ to a gobbler, the typically high success rates turkey hunters achieve and the often pleasant spring weather they experience, the youth turkey hunt is one of the best ways to introduce youths to the benefits of a life-long pursuit of hunting.”

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