Skip to main content

Michigan

Hunting

Turkey Hunting Regulations

2021 Hunting Information

How many licenses can I apply for?

From Jul. 1 – Aug.1, you can apply for one limited-quota license valid for a specific fall turkey hunt unit during specific season dates. You must be at least 10 years of age or have a mentored youth license to apply.

How much is an application?

Applications are $5.

What happens if I’m selected in the drawing?

You may purchase the license for which you were selected. See the License Purchase section for more information.

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

After the drawing, beginning Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST), unsuccessful applicants can purchase a license for another hunt period, with leftover licenses available until quotas are met. Depending on how many hunters apply, leftover licenses may or may 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 may purchase a leftover license, if available, beginning Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. EST. See the Leftover Licenses section for more information.

Where can I buy a license?

You can buy a license from a local retailer or online at Michigan.gov/Turkey. Find a license agent at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenseAgents.

How many licenses can I buy?

You can purchase one fall turkey license a day until quotas are met.

How many turkeys can I harvest with a license?

You can harvest one turkey (any sex) per fall turkey license.

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

If you are licensed under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, you automatically receive a fall turkey license. You may still apply for a license in the fall turkey drawing or purchase leftover licenses.

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 of State) OR a DNR Sportcard (issued by retail license agents or at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses).

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

If you are licensed under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, you automatically receive a fall turkey license, so you only need to apply if you would like to purchase additional licenses. See the Mentored Youth Hunting Program section for more information.

How do I apply for the hunt?

First, look at the hunt unit map and choose the unit you want to hunt. Next, look at the limited-license hunts tables on page 7 to find the number for the hunt unit you chose. Then, 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 a retail license agent or online at Michigan.gov/Turkey. Finally, 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 the drawing.

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 printed on 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 receipt that 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.

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 Michigan.gov/Turkey on Aug. 16.

2021 Fall Turkey Hunt Units

For detailed descriptions of hunt unit boundaries, go to Michigan.gov/DNRLaws or contact a DNR Customer Service Center.

Fall Turkey Hunt Units

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 hunt unit.

Hunt UnitSeason DatesLicense QuotaHunt Number
GSept. 15 – Nov. 142000401
GBSept. 15 – Nov. 142500402
GCSept. 15 – Nov. 142000403
JSept. 15 – Nov. 141,5000404
LSept. 15 – Nov. 145000405
MSept. 15 – Nov. 141,5000406
TSept. 15 – Nov. 142000407
WSept. 15 – Nov. 142000408
WASept. 15 – Nov. 141000409

Private-land-only licenses

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

Licenses valid for the hunt units listed below may only be used on private land, with permission from the landowner. Private-land licenses are not valid on county, state or federal lands. Exception: Licenses valid for unit YY may be used to hunt Fort Custer military lands with permission.

Hunt UnitSeason DatesLicense QuotaHunt Number
HASept. 15 – Nov. 141,7000410
YYSept. 15 – Nov. 1445,0000510

What area does hunt unit YY cover?

Fall hunt unit YY encompasses private lands in southern Michigan and Beaver Island, excluding Wayne and Monroe counties.

Leftover Licenses

Are there always leftover licenses available?

There is no guarantee that leftover licenses will be available for any hunt unit.

How do I purchase a leftover license if I was unsuccessful in the drawing?

If any licenses remain after the drawing and if you have a current base license, you may purchase a leftover turkey license online or from any license agent on a first- come, first-served basis for a one-week period beginning Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. EST.

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 Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. EST if you have a current base license.

How many leftover licenses can I buy?

You may purchase one license a day until quotas are met.

Where can I buy my hunting license?

Hunting and fishing licenses may be purchased online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or from a retail license agent.

License Purchase

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

If you purchased your fall turkey license online, your kill tag will be mailed to you seven to 10 business days after your purchase.

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 2021 base license before you can purchase a fall turkey license.

When can I purchase a 2021 base license?

The 2021 base license is currently available for purchase at retail license agents or online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses.

