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Wild Turkey Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Maine Hunting

Anyone who possesses a big game firearm license or archery license may obtain a combination spring/fall wild turkey permit.

Effective Jan 1, 2016, a small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

LANDOWNERS

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 2 bearded wild turkeys in the spring season and 2 turkeys of either sex in the fall season. Please check the WMD in which you are hunting as some are closed, some are open with a bag limit of one turkey, and some are open with a bag limit of two turkeys.

WILD TURKEY TO BE TAGGED

Any person killing a wild turkey shall immediately and securely attach to its leg 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. The entire turkey, except the viscera, shall be presented. The fee to register a wild turkey is $2.00. All radio transmitters, leg bands and wing tags must be submitted to the Department at the time of registration.

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 (or offer for sale or barter) any wild turkey (except the plumage of legally taken turkeys), or to counsel or otherwise aid in buying, selling or offering for sale or barter any wild turkey, except the plumage.
  10. It is unlawful for any person to hunt or register a wild turkey during the spring turkey season after having killed two turkeys or after having registered two turkeys during the spring turkey season. It is unlawful for any person to hunt or register a wild turkey during the fall turkey season after having killed two turkeys or after having registered two turkeys during the fall turkey season.

QUESTIONNAIRES

A sample of wild turkey permit holders, including those who did not hunt or were unsuccessful, will be asked to complete a questionnaire provided by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and return it to the Department within a period of 10 days after the close of the wild turkey hunting season. Information provided by hunters is an important part of the Department’s wild turkey management program.

WILD TURKEY LEGAL HUNTING HOURS

Legal hunting time is from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

WILD TURKEY LICENSING, PERMIT, GENERAL BAG LIMITS & WHO MAY HUNT

License & Permit

The spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons are open to all hunters with appropriate licenses.

A combination spring/fall wild turkey permit is required in addition to a valid hunting license that allows hunting of big game. Effective Jan 1, 2016, a small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

A combined spring/fall permit is available for $20.00*.

*Plus agent fee.

General Bag Limits

The spring/fall turkey permit allows the taking of two (2) bearded wild turkeys in the spring and two (2) wild turkeys of either sex in the fall, but an individual WMD bag limit cannot be exceeded.

Who May Hunt

The turkey hunter must possess the spring/fall wild turkey permit and their license to hunt big game 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). Effective Jan 1, 2016, a small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

SPRING WILD TURKEY HUNTING

The spring wild turkey hunting season is open to turkey hunting statewide (Wildlife Management Districts 1–29).

Effective Jan 1, 2016, a small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

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. A person must possess a valid big game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid big game firearm hunting license or an 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 game firearm hunting license or an archery license as well as a turkey 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 are legal.

FALL WILD TURKEY HUNTING

Effective Jan 1, 2016, a small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

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. A person must possess a valid big game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid big game firearm hunting license or an archery license, and a turkey permit.
  • Crossbow: A person 70 years of age and older and persons with a crossbow disability permit may hunt with a crossbow with the appropriate licenses.
  • Electronic Calling Devices: The use of electronic calling devices are legal.
  • Dogs: The use of dogs are 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.

2015–16 Wild Turkey Seasons & Bag Limits

Seasons

Dates

Bag Limits

Spring Wild Turkey

(bow and arrow, crossbow
or shotgun)

WMDs: 7, 9–29

May 2 – June 4, 2016

2 bearded Wild Turkeys

WMD 8

May 2 – June 4, 2016

1 bearded Wild Turkey*

WMDs: 1–6 Season A** Week 1

May 2 – May 7, 2016

WMDs: 1–6 Season A** Week 2

May 16 – May 21, 2016

WMDs: 1–6 Season B** Week 1

May 9 – May 14, 2016

WMDs: 1–6 Season B** Week 2

May 23 – May 28, 2016

WMDs: 1–6 All Hunters

May 30 – June 4, 2016

Youth Spring Wild Turkey

April 30, 2016

Fall Wild Turkey

(bow and arrow or shotgun)

WMDs 15–17, 20–25, 28

Oct. 1 – Oct. 30, 2015

2 Wild Turkeys, either sex, any age

WMDs 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 26, and 29

Oct. 1 – Oct. 30, 2015

1 Wild Turkey, either sex, any age

WMDs 1–9, 14, 27

Oct. 1 – Oct. 30, 2015

Closed to Hunting

All dates are inclusive except that hunting is prohibited on Sunday.

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

* May take up to 2 turkeys for the season, but the second turkey MUST come from a WMD listed as having a 2 bird limit.

** During “odd” numbered years hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A; hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B.
During “even” numbered years, hunters with “even” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season A; hunters with “odd” birth years will be authorized to hunt during Season B.