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.

2017 Hunting season dates

Spring season: April 24 - May 20
Fall season: Oct. 23 - Nov. 4
Youth Hunt: April 22 (Special Restrictions Apply)
All dates are inclusive. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

turkey hunting

Regulations

Hunting hours

Spring turkey season: Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end at noon

Fall turkey season: Hunting hours begin ½ hour before sunrise and end ½ hour after sunset. (Except 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 and permits

To hunt turkey in Massachusetts you must have certain licenses and permits, which you can buy through MassFishHunt.

Massachusetts residents:

  • Hunting or sporting license
  • Turkey permit

Non-residents:

  • Big game license
  • Turkey permit

You also need an official 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

Bag limits

The annual limit is 2 wild turkeys, but you may only harvest 1 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 harvest no more than 1 bird in the fall.

Tips for identifying turkeys in the spring

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 isn't required.
Fall turkey season: Hunter orange isn't required unless hunting on a WMA stocked with pheasants during the pheasant or quail season. 

Illegal hunting methods

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

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

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 hunter education and the mandatory youth turkey program are allowed to participate.

Calling turkeys for another hunter

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.

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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