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Turkey Hunting in Virginia



Not available

Wild Turkey Population


Turkey Subspecies


Number of Licenses Sold Annually


Hunting license, $23; deer/turkey license, $23

Cost of Resident License and Permit

$146 to $196

Nonresident hunting license, $110; nonresident three-day hunting license, $60; nonresident deer/turkey license, $86

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: eastern_9_nation

Photo by Michael Tatman

Virginia has a great turkey hunting tradition, spring and fall. Why? Public land. That’s the real story when it comes to Virginia.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, breeding activity begins in late March and early April. Egg laying starts around the middle of April. Peak nest incubation is normally the first week of May. Hatching occurs 28 days later, often during the first week of June. Peak gobbling in Virginia normally occurs in early May, based on field surveys. Peak gobbling typically coincides with peak nest incubation. Gobbling rates decline as the spring season progresses (tagged birds and hunting pressure are cited as factors).

Yearning for the East Coast’s version of wide-open Western spaces? The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in central Virginia cover more than 1.7 million acres of hunting opportunity, not only for spring gobblers, but for small game, fall turkeys, whitetails, and black bears. Virginia turkey hunters took 24,447 birds during Spring 2023, a new record.

Editor’s Note: Articles about public hunting are always popular with readers, but we’re public-land hunters, too, and we recognize that technology has made it more difficult than ever to keep a great hunting spot secret. With that in mind, we have made some edits to this piece to trim out specific mentions of some public tracts. The information is still out there and easy to find for anyone who wants to do the research, but we’ve decided that with a platform of our size, it’s best not to share all the secrets. — Team Realtree

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