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Michigan Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Wild Turkey Management in Michigan

Objective of Wild Turkey Management:

Michigan's approach to managing wild turkeys is multifaceted, focusing on the dynamic balance between turkey populations, their habitats, and human interactions. Hunting is integral to this management, serving as a regulatory tool to control turkey numbers.

Role of Spring Hunting Season:

The spring wild turkey hunting season is designed with dual objectives: to extend maximum hunting opportunities to sportsmen and women, and to ensure a quality hunting experience. Achieving this is crucial for both wildlife conservation and the satisfaction of the hunting community.

Setting License Quotas:

To ensure the wild turkey population is managed effectively, license quotas are established based on the target number of turkeys that need to be harvested. These quotas are crucial in reaching management goals that support both the sustainable population of wild turkeys and the hunting tradition in Michigan.

For further guidance or to understand the regulations surrounding wild turkey hunting, including license quotas and season dates, hunters are encouraged to consult the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' official resources.

Applying for Spring Turkey License

License Application Period

  • Application Period: Apply for a limited-quota license from Jan. 1 - Feb. 1, valid for a specific spring turkey hunt unit during specific season dates.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 10 years old.

Application Details

  • Cost: Each application costs $5.
  • Checking Results: Verify your drawing results online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses by March 6.
  • Successful Drawing: If selected, you can purchase one limited-quota license. Refer to the License Purchase section for details.
  • Unsuccessful Drawing: Starting March 13 at 10 a.m., unsuccessful applicants can purchase a license for another hunt period until quotas are met.
  • Non-Applicants: If you didn't apply for the drawing, you can purchase leftover licenses (if available) or a Hunt 0234 license starting March 20 at 10 a.m.

License Purchase

  • Where to Buy: Purchase a license from any license agent, online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses, or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.
  • Quantity: Each person can buy one spring turkey license.
  • Harvest Limit: Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey.

Mentored Youth Hunters

  • Automatic License: Mentored Youth Hunters receive a spring turkey license automatically under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.

How to Apply for Limited-License Hunt

  • Identification Required: Use a valid driver’s license, State of Michigan ID card, or DNR Sportcard to apply.
  • Age 9 and Under: Mentored Youth Hunters aged 9 or under receive an automatic spring turkey license, so no application is needed.
  • Application Steps:
    1. Choose a hunt unit from the map on page 6.
    2. Find the hunt number in the table on page 7 for the selected unit and season dates.
    3. Purchase an application for the chosen hunt number(s) at any license agent, online, or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.
    4. Check the receipt for accuracy and keep it as proof of application.

Application Queries

  • Application Limit: Each person can apply only once; applying more than once is unlawful.
  • Partnerships: Apply in a partnership with one other person. Applying with multiple partners makes you ineligible for the drawing.
  • Partnership Application: The first applicant chooses a hunt unit and receives a "party ID" number, which the other partner uses when applying. Ensure the party ID number is identical on both receipts.
  • Receipt Errors: Ensure your receipt is legible and accurate. Correct any errors before the application deadline to remain eligible for the drawing.
  • Assistance: Call 517-284-9453 (WILD) for assistance with application issues.

2023 Turkey Hunt Units

Michigan Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Understanding Private-Land-Only Hunting Licenses in Michigan

License Limitations:

The private-land-only license, identified as Hunt 0301 (Unit ZZ), is specifically designed for hunters intending to hunt solely on private property. This license is not valid on public lands, including county, state, and federal territories.

Exception for Fort Custer Military Lands:

An exception to this rule is in place for Fort Custer military lands, where hunters can use their private-land-only licenses. However, this is contingent upon obtaining permission to hunt in these military areas.

Requirement of Landowner Permission:

It is imperative for hunters to secure permission from private landowners prior to applying for the private-land-only license. Hunting without explicit consent is not only against the terms of the license but is also a legal violation.

For the most current information on hunting licenses, regulations, and permitted hunting locations in Michigan, including the particulars regarding the Hunt 0301 license, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or contact them directly.

General License Hunt Units and Season Dates

Hunt Units and Quotas

The general licenses provided below are valid for hunting on both public and private land within the specified unit.

