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Turkey Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Rhode Island Hunting

Species

Dates

Bag Limit

Fall Archery

10/1/15 – 10/31/15

1 either sex bird

Spring Gobbler

4/28/16 – 5/23/16

1 bearded bird

Youth & Paraplegic

4/23/16 – 4/24/16

1 bearded bird

General Rules and Regulations

Areas open to hunting are restricted to: Providence County; Kent County; Washington County (except New Shoreham); Tiverton, and Little Compton in Newport County.

Limited to: shotguns, gauges 10, 12, 16, and 20 only, with shot sizes 4, 5, and 6 magnum loads only; and archery equipment Long bow, re-curve bow and compound bow must be set at not less than forty (40) pounds for archers using fixed blade broadheads, and a minimum of fifty (50) pounds for archers using mechanical broadheads. Only broadhead tipped arrows with at least two (2) metal cutting edges are allowed. All broadheads must be 7/8 of an inch or greater at the widest point including mechanical broadheads measured in the “open” position.

Crossbows are not permitted for turkey hunting.

Hunters must carry a turkey-calling device (non-electric) while hunting. Calling is the only legal method for hunting wild turkey gobblers.

Wild Turkey hunting is permitted during the special Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend for those hunters 12 – 15 years of age. Junior hunters (ages 12 – 14) as defined in the “definitions” in possession of a valid Rhode Island Junior Hunting License must be accompanied by at least (1) one qualified, licensed adult, age 21 years or older, who holds a valid Rhode Island hunting license. An adult may accompany no more than two (2) junior hunters at one time. The accompanying adult is prohibited from carrying a firearm or bows and hunting turkey, but is permitted to assist the hunter in calling the bird. Hunters age 15 do not have to hunt in the immediate company of a licensed adult.

The use of decoys while hunting is allowed.

A hunter survey card will be issued to each person purchasing a turkey permit. This survey information is vital to the turkey management program in Rhode Island and assists DEM biologists in maintaining a successful wild turkey season for our hunters. The Division requests your cooperation in returning the hunter survey card, whether or not you were successful.

Prohibited

  • The use of any other firearm, live decoy(s), dog(s), baiting, cooperative drive(s).
  • Electric calling devices, or any other devices, to capture or ensnare turkeys.
  • The shooting of turkeys from the roost.
  • Stalking or attempting to sneak up on a turkey to get a shot.
  • The hunting, killing, taking, or attempting to take or possess, any wild turkey by any individual unless they possess a permit to do so. However, a person having a valid Rhode Island hunting license may call turkeys for individuals with a valid turkey permit.

Tagging

A person killing a wild turkey must immediately sign, complete and attach to the leg in a conspicuous manner the turkey tag provided with the permit. The tag must remain attached to the turkey until processed.

Safe Turkey Hunting–Is No Accident!

When compared to other sports activities (baseball, basketball and swimming–injuries per hundred thousand participants) hunting is a relatively safe activity. These comparisons should not cause any hunter to take accident free hunting for granted- each and every hunter must make safety the top priority of the hunt.

Very few hunting experiences compare with the exhilaration of turkey hunting. A chance to spend a day afield in the turkey woods, enjoying not only the hunt but also the splendor of the outdoors in spring makes this experience worthwhile to sportsmen. This is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Be sure that your turkey hunting experience is an enjoyable one by observing these key ingredients for a safe hunt.

Turkey Hunting Safety

  • NEVER crowd another hunter working a bird and avoid high-pressure areas.
  • “Mistaken for game” accounts for 87% of all turkey hunting accidents– Be sure of your target and what’s beyond.
  • Use proper setup techniques– Sit against a wide tree to shield head, neck and back. A tree is an effective blind as it breaks your outline.
  • Never wear the colors red-white or blue while turkey hunting. These colors mimic the colors of a gobbler’s head and can draw fire. Be totally camouflaged.
  • Never stalk turkey sounds or turkeys- it’s unsafe and illegal. Never use the sounds of a turkey to warn approaching hunters.
  • Avoid using gobbling calls– which draw more hunters than game

How to Tell the Sex & Age of a Turkey

Determination of the sex and age of a wild turkey is vital to the hunter since only males are “legal birds” in the spring gobbler season. Proper identification of your target before shooting protects vulnerable hen turkeys from accidental shooting during the spring nesting season. Biologists also gather important data about the composition of the turkey population from this information to assist management decisions.

Hunters are reminded they should use a variety of characteristics to identify a legal bird, including behavior (strutting, gobbling) and color (black body coloration, bright red, white and blue head color). Beards alone are not reliable indicators since up to as many as 30% of a population may have “bearded” hens.

General Characteristics

Males: Body color black- iridescent, breast feathers black tipped; spurs greater than ½ inch (adults-gobblers) less than ½ inch (juveniles-jakes); head crown white with prominent red and blue face and head; weight 15 to 20 pounds.

Females: Body color brown, drab -breast feathers brown tipped; no spurs; head color blue-gray no white crown; weight jennies (6-8 pounds), adults– hens (8-13 pounds).

Checking Requirements:

Within 24 hours of harvesting a turkey, hunters are required to fill out and return a Pre-paid Kill Report Card to DEM to record the harvest. This card replaces mandatory check in stations and is vital to recording your harvested bird for effective species management. Report cards are available from license vendors or from DEM.