Wild Turkey Hunting

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Anyone who possesses a big game firearm license or archery license may obtain a combination spring/fall wild turkey permit. A small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

Landowner Privileges

The following laws and regulations are specific to spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons. Hunters must also comply with all other applicable fish and wildlife laws. Any private landowner is eligible to hunt wild turkeys on their own land without a turkey hunting permit if:

1. That person owns a particular piece of land that is 25 or more contiguous acres in size and is located within the turkey hunting zone designated for the season that they wish to hunt;

2. That person is permanently domiciled on that land;

3. The land is managed for the raising and selling of dairy cattle, dairy products, or beef cattle; and

4. The land is open to hunting including hunting by permission only.

Any family member permanently domiciled on that land is also eligible to hunt wild turkeys on that land without a permit. (Family member means any family member, including spouse, grandchildren, etc. who resides on the property). A landowner must provide proof of eligibility if requested by an agent of the commissioner.

All other standard reporting and tagging procedures are required. Turkey may be taken during any open week of the season. Landowners are allowed a bag limit of up to 2 bearded wild turkeys in the spring season and up to 5 wild turkeys of either sex in the fall season. Please check the WMD in which you are hunting as some are closed, and others have bag limits varying anywhere from 1, up to 5 turkeys.

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Tagging, Transportation, and Registration

Wild Turkey to be Tagged

Any person killing a wild turkey shall immediately and securely attach it, a plainly visible tag bearing his/her full name, address and license number. A gift turkey must be labeled with the name and address of the person who registered it and the year the turkey was registered.

Wild Turkey Transportation

Any wild turkey being moved or transported in any manner must have a tag securely attached, and it must be accompanied by the person who killed it. Unless the wild turkey has been legally registered, no person shall keep a wild turkey at his/her home or at any place of storage (except at the official registration station or at the office of a Maine Game Warden) for more than eighteen (18) hours without first notifying a game warden.

Wild Turkey Registration

All wild turkeys taken by hunters shall be presented for registration within 18 hours at one of the registration stations established for that purpose. At registration, the entire turkey, except the viscera, must be presented, and 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 $2.00.

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Wild Turkey Hunting Prohibitions

No person may:

  1. Employ the use of a dog or dogs in any manner while hunting turkey except during the fall season;
  2. Engage in an organized drive of any manner;
  3. Use bait;
  4. Use a trap or other device intended or designed to capture or ensnare wild turkeys;
  5. Shoot a turkey while it is in a tree;
  6. Present a wild turkey for registration, or allow to be registered in his or her name, any wild turkey which he/she did not lawfully kill;
  7. Hunt wild turkeys within a WMD which is closed to hunting wild turkeys.
  8. Possess any part or parts of a wild turkey unless each part is plainly labeled with the name and address of the person who registered the turkey, and the year it was registered;
  9. Buy, sell, offer for sale or barter, or aid someone in buying, selling, or offering for sale or barter, any wild turkey (except the plumage of legally taken turkeys).
  10. Hunt or register a wild turkey during the spring season after having killed or registered two turkeys.
  11. Hunt or register a wild turkey during the fall season after having killed or registered five turkeys.

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Attention Turkey Hunters

The Department is collaborating with the University of Maine on a research project to better understand the population dynamics of wild turkeys. As part of this research we will be marking wild turkeys using leg bands, wing tags and back pack style radio transmitters in a number of areas throughout the state. If you shoot a turkey with a band or transmitter, please report it using the contact information printed on the bird's leg band or radio transmitter.

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Wild Turkey Legal Hunting Hours

Legal hunting time is from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

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Wild Turkey Licensing, Permit, General Bag Limits and Who May Hunt

License & Permit

The spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons are open to all hunters with valid big or small game hunting licenses. A combination spring/fall wild turkey permit is also required and available for $20, plus agent fee.

Who May Hunt

The turkey hunter must possess the spring/ fall wild turkey permit and their hunting license at all times while hunting. A person may assist in a hunt without a license or permit for that activity as long as that person does not carry a firearm, archery or crossbow equipment (means to kill).

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Spring Wild Turkey Hunting

The spring wild turkey hunting season is open statewide.

Equipment

  • Shotgun: A person can use shotgun gauges 10 through 20, using shot sizes 4 through 6 or mixed loads that include shot sizes 4 through 7. In addition, shotgun gauges 10 through 28, including .410, may be used with shot sizes 7 through 9 in Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). A person must possess a valid big or small game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid archery license, and a turkey permit.
  • Crossbow: A crossbow may be used to hunt wild turkeys during the spring wild turkey hunting season. A person hunting with a crossbow must possess either a valid big or small game firearms hunting license or an archery license as well as a turkey permit and crossbow permit. (A person must have taken an archery and crossbow hunting education course or show proof that they have previously held an archery and crossbow hunting license prior to purchasing their crossbow permit).
  • Dogs: It is unlawful to hunt with dogs during the spring wild turkey season.
  • Electronic Calling Devices: The use of electronic calling devices is legal.

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Fall Wild Turkey Hunting

Equipment

  • Shotgun: A person can use shotgun gauges 10 through 20, using shot sizes 4 through 6 or mixed loads that include shot sizes 4 through 7. In addition, shotgun gauges 10 through 28, including .410, may be used with shot sizes 7 through 9 in Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). A person must possess a valid big or small game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid archery license, and a turkey permit.Crossbow: Only hunters 65 years of age and older and those with a crossbow disability permit may use a crossbow (valid hunting license and turkey permit also required).
  • Electronic Calling Devices: The use of electronic calling devices is legal.
  • Dogs: Use of dogs is legal to hunt wild turkey during the fall season.
    Note: The fall shotgun wild turkey season involves tactics that are different from the "sit and call" approach, and hunters are reminded to use extreme caution while hunting.

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2019-2020 Wild Turkey Seasons and Bag Limits

Season Dates Bag Limit
Fall Wild Turkey
(bow and arrow or shotgun)
All dates are inclusive except that hunting is prohibited on Sunday.
Wildlife Management Districts 15-17, 20-25
September 16 - November 7, 2019
5 Wild Turkeys, either sex, any age*
Wildife Management District 26
September 16 - November 7, 2019
3 Wild Turkeys, either sex, any age*
Wildlife Management District 28
September 16 - November 7, 2019
2 Wild Turkeys, either sex, any age*
Wildlife Management Districts 10-13, 18-19, 27, and 29
September 16 - November 7, 2019
1 Wild Turkey, either sex, any age*
Wildlife Management Districts 1-9, 14 Closed to taking of Wild Turkeys
Youth Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Day
September 14, 2019
May take up to 2 Wild Turkeys of any sex or age, without exceeding a WMD bag limit that has a 1-bird limit.
* May take up to five wild turkeys for the fall season, but cannot exceed an individual WMD bag limit, the order in which they are taken does not matter. No more than two wild turkeys may be harvested per permit holder per day.
Spring Wild Turkey
(bow and arrow, crossbow or shotgun)
Wildlife Management Districts 7, 9-29
All hunters: May 4 - June 6, 2020
2 bearded Wild Turkeys**
Wildlife Management Districts 1-6 and 8
All hunters: May 4 - June 6, 2020
1 bearded Wild Turkey**
Youth Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Day
May 2, 2020
May take up to 2 bearded Wild Turkeys from WMD's that have a 2-bird limit.
** May take up to 2 turkeys for the spring season, but an individual WMD bag limit cannot be exceeded. The order in which they are taken does not matter.

See Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment for information on the use of crossbows.

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