  • Hunt Unit A

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 5
    • Maximum License Quota: 5,500
    • Hunt Numbers: 0101
  • Hunt Unit B

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 5
    • Maximum License Quota: 1,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0102
  • Hunt Unit E

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 5
    • Maximum License Quota: 1,700
    • Hunt Numbers: 0103
  • Hunt Unit F

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 5
    • Maximum License Quota: 5,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0105
  • Hunt Unit J

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 5
    • Maximum License Quota: 4,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0107
  • Hunt Unit K (April 22 – April 28)

    • Maximum License Quota: 4,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0108
  • Hunt Unit K (April 29 – May 5)

    • Maximum License Quota: 4,500
    • Hunt Numbers: 0109
  • Hunt Unit M

    • Season Dates: April 22 – May 31
    • Maximum License Quota: 6,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0110
  • Hunt Unit ZA (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 1,200
    • Hunt Numbers: 0111
  • Hunt Unit ZA (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 1,800
    • Hunt Numbers: 0112
  • Hunt Unit ZA (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 1,800
    • Hunt Numbers: 0113
  • Hunt Unit ZB (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 650
    • Hunt Numbers: 0115
  • Hunt Unit ZB (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 975
    • Hunt Numbers: 0116
  • Hunt Unit ZB (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 975
    • Hunt Numbers: 0117
  • Hunt Unit ZC (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 600
    • Hunt Numbers: 0119
  • Hunt Unit ZC (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 900
    • Hunt Numbers: 0120
  • Hunt Unit ZC (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 900
    • Hunt Numbers: 0121
  • Hunt Unit ZD (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 10
    • Hunt Numbers: 0123
  • Hunt Unit ZD (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 15
    • Hunt Numbers: 0124
  • Hunt Unit ZD (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 15
    • Hunt Numbers: 0125
  • Hunt Unit ZE (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 500
    • Hunt Numbers: 0127
  • Hunt Unit ZE (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 750
    • Hunt Numbers: 0128
  • Hunt Unit ZE (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 750
    • Hunt Numbers: 0129
  • Hunt Unit ZF (April 22 – April 28 & June 1–7)

    • Maximum License Quota: 1,300
    • Hunt Numbers: 0131
  • Hunt Unit ZF (April 29 – May 12)

    • Maximum License Quota: 1,300
    • Hunt Numbers: 0132
  • Hunt Unit ZF (May 13 – May 31)

    • Maximum License Quota: 3,000
    • Hunt Numbers: 0133

Guide to Hunt 0234 License for Michigan Spring Turkey Season

Hunting Areas for Hunt 0234 License:

Holders of the Hunt 0234 license are granted the flexibility to hunt across various regions of Michigan:

  • In the Upper Peninsula (Unit M) and the northern Lower Peninsula (Units A, B, E, F, J, and K), hunting is allowed on both public and private lands.
  • Hunting within the southern Lower Peninsula (Unit ZZ) is exclusive to private lands.
  • Additionally, with the requisite authorization, hunting on Fort Custer military lands is permissible.

Purchasing the Hunt 0234 License:

The Hunt 0234 license is readily available for purchase starting March 20 at 10 AM when leftover licenses are put up for sale. Notably, this is a guaranteed-license hunt, meaning it has no quota limits; hunters can acquire this license at any point during the entire spring turkey hunting season.

License Acquisition Rules:

It's important to note that each hunter may only obtain one spring turkey license. Therefore, if you choose the Hunt 0234 license, you cannot simultaneously purchase a limited-license hunt.

Hunt 0234 License Details:

  • Season Dates: The spring turkey hunting season for this license runs from May 6 through May 31.
  • Maximum License Quota: There is no quota limit for the Hunt 0234 license.
  • Hunt Number: The designated number for this guaranteed-license hunt is 0234.

For further information regarding the Hunt 0234 license or details about Michigan’s spring turkey hunting season, hunters should refer to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website, where they can also find additional resources and make their license purchases.

Michigan Spring Turkey Leftover Licenses: Availability and Purchase Process

Availability of Leftover Licenses:

The availability of leftover licenses for Michigan turkey hunts varies and isn't guaranteed, with the exception of the Hunt 0234 license, which has no maximum quota limit.

