TENNESSEE (WJHL) — A number of changes are in place for the 2023 spring turkey hunting season, including a new opening date.

According to a release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the spring turkey season opens on April 15–two weeks later than in previous years. The bag limit on turkeys has been reduced from three birds to two, and only one bird can be a juvenile or a jake.

The new regulations will be in effect in select Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), according to the release. Hunters are encouraged to check regulations for each WMA they hunt in the 2022-23 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide.

One change that affects all hunting areas is the statewide ban on “fanning” or “reaping” turkeys.

These changes were made by the TN Fish and Wildlife Commission and they aim to benefit the state’s wild turkey population, the release said. The commission began hearing reports of decreasing turkey populations, so the decision to delay the season opening was made to “improve reproduction and nesting success.”

“I expect it to be a good season because we had really high recruitment in 2021, which means there should be a lot of 2-year-old birds in the woods,” said Roger Shields, TWRA Wild Turkey Program Coordinator. “For those people not having the opportunity to hunt in recent years, this could be a good year to get back in the woods.”