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Wild Turkey

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Licensing Requirements

A Regular Hunting License, Junior Hunting License, Senior Hunting License or Nonresident Hunting License is required to hunt turkeys. See Licenses, Stamps, and Permits.

General Turkey Hunting Regulations

It is illegal to bait for spring and fall turkey hunting, use recorded or electronically amplified calls, or use motorized or electronic turkey decoys. An area is considered by law to be baited for 10 days after removal of the bait.

Turkey Tagging and Checking Requirements

See the complete instructions for deer and turkey tagging and checking.

Spring Turkey Hunting

Hunting Hours:

  • April 18 through May 9: one-half hour before sunrise to noon.
  • Junior Hunt and May 10 through May 23: one half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Only bearded turkeys are legal in the spring season. Hunters may only use shotguns loaded with #4 shot or smaller, crossbows, or vertical bows. Dogs and organized drives may not be used.

Fall Turkey Hunting

Hunting Hours:

One half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

Fall turkey hunting is permitted in Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties only. Hunters may only use rifles, handguns, shotguns (loaded with #4 shot or smaller or a solid, single projectile), crossbows, or vertical bows.


Turkey Measurements Required for Checking



2012–2013 Wild Turkey Seasons & Limits




Daily Bag Limit

Season Bag Limit

Fall Season

Oct. 27–Nov. 3

Allegany, Garrett, & Washington counties

1 of either sex

1 of either sex

Spring Season: Junior Hunt*

April 13

All counties

1 bearded turkey

2 bearded turkeys

April 14

Private lands in Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester,
& St. Mary’s counties

Spring Season

April 18–May 23

All counties

* Junior Hunt for hunters age 16 or younger only. Junior hunter must be accompanied by a licensed (or exempt from license requirement) unarmed adult age 21 or older.

Hunting Hours for Wild Turkey Spring Season

April 18–May 9: one half hour before sunrise to noon;
Junior Hunt & May 10–23: one half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Sunday Turkey Hunting

In Allegany and Garrett counties on public and private lands, turkey hunting is permitted on April 28 and May 5, 2013. In Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester and St. Mary’s counties on private land, turkey hunting is now permitted on all Sundays of the spring season and April 14, 2013 for junior hunters.


Turkey Hunting Safety Tips

Follow these suggestions to ensure a safe turkey hunting experience:

  • Leave the area if you suspect there’s another hunter already working the same bird.
  • Resist the urge to stalk turkey sounds. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a turkey. It is also unethical and could lead to an accident.
  • Select a spot that is in open timber rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
  • Sit against a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling wild turkeys.
  • Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler. Watch out for red, white or blue on your socks, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, hats, bandannas, etc. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
  • Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence to other hunters if necessary. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.
  • Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
  • Maintain a clear field of view when using a camouflage blind or netting.
  • Ensure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest and make sure the head is not sticking out. If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you also should cover the bird’s head and body when carrying it out from your hunting spot.
  • Put your gun’s safety on and approach the downed bird with your firearm pointed in a safe direction after firing. Never run with a firearm.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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