Turkey hunting questions & answers

Do spring wild turkey hunters need to select and hunt in one permit area only?

No. All spring turkey hunters, including archery-only, youth and firearms may hunt statewide, starting this year. All hunters will be asked which permit area they hunt most (to provide information on expected harvest pressure), but this does not restrict the license holder to that unit.

Access to the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater Wildlife Management Areas during time periods A-C is by lottery only. Any hunter with a valid spring turkey license may hunt these areas after the C time period.

Do I need to apply in the lottery for a time period in order to hunt spring turkey?

No. There is no longer a need to apply in a lottery to purchase any spring turkey license. Spring turkey licenses for all seasons (A-F) may be purchased over the counter beginning March 1.

Who needs to apply in the lottery? When does the application period open and what’s the deadline?

Applications were required only for firearms hunters age 18 and older who wish to hunt in the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater Wildlife Management Areas. If you want to apply for the lottery to hunt in the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater Wildlife Management Areas:

  • Successful applicants have received notification. This notice is your permit to hunt in the wildlife management area you selected in the lottery.
  • Youth hunters (age 17 and younger) and hunters with archery-only licenses may hunt in these areas without being selected in the lottery.
Can I hunt a different time period if I don’t fill my tag during an earlier season?

Firearms hunters who do not tag a turkey in their selected time period may also hunt the final time period (F). Archery-only and youth hunters may hunt throughout any time period, including F.

Since there’s no lottery for A and B time period spring turkey licenses, what happens to my preference points?

Preference points that hunters accumulated by applying and not being drawn for a spring turkey license will be applied to the lottery for access to the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery and Whitewater wildlife management areas.

How do these changes effect recently discharged military, active military, Purple Heart recipients and disabled veterans?

License privileges for these hunters have not changed. Lottery privileges for recently discharged military, active military, Purple Heart recipients and disabled veterans transfer to the lottery for access to the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater wildlife management areas.

Military who may access the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater wildlife management areas without applying in the lottery:

  • Legal residents on military leave
  • Legal residents discharged from the military in past two years from duty outside the United States

Military who are guaranteed access the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery or Whitewater wildlife management areas but are required to apply in the lottery:

  • Legal residents discharged in past two years but not from duty outside the United States
  • Purple heart recipients
  • 100% service disability

See the Hunting Regulations Book for additional information on licenses for military personnel.

I hunted one of the early time periods (A-E) but wasn’t successful, do I have to purchase a different license if I want to hunt the F season?

No. Any hunter who has not yet tagged a turkey may hunt during the F season without purchasing an additional license. This includes firearm hunters who possess a tag from the A-E time periods as well as archery only and youth hunters.

Is there a minimum age for youth to hunt turkey and can youth hunt in any area?

There is no minimum age for youth hunters. Hunters age 17 and under may purchase a reduced-price license (free license if under age 13) and may hunt any area throughout the entire spring wild turkey season (April 15-May 31). See the Hunting Regulations for additional requirements and limitations for youth hunters and assisting youth hunters.

I already purchased a spring turkey firearms license, can I switch it to an archery license?

Yes. A person who has purchased a spring turkey license valid for one of the A-F time periods may switch to an archery license if they submit their original license and tags before the season of the original license opens. Similarly, a person may exchange an early time period license for a later time period before the original time period opens.

There is a fee of $5 plus a $1 issuing charge (total fee: $6) for switching licenses. Any ELS agent can switch licenses.

When and how do I find out if I was drawn for the lottery?

Successful applicants will receive a notice in the mail by mid-February indicating their selected wildlife management area and time period. This notice will serve as their permit to access the area. Hunters are required to carry the notice and their valid spring turkey license while hunting the WMA.

Successful applicants will still need to purchase a spring wild turkey license for the corresponding time period when licenses go on sale March 1.

How do we apply for the lottery as group?

You may submit a group application with a party of up to four hunters. All of your group members must apply for the same wildlife management area and time period. The hunter with the lowest preference rating determines the rating for the group. If we draw your group application, all group members will receive a license. The first applicant of each group will receive a group ID number, which is printed on your receipt. The remaining group members must use this ID number when applying in order to be included in the group.

Can I use a .410 shotgun for turkey hunting?

Yes. Any shotgun or muzzleloader shotgun 10 gauge or smaller may be used. Only shot size No. 4 or smaller (sizes 4, 5, 6, 7½, etc.) may be used.

I purchased a spring turkey/fall turkey firearms license, can I hunt the entire state or do I have to stay in a specific area?

Hunters may hunt statewide, except access to the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery and Whitewater wildlife management areas during time periods A-C is by lottery only. All hunters, including youth and archery-only license holders, will be asked which permit area they hunt most (to provide information on expected harvest pressure), but this does not restrict the license holder to that unit.

Can I have both archery and firearms afield when I’m turkey hunting?

Spring turkey hunters who possess a license valid for a single time period could have both legal firearms and legal archery equipment (including a crossbow) afield at the same time. Archery-only license holders would be limited only to legal bows and arrows (not including crossbows).

Fall turkey hunters could have a crossbow, firearm or archery equipment afield. Fall turkey hunters who are also hunting archery deer may not possess a crossbow. They may only possess legal bows and arrows.

Hunters who possess a disability permit are allowed to use crossbows whether they possess an archery-only license or a license valid for a single time period.

What is the limit, and can I harvest a hen during the fall?

The bag limit for the spring hunt is one wild turkey with a visible beard. The beard is a feathered appendage protruding from the breast that is generally found only on males. The bag limit for the fall hunt is one bird of either sex.

Is there a waiting period for turkey licenses or can I hunt right away?

Licenses for spring turkey hunting are valid upon issuance. There is no waiting period.

Can you harvest a turkey in the spring and in the fall?

Yes, provided you have the correct license for each season.

Can I use a crossbow?

Crossbows may be used for wild turkey

  • By any person using a valid firearms license during the spring wild turkey season
  • By persons 60 or older under an archery-only license (no disability permit needed)
  • By any person with a disability permit under an archery-only license
  • By any person during the fall wild turkey season
What shot sizes are legal?

Shot size must be No. 4 or smaller. For example sizes 4, 5, 6, 7½, 8, etc. may be used for hunting wild turkey.