Purchasing After Unsuccessful Drawing:

For those who participated in the license drawing but did not obtain a license, any remaining licenses can be bought on a first-come, first-served basis starting March 13 at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time. To purchase, hunters must possess a current base license and can make their purchase from:

  • Any official license agent in Michigan,
  • Online through the Michigan DNR Licensing System,
  • Utilizing the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Purchasing Without Prior Drawing Participation:

Individuals who did not apply in the drawing have the opportunity to buy any leftover limited-quota licenses as of March 20 at 10 AM EST, given they have a current base license.

Limitation on Leftover License Purchases:

Regardless of the situation, hunters are allowed to purchase only one spring turkey license.

For more detailed information regarding the acquisition of leftover turkey hunting licenses in Michigan or to check for real-time licensing updates, refer to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or contact the DNR directly.

Michigan Spring Turkey License: Kill Tag and Purchase Information

Receiving Your Kill Tag:

After purchasing your spring turkey license online, expect to receive your kill tag via mail within seven to ten business days from the date of purchase.

Requirement for Purchasing a License Post-Drawing Selection:

If you were successful in the drawing but are unable to buy the license, ensure you've obtained a base license for the year. A base license is mandatory to purchase a spring turkey license in Michigan. Applications may be bought before acquiring a base license, but a 2023 base license must be purchased before securing your spring turkey license.

Availability of 2023 Base Licenses:

The sale of 2023 base licenses commences on March 1.

Restrictions on Multiple Spring Turkey Licenses:

Hunters are prohibited from purchasing or acquiring more than one spring turkey hunting license.

Requirement to Carry License While Hunting:

While engaged in hunting, you're obliged to carry your spring turkey license and a form of identification—both must correspond with the information used during the license purchase. You must present these items when requested by a Michigan conservation officer, a tribal conservation officer, or any law enforcement officer.

License Costs by Age Groups and Resident Status:

  • Mentored Youth License (Under age 10): $7.50
  • Junior License (Ages 10-16): Drawing Application - $5, Base License - $6, Spring Turkey License - $15
  • Resident License (Ages 17+): Drawing Application - $5, Base License - $11, Spring Turkey License - $15
  • Resident Senior License (Ages 65+): Drawing Application - $5, Base License - $5, Spring Turkey License - $6
  • Nonresident License (Ages 17+): Drawing Application - $5, Base License - $151, Spring Turkey License - $15

Note: Nonresidents under 17 may purchase resident base licenses. There are special provisions for active-duty military and veterans with disabilities including fee waivers for leftover licenses starting March 20 but full prices for successful drawing applicants.

For the most up-to-date information on licenses, including special conditions and fees, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or directly inquire with the DNR.

Michigan Apprentice Hunting License: Eligibility, Requirements, and Regulations

Eligibility for Base Apprentice Hunting License:

You are eligible to purchase a base apprentice hunting license if you are 10 years of age or older and have not yet completed a hunter safety course.

Purchase Limit for Apprentice License:

An apprentice hunter is allowed to purchase the base apprentice hunting license for two different license years. After this period, completion of a hunter safety course is required to continue hunting legally.

Nonresident Eligibility:

The base apprentice hunting license is accessible to both Michigan residents and nonresidents, allowing a broader range of individuals to participate in hunting activities under apprentice status.

Accompaniment Requirement for Apprentice Hunters:

Holding a base apprentice hunting license requires you to hunt under the supervision of an accompanying hunter. This individual must be at least 21 years of age and possess a regular, current-year hunting license for the same species.

Youth Apprentice Hunter Accompaniment:

Youth apprentice hunters, between the ages of 10-16, must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or an adult designated by the parent or guardian. The accompanying adult must hold a regular, current-year hunting license for the species being hunted.

Proximity of Accompanying Hunter:

While hunting, the accompanying hunter must maintain a distance that allows for constant visual and verbal contact without assistance, ensuring the apprentice can receive immediate aid if necessary.

Accompanying Hunter's Turkey License Requirements:

For turkey hunting, your accompanying hunter is required to have a current-year spring turkey hunting license. However, it does not need to match your apprentice license in terms of hunt unit and season dates.

Supervision Limitations for Accompanying Hunters:

An accompanying hunter can supervise and be responsible for no more than two apprentice hunters at any given time.

