Spring turkey hunting May 1-31 with online reporting required

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s regular spring turkey hunting season is May 1-31, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is reminding hunters that they must report their turkeys on the department’s website.

“Successful turkey hunters are reminded to not travel to big game checking stations to report their birds or to even get them weighed this spring,” said Mark Scott, the department’s director of wildlife. “The department would like to know the estimated weight of any birds harvested, but accurate weights are not necessary. We want everyone to stay healthy and safe.”

A successful turkey hunter must by law report their turkey within 48 hours to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. In the past, this could be done at a local reporting station. This year, because of COVID-19 precautions, hunters are required to report their turkey electronically through the department’s website www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

“Online reporting has been used successfully in other states,” said turkey biologist Chris Bernier. “It is convenient for the hunter, and the information collected has proven to be just as valuable for monitoring and managing wild turkey populations. Most important now, we need to offer this online reporting option because of COVID-19 and our responsibility to promote appropriate social distancing practices.”

The information needed to report turkeys online is the same as what has been traditionally collected at check stations including license, tag and contact information, harvest details, and biological measurements.

There are a few things hunters can do in advance to make submitting a report easier such as having their Conservation ID Number handy, knowing what town and Wildlife Management Unit the bird was harvested in, and completing all the necessary measurements such as beard and spur lengths and weight. Although not required, the department also requests that hunters use the online reporting tool to upload a digital photo showing the bird’s beard and properly tagged leg. Hunters who provide a valid email address will receive a confirmation email when they successfully submit a turkey harvest report using this new online reporting tool.

The department encourages anyone who experiences problems reporting through the online tool to contact a local State Police dispatcher to be connected with a State Game Warden for harvest reporting assistance.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department urges hunters to hunt only if they are healthy, hunt close to home, travel and go out alone or with a family member you are already in close contact with. If you do hunt with someone you do not already live with, take separate vehicles to your hunting location and make sure to maintain at least six feet between both of you. Only share a hunting blind with someone you have been in continuous close contact with for the past two weeks, and be sure to carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face. Remember to wash your mouth calls after handling, request landowner permission by phone, and maintain appropriate social distancing from others while afield.

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