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Turkey Hunting in New Jersey

New Jersey



Wild Turkey Population


Turkey Subspecies


Number of Licenses Sold Annually


Firearms hunting, $27.50; turkey permit, $21

Cost of Resident License and Permit


Firearms hunting, $135.50; turkey permit, $21

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: NE_eastern_11

Photo by Bruce MacQueen

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. Low hunter density is an upside for Northeastern turkey hunters, though (9,373 Spring 2023 licenses). And public-land opportunities exist for folks to take one spring turkey per permit (lottery drawing, followed by over-the-counter sales). Hunters took 2,545 turkeys during Spring 2023.

Historical insights from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection include: The Division's 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 killing for food. Division biologists, in cooperation with the New Jersey Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, reintroduced wild turkeys in 1977 with the release of 22 birds. In 1979, biologists and technicians began to live-trap and relocate birds to establish populations throughout the state. By 1981, the population was able to support a spring hunting season, and in December 1997, a limited fall season was initiated. Turkeys are now abundant throughout the state, with birds found wherever there is suitable habitat. In southern Jersey, where turkeys had been struggling just a few years ago, intensive restoration efforts have improved population numbers significantly. The statewide population is now estimated at 20,000.

Hotspots include the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Pine Barrens region, Wharton State Forest, Belleplain State Forest and Peaslee Wildlife Management Area. Southern New Jersey turkey hunting areas typically hold higher turkey populations.

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