For those interested in the apprentice hunting program or needing further clarification on hunting regulations in Michigan, contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or visit their website.

Michigan Mentored Youth Hunting Program Overview

Introduction to the Mentored Youth Hunting Program:

The Mentored Youth Hunting Program in Michigan is designed to introduce children aged 9 years and younger to the sport of hunting. A mentor, who must be at least 21 years old, experienced in hunting, and holding a valid Michigan hunting license (excluding an apprentice license), supervises the young hunter.

Privileges of Mentored Youth License:

Mentored youth can utilize their license for a comprehensive range of hunting and fishing activities. This includes:

  • Hunting for small game and waterfowl,
  • Turkey hunting (both spring and fall seasons),
  • Deer hunting,
  • Trapping furbearers,
  • Fishing for all species.

There are additional rules specific to each activity; complete details are available in the Michigan Hunting Digest or at Michigan.gov/MentoredHunting.

Spring Turkey Hunting for Mentored Youth:

Mentored youth hunters are allowed to harvest one bearded turkey during the spring season. They are provided with one kill tag, which is valid across all open spring turkey hunt units on both public and private land.

Spring Turkey Tag Application for Mentored Youth:

Mentored youth hunters are not required to apply for a separate spring turkey license. The kill tag necessary for hunting turkey is included with their comprehensive mentored youth license. It is important to note that like all hunters, mentored youth are permitted only one spring turkey tag.

Application Requirement for Mentored Youth License:

There is no application process to acquire the mentored youth license. The license can be directly purchased, simplifying access for younger hunters eager to learn the hunting tradition under safe and guided conditions.

The goal of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program is to cultivate a new generation of responsible hunters by providing hands-on experience in the field. For mentors, parents, and young hunters seeking additional information or ready to partake in this program, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is the primary source for guidelines, licenses, and other resources.

Michigan Special Hunting Opportunities for Youth and Hunters with Disabilities

Youth Hunting at Fort Custer Training Center:

Properly licensed youth hunters have the opportunity to participate in turkey hunting at the Fort Custer Training Center located near Battle Creek. This initiative is specifically for holders of the Hunt 0301 license. Benefits of this program include:

  • Availability of mentors for each young hunter,
  • Complimentary housing facilities,
  • Range time for participants to practice their shooting skills.

Hunting for Individuals with Disabilities:

May offers special hunting opportunities for hunters with disabilities who possess the appropriate Hunt 0234 license. These opportunities are crafted to accommodate the unique needs of these hunters, ensuring they can also enjoy the hunting experience.

More Information and Contact:

For details regarding the scheduled hunt dates and the full range of services provided, interested parties can explore FortCusterHunt.org or reach out to the administration via phone at 269-282-7878.

These programs are part of a broader effort to ensure hunting remains an inclusive, accessible activity that accommodates the needs and aspirations of various groups within the community, fostering a diverse and welcoming hunting culture in Michigan.

Michigan Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Hunting Hours - Zone A

April

Date Time Zone A (a.m.) Time Zone A (p.m.)
April 22 6:10 7:52
April 23 6:09 7:53
April 24 6:07 7:54
April 25 6:06 7:55
April 26 6:04 7:56
April 27 6:03 7:57
April 28 6:02 7:58
April 29 6:00 8:00
April 30 5:59 8:01

May - June

Date Time Zone A (a.m.) Time Zone A (p.m.)
May 1 5:57 8:02
May 2 5:56 8:03
May 3 5:55 8:04
May 4 5:53 8:05
May 5 5:52 8:06
May 6 5:51 8:07
May 7 5:50 8:08
May 8 5:48 8:10
May 9 5:47 8:11
May 10 5:46 8:12
May 11 5:45 8:13
May 12 5:44 8:14
May 13 5:43 8:15
May 14 5:42 8:16
May 15 5:41 8:17
May 16 5:40 8:18
May 17 5:39 8:19
May 18 5:38 8:20
May 19 5:37 8:21
May 20 5:36 8:22
May 21 5:35 8:23
May 22 5:34 8:24
May 23 5:34 8:25
May 24 5:33 8:26
May 25 5:32 8:27
May 26 5:31 8:28
May 27 5:31 8:28
May 28 5:30 8:29
May 29 5:30 8:30
May 30 5:29 8:31
May 31 5:29 8:32
June 1 5:28 8:33
June 2 5:28 8:33
June 3 5:27 8:34
June 4 5:27 8:35
June 5 5:26 8:35
June 6 5:26 8:36
June 7 5:26 8:37

Michigan Spring Turkey Hunting Bag Limit and Licensing Rules

Bag Limit Per License:

Each spring turkey license permits a hunter to harvest one bearded turkey. This delineates the legal bag limit to ensure sustainable turkey populations and fair chase ethics.

