2016 Season Dates:
Spring Season: April 25 – May 21
Fall Season: Oct. 24 – Nov. 5
Youth Hunt: April 23  (Click for Young Adult Turkey Hunt information )
All dates inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

Hunting Hours

Spring Turkey Season: Half hour before sunrise – noon.

Fall Turkey Season: Half hour before sunrise – half hour after sunset; except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.

Required License and Permits:

Massachusetts Residents:
-Hunting or sporting license
-Turkey permit

Non-Residents:
-
Big game license
-Turkey permit

Click here to purchase your license and permits through MassFishHunt

*An official safety sticker must be adhered to the firearm such that it is visible to the hunter when sighting down the barrel. If a new or replacement sticker is needed, send self-addressed stamped envelope to MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581, or visit any MassWildlife office.

Bag Limits:

The annual limit is 2 wild turkeys total, only 1 may be harvested per day.

You can harvest EITHER 2 bearded birds in the spring with NO fall birds allowed OR 1 bearded bird in the spring and 1 bird of either sex in the fall. You can only harvest 1 bird in the fall.

Hunting Zones:

Wildlife Management Zones 1 – 13.

Hunting Implements:

Shotgun: No larger than 10 gauge using #4-#7 shot.

Muzzleloader: No larger than.775 caliber smoothbore muzzleloading shotgun using #4-#7 size shot.

Archery Equipment: Arrows must have a well sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 inches in width. Expanding broadheads are legal. All bows must have a draw weight of at least 40lbs at 28 inches or at peak draw. Air bows, poisoned arrows, explosive tips, bows drawn by mechanical means are prohibited. Crossbows may be used by certain permanently disabled persons by permit only.

Hunter Orange Requirements

-Spring Turkey Season: Hunter orange is not required.
-Fall Turkey Season: Hunter orange is not required except on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail, in which case a hunter orange hat is required.

Hunting Methods           

It is illegal to hunt turkeys with the aid of or using any of the following:

  • Bait
  • Dogs
  • Live decoys
  • Electronic calls
  • Drive/herd turkeys

Special Rules on WMAs Stocked with Pheasant or Quail During the Pheasant or Quail Season:

-Hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.
-Hunter orange hat is required.

Tagging, Transporting, and Reporting Requirements:

Upon harvesting a turkey, you must immediately fill out and attach the paper tag from your permit the carcass. Your game must remain intact (other than field dressing), with the harvest tag attached, until it is reported and prepared for food or taxidermy purposes. Hunters may report their harvested game online or bring their game to an official check station. If reporting your harvest online, you will be issued a confirmation number. You must write the number on the harvest tag attached to the carcass. The harvest tag with harvest report confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until it is prepared for food or taxidermy purposes. Hunters must report their game within 48 hours of harvest. A complete list of checkstations is available at mass.gov/dfw/checkstation.

Hunting Season Framework:

The turkey hunting season is broken into two segments:

-Spring Turkey Season: Last Saturday in April – 4th Saturday thereafter.
-Fall Turkey Season: The second to last Monday in October - the 2nd Saturday thereafter.
-Youth Turkey Hunt:  Saturday prior to the opening day of spring turkey season. Only youth who have completed hunter education and the mandatory youth turkey program are allowed to participate. Click here to find more information.

Upon harvesting a turkey, you must immediately fill out and attach the paper tag from your permit the carcass. Your game must remain intact (other than field dressing), with the harvest tag attached, until it is reported and prepared for food or taxidermy purposes. Hunters may report their harvested game online or bring their game to an official check station. If reporting your harvest online, you will be issued a confirmation number. You must write the number on the harvest tag attached to the carcass. The harvest tag with harvest report confirmation number must remain attached to the carcass until it is prepared for food or taxidermy purposes. Hunters must report their game within 48 hours of harvest. A complete list of check stations is available at mass.gov/dfw/checkstation.

Overview of Online Wild Turkey Harvest Reporting

The harvest tag must remain attached to the harvested turkey throughout this process. At the end of the online harvest reporting process, a confirmation number will be generated; write this number on the harvest tag. You must report your turkey BEFORE processing for food or taxidermy.

Please use care when entering information into the MassFishHunt system, particularly the date of harvest. Once submitted, you cannot correct the information. If you have a problem reporting your turkey online, please contact MassWildlife at 508-389-6300 from 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M., Monday – Friday; if it is outside of those hours, please contact the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.

Steps for online harvest reporting:

  1. Go to Mass.gov/MassFishHunt. Click Enter MassFishHunt.
  2. Log in using your last name and customer ID (located on your hunting/sporting license or Turkey permit).
  3. Select Report a Harvest.
  4. Select Turkey from the Harvest Menu, and then click the Add button.
  5. The spring turkey harvest report consists of a series of questions. For some of these questions, you will need to examine your harvested turkey for spur and beard lengths, or tail feathers length. For Help, click the question mark icon to the right of each question. Please answer each question accurately.
  6. Upon completion, a confirmation number will be generated. You must write this confirmation number on the harvest tag (which should still be attached to the harvested turkey), where it shall remain until the turkey is processed for food or taxidermy purposes.

To report the harvest of a second turkey, repeat the above steps. Hunters can harvest up to 2 wild turkeys during the spring season, though no more than one may be harvested per day. No hunter may harvest more than 1 turkey during the fall season.

If you made an error on your harvest report, you can no longer edit it and must contact MassWildlife during business hours at 508-389-6300 from 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M., Monday – Friday; if it is outside of those hours, please contact the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075.

