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Turkey Hunting Regulations

Managing Wild Turkeys

Managing wild turkeys in Michigan involves the complex interactions of turkey populations, their habitat and their relationship topeople. Hunting plays an important role in managing turkeys by regulating their numbers. The goal of the spring wild turkeyhunting season is to maximize hunter opportunity while maintaining a satisfactory hunting experience. License quotas are developed to harvest the desired number of turkeys to meetthe management goal.

2023 Hunting Information

How many licenses can I apply for?

From Jan. 1 - Feb. 1, you can apply for one limited-quota license valid for a specific spring turkey hunt unit during specific seasondates. You must be at least 10 years old to apply.

How much is an application?

An application is $5.

How do I know if I was successful in the drawing?

You are responsible for obtaining your drawing results online. They will be available at March 6.

What happens if I’m selected in the drawing?

If you’re selected in the drawing, you may then purchase one limited-quota license. See the License Purchase section for moreinformation.

What happens if I’m not selected in the drawing?

After the drawing, beginning March 13 at 10 a.m., unsuccessful applicants have the opportunity to purchase a license for anotherhunt period, with leftover licenses available until quotas are met. Depending on how many hunters apply, leftover licenses may ormay not be available for some hunt units and/or dates.

What happens if I didn’t apply for the drawing?

If you didn’t apply for the drawing, you have two options. You may purchase a leftover license, if available, or you may purchase aHunt 0234 license. Leftover licenses and the Hunt 0234 license will go on sale March 20 at 10 a.m. See the Hunt 0234 andLeftover Licenses sections for more information.

Where can I buy a license?

You can buy a license from any license agent, online at, or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.The app is available for download at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

How many licenses can I buy?

You can purchase one spring turkey license.

How many turkeys can I harvest with a license?

You can harvest one bearded turkey.

I’m a mentored youth hunter. Can I get a spring turkey license?

If you are licensed under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, you automatically receive a spring turkey license. See the MentoredYouth Hunting Program section for more information.

How to Apply for a Limited-License Hunt

What identification do I need to apply for the drawing?

You will need a valid driver’s license issued by the state where you live OR a State of Michigan ID card (issued by the Secretary ofState) OR a DNR Sportcard (issued by any license agent or online at

I’m only 9 years old. Can I apply for a spring turkey license?

If you are licensed under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, you automatically receive a spring turkey license, so there is noneed to apply. See the Mentored Youth Hunting Program section for more information.

How do I actually apply for the hunt?

  1. Look at the hunt unit map on page 6 and choose the unit you want to hunt.
  2. Use the table on page 7 that shows the hunt units and season dates to find the hunt number for the hunt unit you chose.
  3. Purchase an application for the hunt number(s) you chose (you can select two hunt numbers -- first and second choice). You can purchase an application at any license agent, online, or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.
  4. Check your receipt for accuracy and retain it as proof of your application.

How many times can I apply?

You can only apply one time. It is unlawful to apply more than once.

Can I apply to hunt with other hunters?

Yes, you may apply in a partnership with one other person. If you apply with more than one partner, you will be ineligible for thedrawing.

How do I apply with someone else as a partnership?

The first person to apply (either you or your hunting partner) chooses a hunt unit and receives a “party ID” number, which is printedon the receipt. A new party ID number is issued each year. Then, the other partner uses the party ID number when applying to complete the partnership. Make sure to verify the party ID number is identical on both receipts.

The receipt I received is not printed clearly or has an error. What do I do?

You are responsible for obtaining a DNR application receipt that states your customer ID and hunt choice. Do not accept a receiptthat is not legible. Check this receipt for accuracy and retain as proof that you applied. Ensure any application errors are corrected prior to the application deadline. If you submit an invalid application, you will be ineligible for the drawing.

I’m having trouble applying. What do I do?

Call 517-284-9453 (WILD) for assistance.

2023 Spring Turkey Hunt Units

Spring Turkey Hunt Units

Private-land-only licenses

If I get a private-land-only license, are there any exceptions that allow hunting on public land?

The private-land-only license, Hunt 0301 (Unit ZZ), is not valid on county, state or federal lands, except to hunt Fort Custer militarylands with permission. Hunters should have permission to hunt private lands before applying for one of these licenses.






