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Maine Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Wild Turkey Hunting General Information

Anyone who possesses a big game firearm license or archery license may obtain a combination spring/fall wild turkey permit. A small game hunting license, in addition to a spring/fall wild turkey permit, is also valid for hunting wild turkeys.

Wild Turkey Registration

2023-2024 Turkey Hunting Quick Reference Guide (PDF)

Landowner Privileges

The following laws and regulations are specific to spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons. Hunters must also comply with all other applicable fish and wildlife laws. Any private landowner is eligible to hunt wild turkeys on their own land without a turkey hunting permit if:

1. That person owns a particular piece of land that is 25 or more contiguous acres in size and is located within the turkey hunting zone designated for the season that they wish to hunt;

2. That person is permanently domiciled on that land;

3. The land is managed for the raising and selling of dairy cattle, dairy products, or beef cattle; and

4. The land is open to hunting including hunting by permission only.

Any family member permanently domiciled on that land is also eligible to hunt wild turkeys on that land without a permit. (Family member means any family member, including spouse, grandchildren, etc. who resides on the property). A landowner must provide proof of eligibility if requested by an agent of the commissioner.

All other standard reporting and tagging procedures are required. Turkey may be taken during any open week of the season. Landowners are allowed a bag limit of up to 2 bearded wild turkeys in the spring season and up to 5 wild turkeys of either sex in the fall season. Please check the WMD in which you are hunting as some are closed, and others have bag limits varying anywhere from 1, up to 5 turkeys.

Wild Turkey Hunting Prohibitions

No person may:

  1. Employ the use of a dog or dogs in any manner while hunting turkey except during the fall season;
  2. Engage in an organized drive of any manner;
  3. Use bait;
  4. Use a trap or other device intended or designed to capture or ensnare wild turkeys;
  5. Shoot a turkey while it is in a tree;
  6. Present for registration, or allow to be registered in his or her name, a wild turkey that he/she did not lawfully kill;
  7. Hunt wild turkeys within a WMD which is closed to hunting wild turkeys.
  8. Possess any part or parts of a wild tur key unless each part is plainly labeled with the name and address of the person who registered the turkey, and the year it was registered;
  9. Buy, sell, offer for sale or barter, or aid someone in buying, selling, or offering for sale or barter, any wild turkey (except the plumage of legally taken turkeys).
  10. Hunt or register a wild turkey during the spring season after having killed or registered two turkeys.
  11. Possess any part or parts of a wild turkey unless each part is plainly labeled with the name and address of the person who registered the turkey, and the year it was registered.

ATTENTION TURKEY HUNTERS

The Department is collaborating with the University of Maine on a research project to better understand the population dynamics of wild turkeys. As part of this research, we marked wild turkeys using leg bands, wing tags and backpack style radio transmitters in a number of areas throughout the state. If you shoot a turkey with a band or transmitter, please report it using the contact information printed on the bird’s leg band or radio transmitter.

All radio transmitters must be submitted to MDIFW. Hunters can keep any leg bands or wing tags as long as they have reported them to MDIFW.

Wild Turkey Legal Hunting Hours

Legal hunting time is from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Wild Turkey Licensing, Permit and Who May Hunt

License & Permit

The spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons are open to all hunters with valid big or small game hunting licenses. A combination spring/fall wild turkey permit is also required and available for $20, plus agent fee.

Who May Hunt

The turkey hunter must possess the spring/ fall wild turkey permit and their hunting license at all times while hunting. A person may assist in a hunt without a license or permit for that activity as long as that person does not carry a firearm, archery or crossbow equipment (means to kill).

Spring Wild Turkey Hunting

The spring wild turkey hunting season is open statewide.

Equipment

  • Shotgun: A person can use shotgun gauges 10 through 20, using shot sizes 4 through 6 or mixed loads that include shot sizes 4 through 7. In addition, shotgun gauges 10 through 28, including .410, may be used with shot sizes 7 through 9 in Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). A person must possess a valid big or small game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid archery license, and a turkey permit.
  • Crossbow: A crossbow may be used to hunt wild turkeys during the spring wild turkey hunting season. A person hunting with a crossbow must possess either a valid big or small game firearms hunting license or an archery license as well as a turkey permit and crossbow permit.
  • Dogs: It is unlawful to hunt with dogs during the spring wild turkey season.
  • Electronic Calling Devices: The use of electronic calling devices is legal.

Fall Wild Turkey Hunting

Equipment

  • Shotgun: A person can use shotgun gauges 10 through 20, using shot sizes 4 through 6 or mixed loads that include shot sizes 4 through 7. In addition, shotgun gauges 10 through 28, including .410, may be used with shot sizes 7 through 9 in Tungsten Super Shot (TSS). A person must possess a valid big or small game hunting license and a turkey permit.
  • Bow & Arrow: A person must possess a valid archery license, and a turkey permit. Crossbow: Only hunters 65 years of age and older and those with a crossbow disability permit may use a crossbow (valid hunting license and turkey permit also required).
  • Crossbow: A crossbow may be used to hunt wild turkeys during the fall wild turkey hunting season. A person hunting with a crossbow must possess either a valid big or small game firearms hunting license or an archery license as well as a turkey permit and crossbow permit.
  • Electronic Calling Devices: The use of electronic calling devices is legal.
  • Dogs: Use of dogs is legal to hunt wild turkey during the fall season.

Note: The fall shotgun wild turkey season involves tactics that are different from the "sit and call" approach, and hunters are reminded to use extreme caution while hunting.

2023-2024 Wild Turkey Hunting Seasons and Limits

Fall Wild Turkey Season

  • Period: Sep 18 - Nov 7, 2023
  • Restriction: No hunting on Sundays.

Fall Seasonal Bag Limits by Wildlife Management District (WMD)

  • WMDs 15-17, 20-25: Up to 5 turkeys, either sex, of any age.
  • WMD 26: Up to 3 turkeys, either sex, of any age.
  • WMD 28: Up to 2 turkeys, either sex, of any age.
  • WMDs 6-8, 10-14, 18, 19, 27, and 29: 1 turkey, either sex, of any age.
  • WMDs 1-5 & 9: Closed for turkey hunting.
  • Daily Bag Limit: A maximum of 2 turkeys per day, per permit holder, not exceeding the specific WMD bag limit.

Special Youth Fall Wild Turkey Day

  • Date: Sep 16, 2023
  • Limit: Youth may take up to 2 turkeys, not to exceed the WMD limit with a 1-bird restriction.

Spring Wild Turkey Season

  • Period: Apr 29 - Jun 1, 2024
    • Applies to bow and arrow, crossbow, or shotgun.

Spring Seasonal Bag Limits by WMD

  • WMDs 7, 9-29: Up to 2 bearded turkeys.
  • WMDs 1-6 and 8: 1 bearded turkey.
  • Daily Bag Limit: Spring turkey hunting does not specify a daily bag limit within the overall seasonal limit.

Special Youth Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Day

  • Date: Apr 27, 2024
  • Limit: Youth may take up to 2 bearded turkeys in WMDs with a 2-turkey limit.

Additional Notes

  • Hunters may harvest up to five wild turkeys in the fall and up to two in the spring, following individual WMD limits without exceeding them. The sequence of harvest within the season is irrelevant.
  • It's crucial for hunters to verify the specific bag limits and regulations for the WMDs they plan to hunt in, to ensure compliance and support sustainable hunting practices.

See Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment for information on the use of crossbows.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.