Hunt Safely: Turkey hunting can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it has associated dangers that the hunter must keep in mind. The wild turkey has a keen sense of sight and can easily detect movement and colors that are out of place in the woods, making the use of complete camouflage or drab colored clothing almost a must. Camouflage not only reduces the turkey's chance of seeing the hunter, but also has the same effect on other hunters. Each year, hunters are mistaken for turkeys and accidents can happen. Several factors are responsible for these accidents. Hunters sneaking up on (stalking) other hunters who are calling and hunters who are wearing turkey colors (red, white, blue, and even black) are involved in a high percentage of the accidents.

Remember:

  • Don't stalk birds; sit or stand and call the turkeys to you.
  • Don't wear red, white, blue or black anywhere on your body where the colors might be exposed during your hunt.
  • Don't hide in a place where your view is obstructed.

Being completely sure of your target and what is beyond it before you shoot will reduce the number of hunting accidents and the number of hens that are mistakenly killed during the spring season.

Spring Pre Season Tips:

  • Invest most of your time identifying active gobblers in the week or so before the season. There is a lot of flock movement several weeks priors to the opening of the season, so the birds you saw displaying or heard gobbling in early April may have moved to a different location by late April.
  • If you’re itching to get out and scout early, focus your efforts on identifying new parcels to hunt by securing permission from the landowner if necessary, identifying parking/access locations, and checking local bylaws relative to hunting or private property access.
  • Some locations will consistently hold turkeys during the hunting season year after year, but others are less predictable, so it pays to put your time in as close to the beginning of the season as possible to determine which locales are holding turkeys THIS year.
  • Minimize/avoid calling to turkeys during the pre-season to locate gobblers; instead look for scat, feathers, scratching in the leaf litter, strut marks or dusting areas, or other signs of turkey activity.
  • Once one or more gobblers are located, it is best if you can determine their roosting areas. The most productive times to be afield listening for gobblers are early morning just prior to sunrise and again just before sunset. The gobbler is generally the most vocal at these times as he lets local hens know where he is.
  • Pattern your shotgun before the season to determine which load will work best overall at various ranges.

Spring During the Season Tips:

  • In the spring hunting season, many hunters try to "roost" a gobbler the night before they will hunt him. The next morning try to get within 100 - 150 yards (depending on cover and terrain) of the gobbler before it gets light enough that he will be gobbling. Try to get uphill of or at least on the same level as the gobbler
    • DON'T STALK the gobbler -- call it to you. Stalking is seldom successful and can lead to hunting accidents.
    • Select a calling position with your back against a tree or other natural obstacle that is large enough to break up your human outline.
    • Maintain good visibility so you can see incoming turkeys and other hunters approaching your calling position. Some hunters tie bright survey tape in a branch above their hunting position to alert other hunters to their presence.
    • Respect the other hunter -- don't "cut in" on areas where other hunters are working birds or get between another hunter and a bird.
  • Be patient, often gobblers will be silent or unresponsive to your calls in the early morning when they are tied up with hens, but those same birds can become very active and callable in the late morning.
  • Don’t disregard the late season. Typically turkey hunter effort falls dramatically after the first week of the season. Although breeding activity is declining, there are still a lot of active gobblers around – and best of all, there will be less competition from your fellow hunters!
  • Hunt in the rain. Many turkey hunters don’t like hunting in the rain, but turkeys may be active rain or shine. During rainy days, focus your efforts in open hay fields or agricultural areas, as turkeys seem to prefer these openings when it’s wet.
  • If a turkey does appear, positively identify your target and what is beyond it. In the spring season only a "bearded" turkey can be legally harvested in Massachusetts. Know how to identify the sex of the turkey by head color, body color, and finally be sure it has a beard before you shoot. Be especially careful that other turkey hunters are not in line with the bird you intend to shoot and that no hunting companions or other hunters are behind or beyond your intended target.
  • If another hunter does approach your position, remain still and call out to him in a loud voice. Do not wave or sound your turkey call to get another hunter's attention. Know your effective shooting range and make sure that the gobbler is within that distance before you shoot.
  • There are numerous turkey calling tapes and hunting videos available to help you learn the basics of turkey hunting, but there is no teacher like personal experience. Hunting with an experienced turkey hunter can provide a new hunter a wealth of information.

Fall Hunting Season Tips:

Successful fall hunting often requires considerably more scouting to locate birds and pattern their movements. In the fall, some hunters will roost turkeys and try to call them in when they come off roost, or ideally, they will scatter a flock off the roost or later when feeding. They then pick a spot to sit near the break-up point and start calling for about 10-15 minutes, unless they hear calling before that. The best call to use in this situation would be the lost call of a young turkey, - also called the Kee-Kee run. Another good call is the assembly yelp of the adult hen. Once you get a response from a bird, just try to imitate the sound the bird is making.

Spring harvest by county.
County

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Barnstable

8

16

25

32

42

51

76

77

77

90

Berkshire

465

470

489

394

402

334

347

306

308

345

Bristol

79

105

140

184

173

196

200

170

177

227

Dukes

1

4

3

1

 

 

 

5

2

1

Essex

88

104

107

114

148

152

134

119

140

154

Franklin

425

420

434

424

454

413

398

370

407

469

Hampden

186

173

215

189

161

170

185

176

162

194

Hampshire

239

288

284

235

242

234

226

182

221

226

Middlesex

157

176

164

143

179

167

173

167

171

201

Norfolk

52

78

83

74

67

70

74

61

60

70

Plymouth

140

190

304

260

257

233

235

208

215

217

Worcester

641

665

779

706

719

700

730

669

686

769

Unknown

 

 

 

1

13

3

 

 

 

 

Totals

2481

2689

3027

2757

2857

2723

2778

2510

2626

2963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Fall harvest by sex