Mission: Ensuring healthy and sustainable wild turkey populations throughout the state, while providing and promoting compatible uses of the resource.
One of the most coveted and sought-after game species in Florida is the Osceola turkey, also known as the Florida turkey. This unique bird is one of five subspecies of wild turkey in North America.
The Osceola lives on the Florida peninsula and nowhere else in the world, making it extremely popular with out-of-state hunters. It's similar to the eastern subspecies (found in the Panhandle) but tends to be a bit smaller and typically a darker shade with less white barring on the flight feathers of its wings.
The white bars on the Osceola are more narrow, with an irregular, broken pattern, and they don't extend to the feather shaft. It's the black bars of the Osceola that actually dominate the feather. In conjunction, secondary wing feathers also are darker. When the wings are folded across the back, the whitish triangular patch formed is less visible on the Osceola. Osceola feathers also show more iridescent green and red colors, with less bronze than the eastern.
The National Wild Turkey Federation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognize, in their respective turkey registry programs, any wild turkey harvested within or south of the counties of Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Union, Bradford, Clay and Duval, to be the Osceola subspecies. Eastern turkeys and hybrids are found north and west of those counties in the Panhandle.
If you harvest a turkey with an 11-inch beard or longer and at least 1¼-inch spurs, you can get your name listed in the FWC's Wild Turkey Registry by applying for an "Outstanding Gobbler Certificate." There's also a "First Gobbler Certificate" awarded to hunters under age 16 who harvest their first gobbler, regardless of beard or spur measurements.
View more information on the Wild Turkey Registry, including the complete listing, the current top 10 birds and applications for both certificates.