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News Spring turkey hunting season approaching

The 2019 spring turkey hunting season in Massachusetts is April 29–May 25. Find regulations, hunting tips, safety information, and more.
3/29/2019
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Media Contact for Spring turkey hunting season approaching

Marion Larson, MassWildlife

Turkeys

The 2019 Massachusetts spring turkey hunting season opens on April 29 and runs through May 25. The 2019 Youth Turkey Hunt is April 27. During the spring season, hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end at noon. Get ready for the start of season by purchasing your license and turkey permit, reading hunting and safety tips, and reviewing regulations.

Turkey Hunting Tips

Before season

  • Spend time identifying active gobblers a week before the season. Turkeys will move a lot weeks before the opening of the season. The birds you saw displaying or heard gobbling in early April may have moved elsewhere by late April.
    • If you wish to scout early, focus on identifying new parcels to hunt. You can do this by:
      • Securing permission from the landowner.
      • Identifying parking and access locations.
      • Checking local bylaws relative to hunting or private property access.
  • Some locations attract turkeys during the hunting season each year, but others are less predictable. It pays to scout close to the beginning of the season to determine which locales have turkeys.
  • Avoid calling turkeys during the pre-season to locate gobblers. Rather, look for scat, feathers, scratching in the leaf litter or other signs of turkey activity.
  • Once you locate one or more gobblers, it is best to determine their roosting areas. Gobblers are most vocal before sunrise and sunset. These times are your best bet for scouting them in the field.
  • Pattern your shotgun before the season to determine which load will work best at various ranges.

During season

  • In the spring hunting season, many hunters try to roost a gobbler the night before they hunt him. The next morning, try to set up early within 100 to 150 yards of where the bird roosted and before he starts gobbling. 
    • Call the gobbler to you, don't stalk it. Stalking can lead to hunting accidents.
    • Select a calling position with your back against a tree or other natural obstacle large enough to cover your human outline.
    • Keep good visibility so you can see turkeys and other hunters approaching your position. Some hunters tie bright survey tape to a branch above their position to alert other hunters of their presence.
    • Respect the other hunter. Don't approach areas where other hunters are working birds. Don't get between another hunter and a bird.
  • Be patient, often gobblers will be unresponsive to your calls in the early morning when they are with hens. Those same birds can become very active and callable in the late morning.
  • Hunt in the rain. Many turkey hunters don’t like hunting in the rain, but turkeys are active rain or shine. During rainy days, focus your efforts in open hay fields or agricultural areas, as turkeys prefer these openings when it’s wet.
  • If a turkey does appear, identify your target and what is beyond it. In the spring season you can only harvest a bearded turkey in Massachusetts.Know how to identify the sex of the turkey by: head color, body color, and make sure it has a beard before you shoot. Make sure other turkey hunters are not in line with your targeted bird and that no other hunters are behind 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 use your turkey call to get another hunter's attention.
  • Know your shooting range and make sure the gobbler is within distance before you shoot.
  • Don’t disregard the late season. Although breeding activity is declining, there are still a lot of active gobblers around.

Stay safe

  • Be completely sure of your target and what is beyond it before you shoot. Always practice firearm safety.
  • Don't stalk turkey sounds; it could be another hunter. Sit or stand and call the birds to you.
  • Do not wear red, white, blue, or black; these colors are associated with male turkeys.
  • Protect your back. Set up against a large tree or rack and make sure your view isn't obstructed. Don't hide in a place with an obstructed view.
  • Do not place decoys too close to where you set up. Never carry an exposed decoy or tail fan while hunting; put them in a bag when carrying them in or out of hunting locations. 
  • Consider wearing hunter orange when entering or leaving your hunting area.
  • Remember to place an official green safety sticker on your firearm positioned so you can see it when sighting down the barrel. For a new or replacement sticker, visit any MassWildlife office or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.

 

Regulations

Before you go hunting for wild turkey, be sure you know the rules. Click here to review wild turkey hunting regulations. Hunters must have a 2019 hunting or sporting license and a wild turkey hunting permit. Licenses and turkey permits may be purchased online using MassFishHunt or in person at a license vendor. Harvested turkeys must be reported within 48 hours of harvest. 

Remember: bearded birds only in spring. The annual bag limit is two turkeys per year either by: (a) two bearded birds in spring season (one per day) with NO fall turkey hunting allowed, or (b) one bearded bird in spring season and one bird of either sex in fall season. No hunter may take two birds in the fall season.

Media Contact for Spring turkey hunting season approaching

Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.
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