Reminders and opportunities for Massachusetts turkey hunters

The spring turkey hunting season opens throughout most of Massachusetts on April 30, 2012. Do you have your turkey permits? Have you found a place to hunt?  Are you familiar with safe turkey hunting methods? If successful, how do you report your turkey harvest? MassWildlife offers the following information for turkey hunters regarding new permit procedures, turkey hunting opportunities and safe turkey hunting methods to follow when hunting.

Turkey Permit Reminder– In order to legally hunt turkeys, licensed hunters must obtain a turkey permit. With the new electronic MassFishHunt system, there is no longer a deadline to apply for a turkey permit, hunters may simply purchase a permit via home computer (www.mass.gov/massfishhunt) or by visiting a license vendor or DFW office to get their permit. A hunting license is required when purchasing the permit.

Information for Youth Turkey Hunters – NEW THIS YEAR: This year, minors 12 – 14 years of age who successfully completed the Youth Turkey Hunt Program will be issued a Youth Turkey Hunt permit with two tags. The permit and tags will be valid for both the Youth Turkey hunt date of April 28, 2012 and the regular spring turkey hunting season. The youth permit and tags are not valid for fall turkey hunting.  As in the past, young turkey hunters aged 12-17 years-old who successfully completed the Youth Turkey Hunt Program in a previous year and plan to hunt on April 28, 2012 must obtain a Youth Turkey permit by completing the Past Participant Application found at www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/education/yath/pdf/yath_past_particpant_form.pdf.  Applications may be mailed or dropped off at: Youth Turkey Permit, MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road (off North Drive), Westborough, MA, 01581.  To ensure the permit will be received before April 28, the application must be received or postmarked by April 13, 2012.   Remember that the daily bag limit is 1 bird/day for both the Youth Turkey Hunt date and the duration of the spring turkey hunting season. All other turkey hunting regulations apply to young turkey hunters.

Turkey Harvest Reporting – Successful turkey hunters must check their turkeys in at an official check station for the spring turkey hunting season.  Because the MassFishHunt online harvest reporting system is still under construction, there will be no opportunity to report turkey harvest on line. A list of turkey check stations is posted at: www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/hunting/turkey/turkey_check_stations.htm

Outdoorswoman Turkey Hunting Seminar– There is still time to sign up for this two-part program designed for the beginning adult woman hunter. The two parts consist of a one-day seminar on April 14 in Shirley and a one-day turkey hunt to be offered May 7 in nearby Devens. If you've taken hunter education and want to try turkey hunting, this is a good next step! Participants may choose to take part in one session or both. Turkey Hunt participants are required to take the Seminar segment if they want to participate in the Hunt. Turkey Hunt participants must also have a valid gun license, shotgun, valid MA 2012 hunting license, and turkey permit. Registration for the Turkey Hunt gives preference to participants new to this hunt program. Deadline for registration is April 6, 2012. Registration materials are at: www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/education/bow/bow_calendar.htm

Turkey Hunting Safety Tips– Finally, all turkey hunters are urged to hunt safely. Being completely sure of your target and what is beyond it before you shoot will reduce the chance of hunting accidents and the number of hens that are mistakenly killed during the spring season. Turkey hunting can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it has associated dangers that the hunter must keep in mind. The wild turkey has a keen sense of sight and can easily detect movement and colors that are out of place in the woods, making the use of complete camouflage or drab colored clothing almost a must. Camouflage not only reduces the turkey's chance of seeing the hunter, but also has the same effect on other hunters, increasing the chances for accidents.  Hunterssneaking up on (stalking) other hunters who are calling and hunters who are wearing turkey colors (red, white, blue, and even black) are involved in a high percentage of reported accidents.  Putting these following safe turkey hunting practices to use will help to ensure that turkey hunting will remain a safe, enjoyable outdoor experience.

Don't stalk birds; sit or stand and call the turkeys to you.
Don't wear red, white, blue or black anywhere on your body where the colors might be exposed during your hunt.
Don't hide in a place where your view is obstructed.
Further tips on turkey hunting safety from MassWildlife and the National Wild Turkey Federation can be found at http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/hunting/turkey/turkey_safety_tips.htm.

Categories: Hunting News, Turkey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *