SEATTLE -- A mild winter could mean decent success in the upcoming spring turkey-hunting season in Washington state.
A winter survey of wild turkeys in the state's eastern game management units showed that populations in several areas are beginning to rebound from two successive severe winters.
The Arden, Haller Creek and Chewelah areas have the highest total counts, number of flocks and average number of turkeys.
With the mild winter, turkeys reportedly were on the move much earlier than normal, and the fields and meadows are turning green with taller grass. Look for gobblers to congregate in those areas.
The vast majority of turkeys are hunted east of the Cascades in Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Lincoln counties. Other notable areas are in the southeast around Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties.
In Western Washington, the best places to find turkeys are Mossyrock, Satsop, Ryderwood, Lincoln, Willapa Hills, Minot Park, Capital Park, Wind River, Klickitat County (around the Columbia River Gorge) and the Klickitat Wildlife Area.
The spring hunt is for male turkeys with visible beards. The general statewide turkey hunting season is open April 15-May 31, a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. A special youth spring turkey season for those under age 16 is April 3-4.
A total of three turkeys may be taken in the spring season with following restrictions: Just two turkeys may be taken in Eastern Washington, and only one of those may be taken in Chelan, Kittitas and Yakima counties (combined); only one turkey may be taken in Western Washington per year. Two turkeys may be taken in Klickitat County.