SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Start thinking about next year’s Thanksgiving turkey today. The Department of Wildlife Resources can help you avoid the crowds and wrestling over that perfect Butterball, with a permit to harvest your own.

Permit applications for the Spring 2024 limited-entry turkey hunt will open at 8 a.m. on Dec. 12. and will close at 11 p.m. on Dec. 27. Applications can be submitted online or by calling your nearest DWR regional office. Drawing results will be released no later than Jan. 10, 2024. Applicants will receive notice by email or can check their application status online or by calling 800-221-0659.

Limited entry hunt dates are April 13-25. 2024. The following number of permits are available for each turkey hunt region.

  • Northern Utah: 360
  • Central Utah: 275
  • Northeastern Utah: 200
  • Southeastern Utah: 200
  • Southern Utah: 450

If you are unsuccessful for a limited entry permit, you can still hunt the big Toms next spring during the general statewide turkey hunt in May. There is no limit on general season permits, but each hunter can only obtain one permit. General season permits go on sale on March 5 at 8 a.m. and can be purchased over the counter at participating licensing agents or online.

There are currently nearly 30,000 wild turkeys in Utah. With hunts in the Spring and Fall. Spring hunts are typically opportunity hunts that help manage populations. Fall hunts usually target nuisance or depredation areas and are not available in all parts of the state.

There are two turkey subspecies in Utah: the Rio Grande and Merriam’s. until the 1950’s established turkey populations hadn’t been seen in Utah in over one hundred years. Except for a failed reintroduction in the 1920s, no records exist of turkeys being in Utah from the time Europeans started exploring the state to the successful reintroduction of the birds in the 1950s.

According to the DWR during the 1950s, biologists with the Utah Department of Fish and Game (the agency’s name was changed to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in 1967) successfully released Merriam’s wild turkeys in Utah that had been obtained from Colorado and Arizona. These transplants established turkeys in Grand, Garfield, Kane, Iron, and Washington counties. Turkeys from these populations have since been trapped and relocated within the state. 

You can find more information about Utah’s spring turkey hunting seasons in the 2023-24 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook is available on the DWR website, or you can pick up a copy at a DWR office or from hunting and fishing license agents across Utah