Tagging, Transportation & Registration

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Tagging Requirements

New Law 2021 Exemption: Wild turkey harvested in the fall season ONLY do not need to be registered or have a label attached for transport. All wild turkeys harvested in the spring season must still be registered and have a label attached for transport.

Prior to presenting a bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey for registration, a person may not possess or leave that animal in the field or forest unless they have securely attached a plainly visible tag to the animal with their name, address, and license number on the tag.

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Transporting Harvested Animals

A person may not transport a harvested wild animal or bird that they do not lawfully possess, nor may they present for registration, or allow to be registered in their name, any bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey that they did not lawfully kill. Prior to registration, any harvested bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey (harvested in the spring only) in transit must be open to view, meaning that the animal is not concealed and can be readily observed in whole or in part from outside of the vehicle or trailer transporting it. Once an animal or bird has been registered, it may be transported by another person.

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Registration Requirements

A person who kills a bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey (harvested in the spring only) must:

  1. Remain with the animal until it is registered, (with some exceptions – see Time Limits for Registering section).
  2. Present the animal for registration in that person’s name at the first open registration station for that animal on their route.
  3. Leave the registration seal attached until the animal is processed and packaged for consumption.
  4. Pay a fee of $5.00 to register a bear, deer or moose (of which $2 is retained by the agent and $1 is dedicated to a Deer Habitat Enhancement Fund) or $2.00 to register a wild turkey, (harvested in the spring only) all of which is retained by the agent.

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Time Limits for Registration

A person may not keep an unregistered bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey for more than 18 hours after the animal was harvested. This does not apply to wild turkeys harvested in the fall season or an animal that is kept in an official registration station for the animal or at the office of a game warden. A person may exceed the 18-hour limit under special circumstances, but that person must still notify a game warden within 18 hours.

A person on a hunting trip in an unorganized township and staying at a temporary place of lodging may keep an unregistered harvested animal at the temporary place of lodging for no more than 7 days or until that person leaves the woods, whichever comes first.

A person may not possess a bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey that has not been legally registered, except as otherwise provided in the statutes regarding nuisance animals or animals causing damage. Bobcats taken by hunting must be tagged by a MDIFW employee within 10 calendar days of the time they were taken and a tooth and tissue sample must be taken.

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Condition of Animal Presented for Registration

New Law 2021: Prior to registration, bear, deer, and moose may be dismembered for ease of transportation, all edible meat, the head and evidence of sex must be presented for registration. The viscera, hide, lower legs and rib cage, including the ribs, spine and pelvis, are not required to be presented for registration but must be disposed of where they are not visible to a person traveling on a public or private way. Wild turkey must be presented for registration in its entirety, including evidence of sex except that the viscera may be removed.

Bear: Hunters and trappers are required to remove a premolar tooth from the bear they harvest and provide the tooth when they register their bear (instructions available at registration and online). Hunters will be notified of the age of the bear they harvested on the Bear Hunting page of the MDIFW website prior to the start of the next bear hunting season (late August).

Turkey: All radio transmitters must be submitted to MDIFW. Hunters can keep any leg bands or wing tags as long as they have reported them to MDIFW. The fee to register a wild turkey is $2.

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Possession of Gift Bear, Deer, Moose or Wild Turkey

A person may not accept as a gift any part of a bear, deer, moose, or wild turkey unless that animal, or part thereof, is plainly labeled with the name and address of the person who registered it and the year it was registered.

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