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Turkey Regulations

General Regulations

Hunting Hours

Thirty minutes before legal sunrise to legal sunset.

Legal Hunting Equipment

  • Shotguns using ammunition with No. 4 shot or smaller. No restriction on number of rounds in the magazine.
  • Archery equipment (longbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and crossbows).
  • Sighting devices including scopes are legal. Night vision, infrared, and other devices using artificial light to locate wildlife are illegal.
  • A pre-charged pneumatic gun (airbow) which shoots an arrow is legal for all hunters to use during statewide turkey gun seasons.

Prohibited Acts (see Manner & Means for more details)

Baiting, possessing rifles, using handguns, possessing or using electronic calls, using live decoys, and loaded ammunition larger than No. 4 shot are prohibited. Turkeys may not be shot or stalked from a boat in Dyer, Haywood, Lauderdale, Obion, Shelby or Tipton counties.

Special Regulations

  • A licensed turkey hunter who has filled his/her bag limit or does not possess a valid permit for a quota hunt, may accompany another turkey hunter who has a valid permit (except on WMAs where prohibited) and assist them in calling, but may not have turkey hunting weapons in their possession.
  • On a Young Sportsman Hunt, youths must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older, who must remain in a position to take immediate control of the hunting device and is not required to have a license. Multiple youths may be accompanied by a single qualifying adult.
  • Turkeys must remain intact while afield until checked in.
  • All turkeys harvested on public land hunts count toward statewide bag limits. There are no bonus turkeys (see WMA section for details).
  • Fanning or reaping turkeys on WMAs is prohibited. See Wildlife Management Area General Regulations.

Wildlife Management Areas

  • Many WMAs are open with statewide seasons and bag limits, though some have restricted dates or quota hunts (see WMA section for details).
  • Calling or attempting to call turkeys using any means to mimic the sounds made by turkeys is prohibited from March 1 to opening day of spring turkey hunts on all WMAs.
  • WMA spring turkey quota hunt application period is from Dec. 20, 2023–Jan. 10, 2024.

Identifying Adult Gobblers

An adult gobbler has at least one of the following:

1. The beard is longer than 6 inches.

2. Tail feathers are the same length.

3. A spur is at least 1/2 in long.

4. Wing feathers have white barring all the way to the tip.

Image showing how to measure an adult gobbler spur.
Graphic showing hot to identify the differences between and adult gobbler and a Jake.