Hunting of Wild Turkey
1. SPRING SEASON DATES:
(a) the spring turkey season begins on the last Monday in April. It continues for 4 weeks (i.e., ending on the 4th Saturday) in the zones in #4 below.
2. FALL SEASON DATES:
The 6-day fall turkey season begins on the last Monday in October and continues until the following Saturday.
3. MENTORED YOUTH TURKEY HUNT:
(a) the Saturday immediately preceding the last Monday in April;
(b) youths aged 12-17 may participate upon completion of a training program and field exercise. Once a youth has completed the training, they may participate each year thereafter until reaching age 18. A free annual permit is required;
(c) all participating youths must have completed hunter education training;
(d) each participating youth must be accompanied by an adult mentor. Only one youth per mentor is allowed;
(e) participating youths may hunt anywhere within the spring hunting zone.
4. SPRING ZONE: the spring turkey hunting zone consists of Wildlife
Management Zones 01 through 13 (see Zone map in the annual "Hunting
and Fishing Abstracts");
5. FALL ZONE: The fall turkey hunting zone consists of Wildlife Management Zones 01 through 09 and 13.
6. HUNTING HOURS:
(a) the spring (and mentored youth hunt) hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon;
(b) the fall hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, except on wildlife management areas stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant or quail season, where the hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset.
7. BAG LIMITS:
(a) the season bag and possession limit is 2 turkeys. An adult hunter may choose either of the following options:
(b) two birds in the spring (bearded birds only); only 1 bird per day; with no fall turkey allowed; or
(c) one bearded bird in the spring and one bird of either sex in the fall.
(d) Note: it is not permissible to take 2 birds in the fall season.
(e) the bag limit during the 1-day mentored youth turkey hunt is one bearded turkey per youth.
8. LICENSES AND PERMITS:
Resident Massachusetts hunters require either a resident hunting or sporting license. Non-resident hunters require a non-resident big game license. In addition, all turkey hunters require a special turkey hunting permit, for which there is an additional fee. One permit is valid for both spring and fall seasons in the calendar year. The permit must be carried on the person at all times while hunting turkey and must be shown on demand to a law enforcement officer or check station official. All youths participating in the mentored youth turkey hunt must have a free special permit which allows them to participate. Youths aged 12 to 14 may be issued a free 1-day turkey hunting permit and turkey tag. Youths aged 15 to 17 years must purchase and use a conventional turkey hunting permit and tag.
9. TURKEY TAG:
There are 2 "turkey tags" attached to the turkey permit. Upon killing a turkey, the hunter must immediately fill out the appropriate tag, and must detach it from the turkey permit and attach it to the turkey in a conspicuous manner. The tag must remain attached to the turkey until the turkey is presented to an official check station, at which time the official in charge of the station will remove the tag. Tags which are detached except as provided herein are void and may be confiscated by a law enforcement officer. See #8 above for permit and tag requirements for participants in the mentored youth turkey hunt.
10. CHECK STATIONS:
Within 48 hours after killing a wild turkey, the entire carcass (the animal may be field-dressed) must be presented to an official check station, by the person who killed the turkey. At this time, the turkey will be recorded and examined for research purposes, and the check station official may remove feather samples. If lawfully taken, the official will remove the paper tag and affix a locking metal seal. The seal must remain on the turkey until it is skinned, cut up, or otherwise prepared for food purposes or for mounting by a taxidermist. Seals are non-transferable. Alternate procedures may be established for checking turkeys during the mentored youth turkey hunt.
11. HUNTING IMPLEMENTS:
Wild turkeys may be hunted only by means of a shotgun (including smoothbore muzzle-loaders) not larger than 10 gauge (allowable shot sizes #4 to #6) or by archery. Bows must have a minimum pull of 40 lbs. at 28 in. draw (or peak draw for compound bows) and must be used with well-sharpened steel broadhead arrows not less than 7/8 in width. Rifles and handguns are not allowed.
Wild turkeys may not be hunted or taken by means or with the aid of: dogs, live decoys, bait, electronic calls, or traps. Driving wild turkeys is also prohibited.
13. OTHER HUNTING METHODS:
It is lawful to hunt turkeys with or by means of an artificial decoy. Hunter orange is not required, except that on a wildlife management area stocked with pheasant or quail, during the pheasant or quail season, a person must wear a hunter orange hat or cap.
14. SAFETY STICKER:
A person shall not hunt wild turkey by means of a shotgun, or have a shotgun in his possession while hunting wild turkey, unless that person has obtained a "safety sticker" as provided or approved by the Director of Fisheries and Wildlife and affixed the sticker to his shotgun in such a manner that the sticker is visible to the shooter while sighting down the barrel of the shotgun. Safety stickers are not required of persons hunting turkey by archery.
15. CALLING TURKEYS FOR OTHERS:
A person is allowed to call turkeys for another person, during the open hunting season, provided that the person doing the calling has both a hunting or sporting license and a current valid turkey permit. However, if the person doing the calling has killed his or her season limit of turkeys, that person may not carry a firearm or archery equipment, or engage in turkey hunting in any way other than calling. The caller still must have his or her hunting or sporting license and turkey permit in possession, whether or not the permit still has turkey tags attached.
This is not the entire law, and is subject to change. Refer to the Wild Turkey Hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(9) and to several provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131.
Summary Last Revised: 01-22-10.