Turkey hunters in eight southeastern Oklahoma counties will finally get their chance in the woods Monday when spring turkey season opens in Atoka, Coal, Pittsburg, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pushmataha and Choctaw counties.
Spring turkey season – which opened April 6 in the rest of the state – was delayed until April 23 this year in southeastern Oklahoma in an attempt to rebuild the dwindling turkey populations there.
State wildlife officials say the population of the Eastern sub-species of turkeys, which inhabit the forests of southeastern Oklahoma, has almost been cut in half in the last seven years.
The decline is primarily due to inclement weather at the worst time of the year: drought and flooding during spring nesting seasons.
The hope is that closing the first half of turkey season in southeastern Oklahoma will keep nesting undisturbed and help rebuild the population.
Spring turkey season ends statewide on May 6. The spring youth turkey season is Saturday and Sunday in those eight southeastern Oklahoma counties.