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California Turkey Hunt

Posted by on March 29, 2015
Opening day and a bird in the bag. The reason I'm wearing black is thgat we're hunting from in a blind, and the dark cloths blend better. I wore full camo when stalking.

Opening day and a bird in the bag. The reason I’m wearing black is thgat we’re hunting from in a blind, and the dark cloths blend better. I wore full camo when stalking.

I’m writing this while tucked away in a small travel trailer sitting on a friends ranch in Northern California. It is the end of the second day of a four day turkey hunt in California, and so far I have two birds in the freezer. Now if you are unfamiliar with Cali’s hunting opportunities you may ask “why go there to hunt”? There are several reasons, the sunshine state has thousands upon thousands of acres of huntable land, a great deal of it open to the public. They also have a pretty broad range of game that can be hunted. But for me it’s because California was one of the first states to embrace airgun hunting. You can hunt any of the small game species, but the real draw is that it one of two states in the country that I know of that permits airguns to be used for turkey! They also have a generous limit of 3 turkey in the gun spring season with a one bird per day limit, and long seasons.

On day two I already have two long beards in the freezer; the first I took with a .22 from a blind and the second with a .30 on a stalk, and I’ll write about these in more detail later. I’ve got two days left to see if I can limit out before returning home. I have been seeing large numbers of birds, easily 50 per day, including some very big toms. The birds I shot are Rio Grande, though I am told there are also  Merriam and hybrids to be found in the area. And the area is beautiful, coastal hills one one side and the Sierra foothils on the other, weather sunny and in the 80’s. It’s a bit on the warm side, but after two years in Minneapolis you wont catch me complaining about warm weather!

If you have ever wanted to hunt turkey with and airgun, head west. My season license and three turkey stamp came to $170.00 and you can find some reasonable priced guide services or do it yourself. If you want to try this and need more information let me know, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. I think this is one of the coolest airgun hunts you can do, and believe it or not, California is the place to go.

8 Responses to California Turkey Hunt

  1. Dana Webb

    Great shooting Jim,yes California is a wonderful place to be an airgun hunter!

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Dana; sorry I missed you while I was out there. Had a great time ….. lots and lots of turkey! My only complaint is I had to pay $162.00 for an out of state license (full price) but it expires in 3 months. The period is June to June, so if you’re an out of stater buy it early and use it often 🙂 . I’m nit picking, great hunting opportunity and the cost is reasonable, especially if you’ll make multiple trips. Remeber you’ll need your license from your home state or a hunter safety card (you need to have the physical card) to buy a license. But once you are in the system you can purchase online.

      • Jester

        Just want to point out, though, that a lot of out-of-state hunters would probably do ok with the 2 -day.

        That’s only about 40 bucks. In an unfamiliar area, take one day non-hunting to get comfortable and make plans. Two days to shoot. Two stamps, two birds if you’re both lucky and good 🙂

        Obviously, you had longer for your trip and a friend who knew the lay of the land.

        • Jim Chapman

          Sounds like a reasonable rule of thumb….. there is nothing better than some local knowledge if you can find it!

  2. Ashif

    Happy to read your new post sir , which gun is this sir and how many shots it gives per long life

  3. Paul J

    Hi Jim, My wife and I met you at the last Extreme Benchrest shoot. We sat at the same table. A couple of questions:
    Could you provide me with some more info on the turkey hunt? Was it guided? The contact info for the guide, if it was guided. Thanks.

    • Jim Chapman

      The hunt I was doing was not a professionally guided one, though the guy I was hunting with knows the area and is a very good turkey hunter. However, he has a friend that is a guide and from what I was told while I was out there he seems quite reasonable and has a lot of excellent land to hunt. I am sitting on a plane returning home from Tokyo as I write this, but I’ll call my friend over the weekend and get a contact for you.

  4. Wayne Reynolds

    Would like to get the contact info also. Would like to do a hunt this fall.

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