Restrictions on Type of Turkey:

Only bearded turkeys, which are typically males, are eligible for harvest in the spring turkey hunting season. Hens and any turkey without a beard cannot be legally taken.

Limit on Spring Turkey License Purchases:

Hunters are restricted to purchasing a single spring turkey license. There is no option to buy multiple kill tags for the purpose of harvesting more than one turkey in the spring season.

Rules on Tagging Turkeys:

Kill tags are personal and must only be affixed to turkeys harvested by the licensed individual:

  • It is illegal to place your tag on a turkey shot by another person.
  • Kill tags cannot be reused; a tag is valid for one turkey only.
  • Sharing kill tags between friends or any other individuals is against the law.

For a comprehensive understanding of the regulations or to report any violations encountered, Michigan hunters should refer to the official guidelines issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These laws safeguard both the wildlife and the hunting community, ensuring ethical and responsible hunting practices.

Michigan Turkey Hunting: Approved Equipment and Methods

Permissible Equipment for Harvesting Turkeys:

Hunters have several options for legally harvesting turkeys in Michigan:

  • Bows and arrows,
  • Crossbows,
  • Firearms capable of firing fixed shotgun shells,
  • Muzzleloading shotguns. It is unlawful to have in possession any other type of firearm. Additionally, the use of pneumatic guns loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller is authorized.

Carrying a Concealed Pistol:

Individuals with a valid Concealed Pistol License (CPL) may carry their pistol while hunting. This is an exception to the regulations restricting the types of firearms carried in the field.

Authorized Ammunition for Turkey Hunting:

When pursuing wild turkeys, hunters must use:

  • Shotgun shells loaded with No. 4 shot or smaller,
  • No. 4 or smaller loose shot specifically for muzzleloading shotguns. No other ammunition is allowed while afield during turkey hunting season.

Recommendations on Nontoxic Shot Usage:

Michigan law doesn't demand the use of nontoxic shot for turkey hunting; still, hunters are encouraged to use nontoxic shot to minimize environmental impact.

Crossbow Arrow Restrictions:

Those hunting with crossbows must use:

  • Arrows, bolts, or quarrels at least 14 inches long,
  • Broadhead points at least 7/8 inch wide.

Rules for Elevated Stands and Tree Stands:

Turkey hunting from elevated stands, or trees, using legal weapons, is permitted. However, climbers and tree stands are not allowed on state lands during the spring season. For fall and winter, their use on state lands is only permissible from September 1 through March 1.

Use of Dogs:

Using hunting dogs for pursuing turkeys is not permitted during Michigan's spring turkey season; this restriction is in place to ensure fair chase and safety for both hunters and pets.

Regulations on Shooting Turkeys in Trees:

It is illegal to take turkeys while they are positioned in trees, upholding the principles of ethical hunting.

For current regulations, tips, and further details on hunting methods, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or consult the latest Michigan Hunting Digest.

Baiting Regulations for Turkeys

Baiting Prohibition

It is unlawful to use bait as an aid in the taking of a wild turkey.

Definition of "Bait"

For the purpose of this regulation, "bait" is defined as a substance composed of grain, fruit, vegetables, or other food strategically placed to lure or entice wild turkeys. It's important to note that this regulation excludes standing farm crops considered part of normal agricultural practices or other naturally growing grains, fruits, or vegetables.

Report any violations or concerns related to turkey baiting at Michigan.gov/WildlifeEnforcement.

Decoys and Calls Regulations

Mechanical, Electronic, or Live Decoys

The use of mechanical, electronic, or live decoys is strictly prohibited.

