General Turkey Hunting Rules
- A hunter must carry personal photo identification (such as a driver’s license) or a secondary form of positive identification while hunting.
- Written permission is required to hunt on private land.
- A hunting license is required to hunt wild turkeys (with exceptions). See Hunting Licenses and Prices for Armed Forces information and hunting license costs, exceptions, purchasing, requirements and types.
- Turkeys and deer harvested must be field tagged before moving from the place of kill unless a confirmation number is obtained electronically at the place of kill. They must also be field tagged when giving, putting or leaving the carcass with another individual, or anytime the carcass is left unattended. Turkeys and deer must be checked in within 24 hours of recovery with the Department of Natural Resources to obtain a confirmation number. Confirmation numbers must be recorded on a Big Game Harvest Record. Hunters may use the Big Game Harvest Record provided with their license, create their own or store the recorded information electronically on their mobile device. See Deer and Turkey Tagging and Checking for further instructions.
- It is illegal to hunt turkeys with the aid of bait or over any baited area. Feed or bait placed for deer or other wildlife may be considered baiting if turkeys are being hunted. An area is considered by law to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait. Salt and mineral supplements are no longer considered as a source of bait for turkeys.
- It is illegal to use recorded or electronically amplified calls, or use motorized or electronic turkey decoys.
- Daylight fluorescent color clothing is not required for hunting turkeys. However, turkey hunters are encouraged to wear it as a precaution. Successful turkey hunters are also encouraged to put an orange ribbon on the turkey when carrying it out of the woods. See Hunting Safety Tips for a guide to courteous and safe turkey hunting.
Turkey Hunting Devices and Regulations
- Shotguns used for turkey hunting may not have a magazine and chamber capable of holding more than three shells total.
- During the Junior Turkey Hunting Days, Spring Season and Winter Season, hunters may only use shotguns (loaded with #4 shot or smaller), crossbows, air guns that shoot arrows or bolts or vertical bows.
- In the Fall Season, turkey hunters may only use air guns (that shoot arrows, bolts or bullets), crossbows, handguns, shotguns (loaded with #4 shot or smaller or a solid, single projectile), rifles or vertical bows.
Other Hunting Device Regulations
- It is illegal to have a loaded air gun or firearm in, on, or leaning against any vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine or a muzzleloader ready to fire.
- It is unlawful to have a loaded crossbow in, on or leaning against a vehicle.
- A cocked crossbow without a bolt or arrow in the firing position is considered to be unloaded.
- It is against the law to shoot on, from or across any public road.
- It is illegal to hunt or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 100 yards in Anne Arundel County and 50 yards in Carroll, Calvert, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford, archers must use a tree stand when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings. In Montgomery, archers must be in an elevated position when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings.
- It is unlawful to discharge a firearm within 300 yards of a public or nonpublic school while hunting. This prohibition only applies during school hours or when the building is occupied. This safety zone does not apply to colleges, universities or home schools.