April 22 – May 31



Limited-License Hunts

General licenses

What type of land can I hunt with a general license?

The general licenses listed below are valid on all public and private land within the unit.






April 22 – May 5




April 22 – May 5




April 22 – May 5




April 22 – May 5




April 22 – May 5




April 22 – April 28




April 29 – May 5




April 22 – May 31




April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31




April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31




April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31




April 22– April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31




April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31




April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7




April 29 – May 12




May 13 – May 31



Guaranteed-License Hunt (No Application Required)

Hunt 0234

Where can I hunt with a Hunt 0234 license?

With the Hunt 0234 license, you can hunt on:

  • Both public and private lands in the Upper Peninsula (Unit M) and in the northern Lower Peninsula (Units A, B, E, F, J andK).
  • Private land only in the southern Lower Peninsula (Unit ZZ).
  • Fort Custer military lands with permission.

How do I purchase a Hunt 0234 license?

You can buy a Hunt 0234 license when leftover licenses go on sale March 20 at 10

a.m. This license has no quota and can be purchased throughout the entire spring turkey hunting season.

Can I purchase both a limited-license hunt and a Hunt 0234 license?

No. You may only purchase one spring turkey license.






May 6-31



Leftover Licenses

Are there always leftover licenses available?

There is no guarantee that leftover licenses will be available for any hunt unit, except Hunt 0234, which has no quota.

How do I purchase a leftover license if I was unsuccessful in the drawing? If any licenses remain after the drawing andyou have a current base license, you may purchase a leftover turkey license from any license agent, online at, or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app, on a

first-come, first-served basis for a one-week period beginning March 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The Michigan DNR HuntFish app is available for download at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

How do I purchase a leftover license if I didn’t apply in the drawing?

You may purchase any limited-quota licenses that remain as of March 20 at 10

a.m. EST if you have a current base license.

How many leftover licenses can I buy?

You may purchase only one spring turkey license.

License Purchase

I purchased my license online. When will I get my kill tag?

If you purchase your spring turkey licenses online, your kill tag will be mailed to you seven to 10 business days after yourpurchase.

I was selected in the drawing, but can’t buy my license. Why not?

A base license is required for everyone who hunts in Michigan. While an application may be purchased prior to obtaining a base license, you must purchase a 2023 base license before you can purchase a spring turkey license.

When can I purchase a 2023 base license?

2023 base licenses go on sale March 1.

Can I buy more than one spring turkey license?

No. It is unlawful to obtain or purchase more than one spring turkey hunting license per hunter.

Do I have to carry my hunting license when hunting?

Yes, you must carry your spring turkey license and the identification used to purchase that license and present both upondemand of a Michigan conservation officer, a tribal conservation officer or any law enforcement officer when hunting.

Licenses by Age

Age: Up to 9

Junior Age: 10-16

Resident Age: 17+

Resident Senior Age: 65+

Nonresident* Age: 17+

Mentored Youth License






Application for License Drawing






Base License






Spring Turkey License






  • *Nonresidents under 17 years of age may purchase a resident base license.
  • Active-duty military personnel and veterans with disabilities: Resident active-duty military personnel and resident veterans with a 100% disability rating may obtain a leftover spring turkey license free of charge beginning March 20. Licenses are full-price for those who apply for a license and are selected in the drawing.

Apprentice Hunting License

Can I purchase a base apprentice hunting license?

If you do not have a hunter safety certificate and are 10 years of age or older, you

may purchase a base apprentice hunting license.

How many times can I purchase a base apprentice hunting license?

As an apprentice hunter, you may purchase this license for two license years before you must successfully complete a hunter safetycourse.

I’m not a resident of Michigan. Can I purchase the base apprentice license? Yes. The base apprentice hunting license is available to residents and nonresidents.

Can I hunt by myself with a base apprentice license, or do I need to hunt with someone else?

When hunting as an apprentice hunter, you must be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older who has a regular, current-year hunting license for the same game species that you are hunting.

I’m a youth apprentice hunter. Do I have to hunt with my parents?

If you are an apprentice hunter who is 10-16 years of age, your accompanying hunter must be your parent, guardian or someonedesignated by your parent or guardian who is at least 21 years of age. The accompanying hunter must have a regular, current-year hunting license for the same game species that you are hunting.

