Wild Turkey Regulations
To hunt wild turkey, a valid turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp privilege are required.
Those who have a lifetime comprehensive hunting, lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing, or resident youth hunt/trap license can hunt turkey and do not need to purchase the game bird habitat stamp because it is included with those license types.
A separate turkey hunting license is required when hunting during each turkey hunting season — one for the spring season and one for the fall season.
Game bird habitat stamp privileges are good for both spring and fall seasons in the same calendar year.
You can assist another hunter by calling only if you are licensed to hunt turkeys, regardless of whether or not you have harvested a turkey yourself.
Spring 2019 – The spring season is April 24 through May 12, 2019. The bag limit is one bearded or male turkey for the spring season. Spring turkey hunting is allowed statewide.
Fall 2018 – The bag and possession limit for the fall seasons is one bird of either sex, regardless of hunting equipment used or what portion of the season. Fall archery season is statewide. Fall firearms season has specific dates for specific counties (see below or map below).
- Fall archery (including crossbows):
Statewide from Oct. 1-28, 2018 and Dec. 8, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019.
- Fall firearms: Oct. 17-28, 2018 in the following counties only:
- Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, DeKalb, Dubois, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Lawrence, Marshall, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Switzerland, Union, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warren, Warrick, Washington.
Special reserved turkey hunts are scheduled at select DNR fish & wildlife areas.
Special reserved turkey hunts also take place at Big Oaks and Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuges. Applications and drawings are managed through the DNR reserved hunt system. For details and how to apply online, go to wildlife.IN.gov/5834.htm
Information about the youth season is on Youth Hunting.
Turkeys can be hunted only with:
- A 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½. Nontoxic shot is required while hunting turkey on some DNR properties. Call the property for additional information.
- A muzzleloading shotgun not smaller than 20-gauge and not larger than 10-gauge, loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½. Combination loads using shot sizes other than these are illegal.
- Bow and arrow
- A crossbow
Wild turkeys may be hunted only from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. All DNR properties managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife have spring season hunting hours one-half hour before sunrise until noon for properties on CDT and until 1 p.m. for properties on EDT. Call the property for additional information.
Immediately upon killing a turkey, the hunter must complete a temporary transportation tag on paper stating the hunter’s full name, address, sex of the turkey, license number (if applicable), and the date the turkey was taken before transporting the turkey from the field.
Hunters are required to register their harvested turkey within 48 hours of the kill. This can be done one of three ways:
- Self reporting online through the DNR’s CheckIN Game system (CheckINGame.dnr.IN.gov)
- Calling 800-419-1326 (a $3 fee applies)
- Finding a check station, license vendor, or retailer who will file the information for you through CheckIN Game.
Once the turkey is registered with the CheckIN Game system, a confirmation number will be generated. The number must be recorded on a temporary transportation tag and kept with the turkey until processing begins.
For an online printable version of a temporary transportation tag, see wildlife.IN.gov/files/turkeytag.pdf
Turkey hunters must meet fluorescent (hunter) orange requirements while hunting turkeys Dec. 8-24, 2018 and from Dec. 26, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019. (in locations where the deer special antlerless season is open). See hunter orange requirements on General Information.
While hunting wild turkey, it is illegal to use or possess: a dog; another domesticated animal; a live decoy; a recorded call; an electronically powered or controlled decoy; or bait. An area is considered baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait and affected soil, but an area is not considered to be baited that is attractive to wild turkeys resulting from normal agricultural practices.
Fall Wild Turkey Sex and Age Determination
If no obvious leg spur:
- use breast feathers to determine sex and wing tips to determine age (amount of barring and shape of 9th and 10th primary tips)If obvious leg spur, then bird is a male:
- adult male: 1/2 inch or longer
- juvenile male: less than 1/2 inch
Art by Dave Hamilton.
Used by permission of MO DOC