Wild Turkey Population
Osceola estimate; Easterns live in the Panhandle; also some hybrids
Estimated 25,290 spring hunters
Number of Licenses Sold Annually
Resident annual hunting license ($17) and turkey permit ($10).
Cost of Resident License and Permit
10-day non-resident hunting license ($46.50) and turkey permit ($125). An annual non-resident hunting license is $151.50.
Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit
Want to kill an Osceola spring gobbler? Florida is your only official option. It's the most narrowly distributed of the wild turkey subspecies, but much sought after despite that. After all, you need one for your Grand Slam.
The so-called intergrade line in northern Florida is widely discussed as the border of demarcation for the Osceola. Conventional thinking through the years, along with biological data, has put Easterns in the Panhandle and Osceolas to the south.
All are wild turkeys, of course. They haunt swamps full of Spanish moss. They roost in piney woods. They favor cattle pastures and go shut-mouthed on feeling pressure. They go where gators lurk. Poisonous snakes. Florida hunts are livelier because of it.
State Highway 70 is the timeworn line of demarcation for Osceola turkey hunters, as Florida annually establishes seasons based on it, with the "south of State Road 70" dates starting two weeks before those in the north. Special youth hunt weekends follow the same spacing, and down south it begins this year in late February.
Fun to hunt? Absolutely.
And what's cool, as a historical detail goes, is the turkey subspecies' name honors 19th century Seminole Indian leader Osceola.