How close do I need to be to my accompanying hunter during the hunt?

Your accompanying hunter must be able to come to your immediate aid and stay within a distance that permits uninterrupted,unaided visual and verbal contact.

Does my accompanying hunter need to have a turkey license for the same unit and hunt period as me?

For hunting wild turkey, your accompanying hunter needs a current-year spring turkey hunting license, but it does not have tobe for the same hunt unit and season dates as your apprentice hunting license.

I’m an accompanying hunter. How many apprentice hunters can I supervise?

You may accompany no more than two apprentice hunters.

Mentored Youth Hunting

What is the mentored youth hunting program?

The Mentored Youth Hunting Program allows youth hunters 9 years of age and younger to hunt with a mentor who is a least 21years of age, has hunting experience and has a valid Michigan hunting license other than an apprentice license.

What can mentored youth hunt with their license?

The mentored youth license is a “package” license to hunt small game, waterfowl,

turkey (spring and fall) and deer, trap furbearers, and fish for all species. Additional restrictions apply; complete programdetails can be found in the Michigan Hunting Digest or online at

I’m a mentored youth hunter. How many turkeys can I kill in the spring, and where can I hunt?

As a mentored youth hunter, you get one spring turkey kill tag, which is valid for one bearded turkey in any open spring turkey huntunit on public or private land.

As a mentored youth hunter, can I apply for the spring turkey license?

No. You will receive one spring turkey kill tag with your mentored youth license. All hunters are allowed only one spring turkey tag.

As a mentored youth hunter, do I need an application for the mentored youth license?

No. An application is not required for the mentored youth license.

Special Hunting Opportunities for Youth and Hunters with Disabilities

Are there special opportunities for youth or hunters with disabilities?

Yes. The Fort Custer Training Center near Battle Creek offers turkey hunting opportunities for properly licensed youth (Hunt0301). A mentor is available for each participant. Free housing is available, along with range time. Special hunting opportunities are also available for properly licensed hunters with a disability during May (Hunt 0234). For hunt dates and more information, please visit or call 269-282-7878.

Hunting Hours

When is it legal for me to hunt during the day?

Actual legal hunting hours (one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour before sunset) for Zone A are printed in the table. To determine the opening (a.m.) or closing (p.m.) time in another zone, add the minutes shown on the map for the zone to the timefrom the Zone A hunting hours table. The hunting hours listed in the table reflect Eastern Standard Time adjusted for daylight savingtime where appropriate. If you are hunting in Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson or Menominee counties (Central Standard Time), you mustmake an additional adjustment to the printed time by subtracting one hour.

Zone A Hunting Hours Table (April)

One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour before sunset (adjusted for daylight saving time).

Hunting Hours Zones


Time Zone A


Time Zone A


April 22



April 23



April 24



April 25



April 26



April 27



April 28



April 29



April 30



Zone A Hunting Hours Table (May - June)

One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour before sunset (adjusted for daylight saving time).


Time Zone A


Time Zone A


May 1



May 2



May 3



May 4



May 5



May 6



May 7



May 8



May 9



May 10



May 11



May 12



May 13



May 14



May 15



May 16



May 17



May 18



May 19



May 20



May 21



May 22



May 23



May 24



May 25



May 26



May 27



May 28



May 29



May 30



May 31



June 15:288:33
June 25:288:33
June 35:278:34
June 45:278:35
June 55:268:35
June 65:268:36
June 75:268:37

Bag Limit

How many turkeys can I kill with my license?

You are allowed to kill one bearded turkey per spring turkey license.

Can I kill a turkey without a beard?

No. Only bearded turkeys may be killed during the spring turkey hunting season.

Can I buy more than one spring turkey license (kill tag)?

No. You may only purchase one spring turkey license per hunter.

Can I put my kill tag on a turkey someone else shot?

No. It is unlawful to tag a turkey you did not kill.

Can I use the same kill tag on more than one turkey?

No. It is unlawful to use a tag more than once.

Can I use my friend’s kill tag, or can they use mine?

No. It is unlawful to use another person’s tag or allow another person to use your tag.

Hunting Methods

What equipment can I use to kill a turkey?

