Hunting Hours

Youth Day

  • Hunting Hours:
    • Begin 1/2 hour before sunrise.
    • Conclude at 5:00 p.m.

Spring Turkey Season

  • Hunting Hours:
    • Begin 1/2 hour before sunrise.
    • End at noon.

Fall Turkey Season

  • Hunting Hours:
    • Begin 1/2 hour before sunrise.
    • End 1/2 hour after sunset.

For accurate scheduling, reference the provided sunrise/sunset table, ensuring compliance with the specified hunting hours during Youth Day, Spring Turkey Season, and Fall Turkey Season. Adhering to these timeframes is crucial for ethical and legal hunting practices.

Required Licenses, Permits, and Safety Sticker for Turkey Hunting

Massachusetts Residents

To engage in turkey hunting in Massachusetts, residents must obtain the following licenses, permits, and safety sticker, available for purchase on MassFishHunt:

  • Hunting or Sporting License
  • Turkey Permit
  • Safety Sticker*

Non-Residents

Non-residents participating in turkey hunting in Massachusetts are required to obtain the following licenses, permits, and safety sticker:

  • Big Game License
  • Turkey Permit
  • Safety Sticker*

Safety Sticker Information

  • For Shotgun or Muzzleloader:

    • An official safety sticker must be affixed to the gun.
    • The sticker must be visible when sighting down the barrel.
  • Obtaining or Replacing Sticker:

    • For a new or replacement safety sticker, visit any MassWildlife office.
    • Alternatively, email mass.wildlife@mass.gov, and a sticker will be mailed to you.

Identifying Male and Female Turkeys in the Spring

To accurately determine the sex of turkeys and avoid misidentification, observe the following features:

Tom (Male)

  • Head:

    • Colors: Red, blue, or white.
    • Snood: Present (fleshy mass over the beak).
  • Body:

    • Color: Light, rusty brown.
    • Beard: Usually no beard.
    • Spurs: Usually absent.
  • Calls:

    • Gobble, drum.
  • Strut:

    • Struts with tail fanned and wings dropped.
  • Size:

    • Larger than a hen.

Hen (Female)

  • Head:

    • Color: Blue-gray.
    • Snood: Absent.
  • Body:

    • Color: Dark, brown-black.
    • Beard: Present.
  • Spurs:

    • Present.
  • Calls:

    • Yelps, clucks, cuts.
  • Strut:

    • Does not strut or fan tail.
  • Size:

    • 1⁄2 to 2⁄3 the size of a tom.

Note: A small proportion of female turkeys may have a beard and can be legally harvested. However, harvesting hens reduces the reproductive potential of the turkey population.

Turkey Bag Limits and Spring Identification Tips

Bag Limits

  • Spring Season:

    • Bag Limit: 2 bearded birds.
    • Note: 2 birds may be harvested on the same day.
  • Fall Season:

    • Bag Limit: 1 turkey of either sex.

Identification Tips for Spring Turkeys

To avoid misidentification and ensure compliance with bag limits, consider the following tips for identifying turkeys during the spring season:

  • Bearded Birds:

    • Spring harvest typically targets bearded birds.
    • Focus on identifying the presence of a beard, which is a filament-like projection from the chest.
  • Gender Identification:

    • Confirm the gender of the turkey before harvesting.
    • Be observant of the features mentioned earlier, such as head color, presence of a snood, body color, beard, spurs, calls, strut behavior, and size.
  • Harvesting on the Same Day:

    • During the spring season, be aware that 2 birds may be legally harvested on the same day.

Hunting Implements for Spring and Fall Turkey Seasons

Spring Season

Shotgun

  • Limitations:
    • No larger than 10 gauge.
    • Shot size no larger than #4.

Muzzleloader

  • Limitations:
    • No larger than .775 caliber smoothbore muzzleloading shotgun.
    • Shot size no larger than #4.

Archery Equipment

  • Draw Weight:

    • All bows must have a draw weight of at least 40 lbs at 28 inches or at peak draw.
  • Arrows:

    • Arrows must have well-sharpened steel broadhead blades not less than 7/8 inches in width.
  • Legal Equipment:

    • Expanding broadheads and hand-held releases are legal.
  • Crossbows:

    • Permitted for certain disabled hunters.
    • Airbows are prohibited.

Fall Season

Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ) 1–13 (Oct. 16 – Oct. 28, 2023)

  • Shotgun, Muzzleloading Shotgun, Archery:
    • Shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, and archery equipment are permitted.

Fall Season Periods

WMZ 1-9
  • Oct. 2 – 14, 2023:

    • No fall turkey hunting.
  • Oct. 16 – 28, 2023:

    • Shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, archery.
  • Oct. 30 – Nov. 25, 2023:

    • Archery equipment only.
WMZ 10-13
  • Oct. 2 – 14, 2023:

    • Archery equipment only.
  • Oct. 16 – 28, 2023:

    • Shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, archery.
  • Oct. 30 – Nov. 25, 2023:

    • Archery equipment only.

Blaze Orange Requirements for Turkey Seasons

Spring Turkey Season

  • Blaze Orange Requirement:
    • Blaze orange is not required during the spring turkey season.

Fall Turkey Season

  • Blaze Orange Requirement:
    • A blaze orange cap is required when hunting on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) stocked with pheasants or quail during the respective pheasant or quail season.

Adhering to these blaze orange requirements ensures safety and visibility during specific hunting seasons, contributing to a secure hunting environment.

Turkey Hunting Methods and Regulations

Legal Turkey Hunting Methods

  • Calling for Another Hunter:
    • A licensed turkey hunter may call turkeys for another hunter.
    • The caller cannot carry a firearm or archery equipment if they have reached the season limit of turkeys.
    • The caller must have a valid license and turkey permit in possession, even if tags are no longer attached.

Illegal Turkey Hunting Methods

It is illegal to hunt turkeys using any of the following methods:

  • Electronic Calls
  • Dogs
  • Bait
  • Drive/Herding Turkeys
  • Live Decoys

Wanton Waste Prohibition

  • 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 provision does not apply to animals unfit for consumption or use—animals and their parts that are damaged, destroyed, decayed, rotting, diseased, or infected.

Turkey Tagging, Transporting, and Reporting Requirements

To ensure compliance with regulations and responsible hunting practices, hunters must adhere to the following tagging, transporting, and reporting requirements for harvested turkeys:

Reporting Requirements

  • Reporting Timeframe:

    • Report your game within 48 hours of harvest.
  • Tagging Immediately:

    • Fill out and attach the paper tag from your permit on the turkey carcass immediately after harvesting.
  • Game Integrity:

    • The harvested game must remain intact, with the tag securely attached, until reported and prepared for food or taxidermy purposes.
  • Reporting Methods:

    • Report your harvest at an official check station or online with MassFishHunt.
  • Online Reporting:

    • If reporting online, write your confirmation number on the harvest tag attached to the turkey carcass.

Wild Turkey Hunting Regulations Summary

Reference and Legal Framework

  • This page serves as a reference; it is not the entire law and is subject to change.
  • For comprehensive information on wild turkey hunting laws and regulations, refer to the Wild Turkey Hunting regulations in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, 321 CMR 3.02(9), and the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131.

Hunting Season Framework

Spring Turkey Season

  • Duration:
    • Last Monday in April to the 4th Saturday thereafter.

Fall Turkey Season

  • WMZ 1-9:
    • Begins on the 6th Monday prior to Thanksgiving and ends on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
  • WMZ 10-13:
    • Begins on the 8th Monday prior to Thanksgiving and ends on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
  • Days Inclusive:
    • All days except no Sunday hunting.

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.

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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.