Can I buy more than one fall turkey license?

Yes. You may purchase one license a day until quotas are met.

Do I have to carry my hunting license when hunting?

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

Zone A Hunting Hours Table (Sept., Oct., Nov.)

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

Zone A Hunting Hours Table

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 fall turkey hunting license, but it does not have to be for the same hunt unit and season dates as your apprentice 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 21 years 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 program details can be found in the Michigan Hunting Digest or online at Michigan.gov/MentoredHunting.

I’m a mentored youth hunter. How many turkeys can I kill in the fall, and where can I hunt?
As a mentored youth hunter, you get one fall turkey kill tag, which is valid for one turkey (any sex) in any open fall turkey hunt unit on public or private land. You can also apply for or purchase leftover licenses that remain.

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

Yes. A mentored youth hunter also can apply for the fall turkey license drawing or purchase leftover licenses that remain after the drawing.

Bag Limit

How many turkeys can I kill with my license?

You are allowed to kill one turkey (any sex) per fall turkey license.

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

Yes. You may purchase one license a day until quotas are met.

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 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 after 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 time from the Zone A hunting hours table. The hunting hours listed in the table reflect Eastern Standard Time adjusted for daylight saving time where appropriate. If you are hunting in Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson or Menominee counties (Central Standard Time), you must make an additional adjustment to the printed time by subtracting one hour.

Zone A Hunting Hours Table (Sept., Oct., Nov.)

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

Zone A Hunting Hours Table (September - October)

DateTime Zone A a.m.Time Zone A p.m.
September 156:428:13
September 166:438:12
September 176:448:10
September 186:458:08
September 196:468:06
September 206:478:04
September 216:488:03
September 226:508:01
September 236:517:59
September 246:527:57
September 256:537:56
September 266:547:54
September 276:557:52
September 286:567:50
September 296:577:49
September 306:587:47
October 16:597:45
October 27:007:43
October 37:017:42
October 47:037:40
October 57:047:38
October 67:057:36
October 77:067:35
October 87:077:33
October 97:087:31
October 107:097:30
October 117:107:32
October 127:127:26
October 137:137:25
October 147:147:23
October 157:157:21
October 167:167:20
October 177:177:18
October 187:197:17
October 197:207:15
October 207:217:14
October 217:227:12
October 227:237:11
October 237:257:09
October 247:267:08
October 257:277:06
October 267:287:05
October 277:297:03
October 287:307:02
October 297:327:00
October 307:336:59
October 317:346:58
November 17:366:56
November 27:376:55
November 37:386:54
November 47:396:53
November 57:406:51
November 67:426:50
November 76:435:49
November 86:445:48
November 96:465:47
November 106:475:46
November 116:485:45
November 126:505:44
November 136:515:43
November 146:525:42

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. However, a pneumatic gun is legal if it is muzzleloading or designed to fire a fixed shell.

    What kind of ammunition am I allowed to use in my firearm while hunting?

    When hunting wild turkey, you may only use or carry afield 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 pistol license, or under a specific exception from the CPL requirement.

    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 due to lead poisoning concerns.

    I hunt with a crossbow. Are there any restrictions on on the bolts and quarrels?

    You may only use bolts and quarrels at least 14 inches in length, tipped with a broadhead point at least 7/8 inch wide.

    Can I hunt turkeys from a tree stand?

    Yes. You may hunt turkeys in the fall from an elevated stand or tree using a bow and arrow, a crossbow or a firearm, on private and public lands. Tree stands or any other device to assist in climbing a tree are only permitted to be used on public lands from Sept. 1 through March 1.

    Can I hunt turkeys from a ground blind?

    Yes. You may hunt turkeys in the fall from a ground blind using a bow and arrow, crossbow, or firearm. Ground blinds used to pursue turkeys will be permitted on public lands Sept. 15 through Nov. 14.

    What type of ground blinds are legal on public land?