You may use a bow and arrow, a crossbow, a firearm that fires a fixed shotgun shell, or a muzzleloading shotgun. It is illegal to use or carry afield any other firearm. Pneumatic guns are legal when using ammunition containing No. 4 shot or smaller.

I have a concealed pistol license. Am I allowed to carry my pistol while hunting?

Yes. The prohibition on carrying any other type of firearm does not apply to pistols carried under authority of a concealed pistollicense, or under a specific exception from the CPL requirement.

What kind of ammunition am I allowed to use in my firearm while hunting? When hunting wild turkey, you may not use or carryafield any ammunition except shotgun shells loaded with No. 4 or smaller shot or No. 4 or smaller loose shot for use in muzzleloading shotguns.

Do I have to use nontoxic shot (i.e., not lead) when hunting turkey?

While not required by law, it is recommended that you use nontoxic shot when hunting turkey.

I hunt with a crossbow. Are there any restrictions on which arrows I can use? You may only use arrows, bolts and quarrelsat least 14 inches in length, tipped with a broadhead point at least 7/8 inch wide.

Can I hunt turkeys from a tree stand?

You may hunt turkeys from an elevated stand or tree using a bow and arrow, a crossbow or a firearm. Tree stands or any otherdevice to assist in climbing a tree are not permitted to be used on state lands for the spring turkey hunting season. Tree stands orany other device to assist in climbing a tree are only permitted to be used on state lands from Sept. 1 through March 1.

Can I use my hunting dogs to hunt turkeys during the spring season?

No. Turkeys may not be hunted with dogs during the spring season.

Can I shoot a turkey if it is in a tree?

No. Turkeys may not be taken while they are in a tree.


Am I allowed to bait turkeys?

No. It is unlawful to use bait to aid in the taking of a wild turkey.

Can you define “bait” for me?

For the purpose of this regulation, “bait” means a substance composed of grain, fruit, vegetables or other food placed to lure orentice wild turkeys. This does not apply to standing farm crops (normal agricultural practices) or other naturally growing grains, fruits or vegetables.

Decoys and Calls

Can I use mechanical, electronic or live decoys?

No. Mechanical, electronic or live decoys are prohibited.

Can you define “mechanical decoy” for me?

Mechanical decoy means any device that, by design or construction, uses motion as a visual stimulus to attract a wild turkey.

Is a decoy moved by the wind considered mechanical?

A wind sock or similar decoy body anchored at a fixed point into the ground, and

whose only motion is derived exclusively by power of the natural wind, is legal.

Can I stalk turkeys using handheld decoys/silhouettes?

No. Stalking turkeys with a handheld decoy/silhouette is illegal.

Can I use electronic turkey calls to hunt?

No. The use or possession of electronic devices that imitate calls is illegal.

Validating Kills

Can I tag my turkey after I take some photos with it first?

No. Immediately upon killing a turkey, you need to validate your license by notching out the appropriate information as instructedon the license and securely attaching the license around a leg of the bird. You may not transport or have in your possession a turkeyunless the validated license is attached to a leg of the bird.

Turkey Reporting Options

Is there a way for me to give the DNR feedback about my hunting experience? Yes! We need your help. After your hunting seasonhas ended, please report your hunting activity online by visiting Information you provide will improvemanagement and ensure that decisions regarding hunting seasons are based on the best information available.

Are there any other ways I can help the DNR with feedback or reporting?

You can assist the DNR by reporting any sightings of wild turkeys in January. This information, which is kept confidential, is used tomanage the turkey population. You can make your report online at or contact a DNR office listed on the backof this digest.

Using Spur Length to Age a Turkey

Spur Length (in.)



Age of Gobbler

Less than 0.5”



Younger than 1 year

0.5” to 1”



1 to 2 years

1” to 1.25”

Slightly Curved


2 to 3 years

Over 1.25”



Older than 3 years

Wild Turkey Cooperator Patch

Who coordinates the wild turkey patch program?

Michigan’s wild turkey patch program is coordinated by the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership withthe DNR.

How much do patches cost for adults?

Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $6, including postage and handling.

How do I order a patch?

Patches must be ordered online at Mail-in patch orders will no longer be accepted, except for the free patch for youthhunters (see below).

How long will it take to receive my patch?