Definition of "Mechanical Decoy"

A mechanical decoy is defined as any device designed or constructed to use motion as a visual stimulus to attract a wild turkey.

Wind-Driven Decoys

A wind sock or similar decoy body anchored into the ground, with motion derived exclusively from the natural wind, is considered legal.

Stalking with Handheld Decoys/Silhouettes

Stalking turkeys using handheld decoys or silhouettes is not permitted.

Electronic Turkey Calls

The use or possession of electronic devices imitating turkey calls is illegal.

Report any violations or concerns related to decoys and calls at Michigan.gov/WildlifeEnforcement.

Michigan Turkey Harvest Validation and Tagging Requirements

Immediate Tagging Upon Harvest:

As per Michigan hunting regulations, any harvested turkey must be tagged immediately. The act of validating the license is accomplished by:

  • Notching out the designated areas on the license to indicate the date and time of the kill,
  • Firmly attaching the validated license to a leg of the turkey.

Prohibition on Untagged Possession:

It is unlawful to:

  • Transport,
  • Possess, or
  • Have under your control a harvested turkey, unless it has the validated license attached as required.

Adhering to these rules is crucial for legal compliance and supports wildlife management efforts. Hunters may take photos with the turkey only after it has been properly tagged according to these guidelines.

For clarification on tagging procedures or additional questions related to harvest validation in Michigan, hunters are encouraged to refer to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources resources or to reach out directly to the DNR.

Michigan Turkey Hunting: Reporting and Feedback to the DNR

Providing Feedback on Hunting Experience:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) values your input regarding your turkey hunting experience. Following the conclusion of your hunting season, you are encouraged to report your activities and share feedback by visiting Michigan.gov/Turkey. The information collected is crucial for better management practices and informed decision-making about future hunting seasons.

Contributing to Turkey Population Management:

In addition to post-hunting season reports, the DNR seeks your help in January to track wild turkey sightings. Such sightings play a significant role in understanding and managing turkey populations across Michigan. You can report these observations on the same Michigan.gov/Turkey webpage or get in touch with a local DNR office, the contact information for which can be found at the back of the hunting digest. Rest assured, any data you share regarding turkey sightings is confidential and solely used for management purposes.

Engaging in these reporting opportunities directly supports the DNR's efforts to maintain a sustainable and thriving turkey population while enhancing the hunting experience in Michigan's great outdoors.

Aging Wild Turkeys by Spur Length

Spur Length and Gobbler Age

Spur Length (in.) Curvature Sharpness Age of Gobbler
Less than 0.5” None Rounded Younger than 1 year
0.5” to 1” Straight Blunt 1 to 2 years
1” to 1.25” Slightly Curved Pointed 2 to 3 years
Over 1.25” Curved Sharp Older than 3 years

Wild Turkey Cooperator Patch Program

Coordination and Cost

Michigan’s wild turkey patch program is coordinated by the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with the DNR. Adult hunters, collectors, and interested individuals can purchase the patch for $6, including postage and handling.

Ordering Information

To order a patch, visit MINWTF.org. Mail-in orders are no longer accepted, except for youth hunters who can receive a free patch.

Delivery Time

Expect to receive your patch within four to six weeks after ordering.

Eligibility and Free Patch for Youth Hunters

Harvesting a turkey is not a requirement for purchasing a patch. Youth hunters, aged 17 and under, with a valid wild turkey hunting license, can obtain a free patch by sending their name, complete address, and a legible copy of their hunting license to the National Wild Turkey Federation at P.O. Box 471, Schoolcraft, MI 49087.

National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)

The NWTF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to wild turkey conservation and the preservation of hunting traditions. Proceeds from patch sales contribute to funding wild turkey-related projects and management in Michigan. Annually, the NWTF collaborates with the DNR, contributing over $300,000 to wild turkey and hunter-heritage programs in the state. For inquiries, email miturkeypatch@gmail.com.

Michigan Dioxin Exposure Advisory for Game Hunters

Understanding Dioxin Risks:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) alongside Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has detected elevated levels of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds in wild game from the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River floodplains, downstream of Midland. Affected wild game includes deer, turkey, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, wood duck, and Canada goose.