    Type 1 (Portable Ground Blind): This blind must be clearly portable and removed at the end of each day’s hunt. If you wish to leave your blind out overnight, see Type 3 below.

    Type 2 (Dead Natural Materials Ground Blind): This blind must be constructed exclusively of dead and natural materials found on the ground in the area of the blind. You may add netting, cloth, plastic, or other materials for concealment or protection from the weather if these materials are not permanently fastened to the blind and are removed at the end of each day’s hunt.

    Type 3 (Constructed Ground Blind): This includes all other blinds not meeting the requirements of either Type 1 or Type 2, including portable ground blinds, if not removed daily. Identification is required. These blinds are not legal on state game areas, state parks, and state recreation areas in Zone 3.

    • Turkey hunters may place constructed ground blinds on all Zone 1 and Zone 2 public lands from Sept. 15 through Nov. 14.

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

    Yes. Turkeys may be hunted with dogs during the fall season.

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

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

    What information must I tag my ground blind and/or tree stand with?

    In legible English, you must permanently affix your name and address, Michigan driver’s license number, or DNR Sportcard number to the ground blind or tree stand.

    Baiting

    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 or entice 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?

    No. 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 instructed on the license and securely attaching the license around a leg of the bird. You may not transport or have in your possession a turkey unless 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 season has ended, please report your hunting activity online by visiting Michigan.gov/Turkey. Information you provide will improve management 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?

    Yes. You can assist the DNR by reporting any sightings of wild turkeys in January. This information, which is kept confidential, is used to manage the turkey population. You can make your report online at Michigan.gov/Turkey or contact a DNR office listed on the back of this digest.

    GENERAL INFORMATION

    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 with the DNR.

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

    Yes, that is true. 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 45, Reed City, MI 49677. If you have questions, please email MichiganWildTurkeyPatch@yahoo.com.

    How long will it take to receive my patch?

    You should receive your patch in four to six weeks.

    How much do patches cost for adults?

    Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $5, including postage and handling. Send orders to the address above, and please make your check or money order payable to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

    Can I order patches from previous years?

    No. Only the current-year patch is available for purchase.

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

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

    What is the NWTF?

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

    2021 Fall Turkey Workshops

    I’m new to turkey hunting. Is there any program to help new hunters like me?

    Yes. The DNR, Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, 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 Michigan.gov/Turkey.

    As a new hunter, I’ve heard I should scout for birds on Turkey Tracts. What are Turkey Tracts?
    Turkey Tracts are a series of actively managed walk-in wild turkey hunting areas across southern Michigan. With accessible walking trails and a kiosk with maps and area information, they are great places for new hunters to explore. With the help of hunters 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. Current sites are located in Allegan, Barry, Montcalm and Oakland counties. The program will be expanded to more locations in the future. Visit Michigan.gov/Turkey for further information.

    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 Resources determined that samples of
    wild game from the floodplains of the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River downstream of Midland contained high levels of 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 recommendations related to turkey:

    • Do not eat turkey harvested in or near the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River downstream of Midland. If you choose to eat turkey 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 general dioxin exposure from other wild game, trim any visible fat from the meat before cooking. Do not consume organ meats such as 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 and Saginaw River floodplains, including a map of the area covered by these advisories, go to the MDHHS website at Michigan.gov/Dioxin.

    Report 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 Michigan.gov/EyesInTheField. You should provide information about the location, number of animals and condition of the animals you observed. Contact the Wildlife Health Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030 if you have any questions.

    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 leased or enrolled in programs to allow hunting by all. Visit Michigan.gov/Hunting to find out where!

    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 Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits or call the Wildlife Division Permit Specialist at 517-284-6210 for more information.

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

    Commercial guiding on National Forest (NF) lands requires 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; Ottawa NF: 906-932-1330.

    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 may apply. Misdemeanors may be punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment, up to $1,000 in fines and license revocation for up to five years. Reimbursement to the state for unlawful taking of wild turkey is $1,000 per animal plus an additional $1,000 for a turkey 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 are open 24/7. You may remain anonymous.