You should receive your patch in four to six weeks.

Do I need to shoot a turkey to purchase a patch?

No. You do not have to harvest a turkey to purchase a patch.

I heard that youth hunters get a free patch. Is that true?

Yes. Young hunters, 17 years of age and younger, who have a valid wild turkey hunting license may get a free patch by sending their name and complete address, along with a legible copy of their valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 471, Schoolcraft, MI 49087. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

What is the NWTF?

The National Wild Turkey Federation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and thepreservation of our hunting tradition. Proceeds from patch sales are used to fund wild turkey-related projects and managementin Michigan. Each year the NWTF, working cooperatively with the DNR, contributes more than $300,000 to wild turkey and hunter-heritage programs in Michigan.


Dioxin Advisory Information

Should I be concerned about dioxin?

Health assessors from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Department of Natural Resourcesdetermined that samples

of wild game from the floodplains of the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River downstream of Midland contained high levelsof dioxin and dioxin-like compounds. Wild game tested include deer, turkey, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, wood duck and Canada goose. As a result, the MDHHS advises that hunters and their families to follow these recommendationsrelated to turkey:

  • Do not eat turkey harvested in or near the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River downstream of Midland. If you choose to eatturkey taken from this area anyway, at a minimum the skin, liver and gizzard should be removed and discarded.
  • Other wild game that have not been tested in this area may also contain dioxins at levels that are a concern. To reduce generaldioxin exposure from other wild game, trim any visible fat from the meat before cooking. Do not consume organ meats suchas the liver or brains, and do not eat the skin.

For additional information regarding dioxin, dioxin-like compounds and wild game advisories for the Tittabawassee River andSaginaw River floodplains, including a map of the area covered by these advisories, go to the MDHHS website

Report Sightings of Diseased Wildlife

What if I see a sick-looking turkey while scouting or hunting?

The DNR encourages you to report any sightings of sick or dead wildlife, including wild turkeys, at You should provide information about the location, number of animals and condition of the animals you observed. Contact theWildlife Health Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030 if you have any questions.

Commercial Hunting Guides on State Land

What do I need to do to guide turkey hunters on state-owned lands?

All commercial hunting guides utilizing state-owned lands must get written authorization. Guides are required to meet the conditions of the written authorization. If you are a guide who utilizes state-owned lands, please visit or contact a DNR customer service center for more information.

What do I need to do to guide turkey hunters on National Forest lands?

Commercial guiding on National Forest (NF) landsrequires a special use permit. Applications can be obtained through any office or by calling -- Hiawatha NF: 906- 428-5800; Huron-Manistee NF: 231-775-5023; or Ottawa NF: 906-932-1330.

Where Can I Hunt in Michigan?

Over 4.5 million acres of public land is managed by the DNR and open to hunting! Millions of additional private-land acres are leasedor enrolled in programs to allow hunting by all. Visit to find out where.

Poachers Beware: Hunters Are Watching

What are the consequences of poaching?

Violations of turkey hunting regulations, including application violations, are misdemeanors and the following penalties mayapply. Misdemeanors may be punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment, up to $1,000 in fines and license revocation for up tofive years. Reimbursement to the state for unlawful taking of wild turkey is $1,000 per animal plus an additional $1,000 for aturkey with a beard.

How do I report suspected poaching?

If you witness a natural resource violation, report it immediately. You can do this by texting or calling 800-292-7800 -- phone lines areopen 24/7. You may remain anonymous!

2023 Spring Turkey Workshops

I’m new to turkey hunting. Is there any program to help new hunters like me? Yes. The DNR, Michigan Wild Turkey HuntersAssociation, National Wild Turkey Federation and other groups may offer wild turkey hunter orientation courses.

A fee may be charged, and space may be limited. For details about events, visit

As a new hunter, I’ve heard I should scout for birds on Turkey Tracts. What is that?

Turkey Tracts are a series of actively managed, walk-in wild turkey hunting areas across southern Michigan. With accessiblewalking trails and a kiosk with maps and area information, these are great places for new hunters to explore. With the help ofhunters and partners, such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, the DNR developed this program to highlight local wildlife management on public hunting areas and connect hunters with local business partners.

Visit to learn about locations.

In partnership with:

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