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Turkey Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Rhode Island Hunting

Wild Turkey

Species

Dates

Season Limit

Fall Archery

October 1 – 14

1 either sex bird

Youth & Paraplegic*

April 20 – 21, 2019

2 bearded birds1

Spring Gobbler

April 25 – May 19, 2019

2 bearded birds1

General Rules and Regulations

  • The hunting of wild turkey is permitted statewide. Check local ordinances for firearm discharge restrictions. Firearms are permitted for turkey hunting during the Spring Gobbler and Youth & Parapelegic seasons only.
  • Hunting and shooting hours for the spring seasons (Youth/Paraplegic and Spring Gobbler) end at 1:00 PM. All spring turkey hunters must leave the woods by 1:00 PM.
  • Limited to: shotguns, gauges 10, 12, 16, and 20 only, with shot sizes 4, 5, 6 and 7 magnum turkey 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 seven eights (7/8) of an inch or greater at the widest point including mechanical broadheads measured in the “open” position.
  • Hunters must carry a turkey-calling device (non-electric) while hunting. Calling is the only legal method for hunting wild turkey gobblers.
  • The use of decoys while hunting is allowed.
  • Surveys are no longer automatically issued to every individual purchasing a turkey permit; however the Divsion may send a survey to randomly selected hunters. If selected, completion of 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 unauthorized firearm, live decoy(s), dog(s), baiting, cooperative drive(s).
  • The use of crossbows for turkey hunting.
  • 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.
  • Possession of more than one firearm or archery implement while turkey hunting.
  • Possession of a firearm while hunting for wild turkey during the fall archery season.

Permits and Tagging

  • A hunter may purchase, possess and use one (1) all lands turkey permit and one (1) private land only turkey permit for the taking of one (1) bearded turkey on each permit during the spring seasons.
  • A hunter may purchase, possess and use one (1) fall either sex archery permit, valid on both public and private property.
  • A person killing a wild turkey must immediately notch the month, day, hour of kill and type of property taken on (private or public). The carcass and notched tag must remain in the possession of the hunter after the kill and while removing the carcass from the field. Should the hunter leave the carcass prior to removal from the field, the notched tag must be attached to and remain with the carcass. After removal from the field, the notched tag must be attached to and remain with the carcass until prepared for consumption or taxidermy.

Reporting Your Harvest

The killing of a wild turkey must be reported to DEM using the online harvest reporting website www.ri.gov/DEM/huntfish by 11:59 p.m. on the date of the kill. The notched tag with harvest report confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until prepared for consumption or taxidermy.

Please see Checking & Tagging for more details on tagging and checking wild turkeys.

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 and sportswomen. 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 bearded wild turkeys 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. The composition of the harvest provides biologists with information about the flock and is important for making conservation and 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).