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Wild turkey hunting regulations

Before you go hunting for wild turkey, be sure you know the rules. This page contains regulations for hunting wild turkey in Massachusetts.

2020 hunting season dates
Spring season: April 27 - May 23
Fall season zones 1 - 9: Oct. 19 - Nov. 28
Fall season zones 10 - 13: Oct. 5 - Nov. 28
Youth Hunt: April 25 (special restrictions apply)

All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

Table of Contents

Hunting hours

  • Youth Day: Hunting hours begin 1/2 hour before sunrise and end at 5:00 p.m.
  • Spring turkey season: Hunting hours begin 1/2 hour before sunrise and end at noon
  • Fall turkey season: Hunting hours begin 1/2 hour before sunrise and end 1/2 hour after sunset. When hunting turkeys on WMAs stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season, hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.

 Click here for a sunrise/sunset table.

Required licenses, permits, and safety sticker

To hunt turkey in Massachusetts you must have the appropriate license and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or Sporting License
  • Turkey permit
  • Safety sticker*

Non-residents:

  • Big game license
  • Turkey permit
  • Safety sticker*

*If you're hunting turkey with a shotgun or muzzleloader, an official safety sticker must placed on the gun. The sticker must be visible when you are sighting down the barrel. For a new or replacement sticker, visit any MassWildlife office or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
MassWildlife
ATTN: Turkey safety sticker
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581

Bag limits

  • Spring season: 2 bearded birds (2 birds may be harvested on the same day)
  • Fall season: 1 turkey of either sex.

Tips for identifying turkeys in the spring

Hunting implements

Spring season

  • Shotgun: No larger than 10 gauge. No larger than #4 size shot.
  • Muzzleloader: No larger than .775 caliber smoothbore muzzleloading shotgun. No larger than #4 shot.
  • Archery equipment: All bows must have a draw weight of at least 40lbs at 28 inches or at peak draw. Arrows must have a well sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 inches in width. Expanding broadheads and mechanical releases are legal. Crossbows may be used by certain permitted disabled hunters. Airbows are prohibited. 

Fall season
In wildlife management zones (WMZ) 1–13, hunters can use shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns, and archery equipment as described above from Oct. 19–Oct. 31. During certain periods of the fall season only archery equipment is permitted. See table below:

Zone Oct 5-17 Oct 19-31 Nov 2-28
WMZ 1-9 No fall turkey hunting Shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, archery Archery equipment only
WMZ 10-13 Archery equipment only Shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, archery Archery equipment only

 

Blaze orange requirements

  • Spring turkey season: Blaze orange isn't required.
  • Fall turkey season: A blaze orange cap is required when hunting on a WMA stocked with pheasants or quail during the pheasant or quail season.

Hunting methods

A licensed turkey hunter may call turkeys for another hunter. The caller cannot carry a firearm or archery equipment if he or she has taken a season limit of turkeys. Caller must have a valid license and turkey permit in possession even if tags are no longer attached.

Illegal to hunt turkeys using any of the following:

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

Wanton waste (as of 7/20): It is unlawful for hunters to intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead game animal in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it. Each retrieved animal shall be retained or transferred to another until processed or used for food, pelt, feathers, or taxidermy. This does not apply to animals unfit for consumption or use—animals and their parts that are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected.

Tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements

  • You must report your game within 48 hours of harvest.
  • Fill out and attach the paper tag from your permit on the carcass immediately after harvesting a turkey.
  • The game must remain intact, with the tag attached, until reported and prepared for food or taxidermy purposes.
  • Report your harvest at an official check station or online.
  • If you report online, write your confirmation number on the harvest tag attached to the carcass.

Hunting season framework

There are two segments for the turkey hunting season:

  • Spring turkey season: Last Monday in April - 4th Saturday thereafter
  • Fall turkey season: Second to last Monday in October - 2nd Saturday thereafter

The youth turkey hunt takes place on the Saturday before the opening day of the spring season. Only youth who have completed Basic hunter education and the mandatory youth turkey program are allowed to participate.

Wild turkey hunting regulations

This page is to be used as a reference, it 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 for information about turkey hunting laws and regulations.

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