Here's a good question for Thanksgiving/holiday season! Wild turkeys in New Jersey: What are we allowed to do with them?

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Deer aren't the only wildlife you may see wandering in your New Jersey backyard! Every now and again, you may see a group of wild turkeys! They're in abundance in New Jersey. A resourceful person might wonder... "What if I could trap one of those turkeys and keep it for dinner?"

Homemade Roasted Thanksgiving Day Turkey
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For this instance, we're talking about wild turkeys that you find wandering on your property - not going out into the woods and tracking/hunting turkeys. This question is for the opportunist who wants to maybe save a few bucks for dinner if dinner just so happens to present itself in close proximity.

Is it Illegal to catch and eat wild turkeys in New Jersey?

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
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The answer is yes and no. But for this specific scenario, the answer is no - you cannot simply catch and eat a wild turkey that you come across in New Jersey at any given time. There are rules and regulations.

"No person shall have in possession, kill, attempt to take, hunt for, pursue, shoot, shoot at, trap, or attempt to trap any wild mammal or wild birds unless an open season for the taking of such birds or mammals has been declared by the New Jersey Fish and Game Laws or Code and then only during the respective open seasons fixed by the New Jersey Fish and Game Laws or Code, except as provided at N.J.A.C. 7:25-5.15(a), (b), and (c)."

In short, you must have a hunting permit in New Jersey to kill a turkey (or any New Jersey game) - and then, you can only hunt during open season.

For information about Wld Turkey Season and Regulations from the New Jersey Department Environmental Protection, click here!


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