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Wild Turkey

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Permit required. Official safety sticker must be adhered to firearm such that it is visible to the hunter when sighting down the barrel (typically placed on the tang). If new or replacement sticker is needed, send self-addressed, stamped envelope to any DFW office. Spring hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon. Fall hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except as noted in WMA Reg. #10 (Wildlife Management Area Regulations).

Bag Limit: Annual limit of 2 wild turkeys total, only one turkey may be harvested per day; EITHER (a) 2 bearded birds in spring season (1 per day) with NO fall bird allowed, OR (b) 1 bearded bird in spring season, and 1 bird of either sex in fall season. No hunter may take 2 birds in the fall season. Hunting only with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge or .775 caliber smoothbore muzzleloading shotguns using #4-#7 size shot, and with archery equipment (see ARCHERY General Hunting Regulations). Use of electronic calls, dogs, bait, and driving turkeys is prohibited. Successful hunters must fill out tag attached to permit and immediately (prior to moving) attach it to turkey, and must check/report their harvest within 48 hours by EITHER 1) reporting online and writing the assigned confirmation number on tag attached to turkey (see Massachusetts Gun Laws for details), or 2) bringing the turkey to an official check station.

Young Adult Turkey Hunt Requirements

To participate, Hunter Ed. graduates age 12 to 17 must complete the youth turkey hunt program (details on Outdoor Skills Programs). All past participants MUST complete and mail in the past participant application which can be found at mass.gov/dfw/pastparticipantapp.

Differences Between hens (females) and Toms (males) during the spring hunting season: A small proportion of female turkeys may have a beard and therefore can be legally harvested. However, their loss reduces the reproductive potential of the turkey population. To avoid misidentification, use the following features to accurately identify a tom from a hen.

Photos © Bill Byrne

Tom

Feature

Hen

Red, blue, or white colors with snood

Head

Blue-gray, no snood

Dark, brown-black

Body

Light, rusty brown

Long bristle/filament like beard

Beard

Usually no beard

Present

Spurs

Usually absent

Gobble, drum

Calls

Yelps, clucks, cuts

Strut with tail fanned and wings dropped

Strut

Do not strut, or fan tail

Larger than hen

Size

12 to 23 size of Tom

MIGRATORY Game BIRD REGULATIONS

ALL migratory game bird hunters must complete a Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) Survey for each calendar year. This includes woodcock, rail, snipe, and coot hunters. Complete the survey when you purchase your license, or when you purchase your state waterfowl stamp. A “waterfowl stamp” or a “H.I.P. Survey Completed” notation will appear on your license. A separate H.I.P. survey must be completed for each state in which you hunt migratory game birds.

Migratory Game Bird Hunting regulations are released in a separate publication. New in 2016: Seasons and bag limits will be set in the spring. See mass.gov/dfw/migratory-bird-hunting for more information.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt Dates

Two days are set aside prior to the waterfowl hunting seasons for young hunters ages 12–15. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter with a valid Massachusetts waterfowl stamp. The young hunter and accompanying adult may have only one firearm between them. The adult may not hunt and may carry the firearm only when it is unloaded and cased. No license or stamp needed for youths ages 12–14. License and Massachusetts waterfowl stamp needed for youths age 15. No federal stamp required. All other hunting regulations apply.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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