Recommendations for Hunters:

Due to the health risks associated with dioxin contamination, the following advisories are in place for those hunting turkey in the specified areas:

  • Turkey Consumption: Do not consume turkey harvested within or in proximity to the floodplain of the Tittabawassee River downstream of Midland. If you choose to consume turkey from this region, always discard the skin, liver, and gizzard.

  • Other Wild Game: Although not explicitly tested, other wild game in this area may also harbor dioxin. To reduce dioxin exposure:

    • Trim visible fat before cooking,
    • Refrain from consuming organ meats like the liver and brains,
    • Avoid eating the skin of the game.

Where to Find More Information:

For a detailed understanding of dioxin impact, additional advisories, and to access a map outlining the advisory area, visit the MDHHS website at Michigan.gov/Dioxin.

Reporting Diseased Wildlife and Commercial Guiding on Public Lands in Michigan

Reporting Sick or Dead Wildlife:

If you encounter sickly or deceased wild turkeys, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges you to make a report at Michigan.gov/EyesInTheField. When reporting, include precise details regarding the location and condition of the wildlife, as well as the number of affected animals. For questions or further assistance, contact the Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.

Commercial Turkey Hunting Guides on State-Owned Lands:

Before guiding turkey hunters on Michigan's state-owned lands, commercial hunting guides must acquire written permission from the DNR. Compliance with specified conditions is mandatory under this authorization. Guides looking to obtain the necessary authorization or inquiring about state land use can find additional information at Michigan.gov/StateLandPermission or by contacting a DNR customer service center.

Commercial Turkey Hunting Guides on National Forest Lands:

To guide turkey hunting in National Forest (NF) territories, you must possess a special use permit. Corresponding applications for guiding on NF lands are available from NF offices or by reaching out to:

  • Hiawatha National Forest: 906-428-5800
  • Huron-Manistee National Forest: 231-775-5023
  • Ottawa National Forest: 906-932-1330

These requirements ensure a structured approach to wildlife-related commercial activities on public lands, aligning with conservation efforts and sustainable management practices.

Hunting Opportunities in Michigan: Accessing Public and Private Lands

Michigan boasts an expansive network of land available for hunting, encompassing over 4.5 million acres managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This includes, but isn't limited to, state forests, wildlife areas, and recreational lands that are open to hunting enthusiasts.

In addition to public lands, there are millions of acres of private land that have been leased or enrolled in various programs to permit hunting access for the public. This cooperative approach greatly enhances the number of accessible hunting areas throughout the state.

To discover specific hunting locations, review regulations, and gain insights into the types of game available in different regions, visit Michigan.gov/Hunting. This resource serves as a comprehensive gateway to all things related to hunting in Michigan, tailored to both seasoned hunters and those new to the sport.

Consequences of Poaching in Turkey Hunting

Legal Ramifications

Violations of turkey hunting regulations, including application violations, are considered misdemeanors. The penalties for such misdemeanors may include up to 90 days of imprisonment, fines of up to $1,000, and license revocation for a maximum of five years. Additionally, individuals found guilty of the unlawful taking of a wild turkey face a reimbursement fee of $1,000 per animal, with an additional $1,000 for a turkey with a beard.

Reporting Suspected Poaching

If you witness any natural resource violation, including poaching, report it promptly by texting or calling 800-292-7800. The phone lines operate 24/7, and you have the option to remain anonymous.

2023 Spring Turkey Workshops

New Hunter Orientation

For individuals new to turkey hunting, the DNR, Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, and other organizations may offer wild turkey hunter orientation courses. These programs may involve a fee, and space could be limited. Check Michigan.gov/Turkey for event details.

Turkey Tracts for New Hunters

What are Turkey Tracts?

Turkey Tracts refer to a series of actively managed, walk-in wild turkey hunting areas in southern Michigan. These areas provide accessible walking trails, kiosks with maps and information, making them ideal for new hunters to explore. Developed in collaboration with hunters and partners like the National Wild Turkey Federation, this program aims to showcase local wildlife management on public hunting grounds and facilitate connections between hunters and local businesses.

Visit Michigan.gov/Turkey for Location Information

Explore Michigan.gov/Turkey to find details about Turkey Tract locations and make the most of these managed hunting areas.

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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.