CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday is the first day of the spring turkey hunting season in Massachusetts. Here is everything you need to know about this hunting season.

Turkey hunting in the spring always begins on the last Monday in April and ends on the fourth Saturday after the season begins. This year, the season is held from April 24 to May 20 in all zones across the state. Turkey hunting is only allowed a half an hour before sunrise through noon.

Hunting equipment

Hunting turkey in Massachusetts requires a hunting or sporting license as well as a turkey permit. Hunters are limited to two bearded turkeys in the spring.

This season, hunters are allowed to use shotguns, muzzleloaders and archery equipment. An official safety sticker is required on any shotgun or muzzleloader. The sticker must be visible when you are sighting down the barrel. Wearing blaze orange is not required during the spring.

Hunting methods

A licensed turkey hunter can call turkeys for another hunter, however the caller is not allowed to carry a firearm or archery equipment if they have already taken their limit of turkeys.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to hunt turkeys with the following methods:

  • Electronic calls
  • Dogs
  • Bait
  • Drive/herd turkeys
  • Live decoys

It is also illegal for hunters to intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead animal in the field without making an effort to retrieve it. However, this does not apply to animals that are unfit for consumption or use, such as those that are decayed, rotting, diseases or infected.

Reporting your turkeys

Hunters must report their turkeys within 48 hours of harvest. The state has an online check state map for where to report to. Other tips for reporting are the following:

  • Fill out and attach the paper tag from your permit on the carcass immediately after harvesting a turkey.
  • The game must remain intact, with the tag attached, until reported and prepared for food or taxidermy purposes.
  • Report your harvest at an official check station or online with MassFishHunt.
  • If you report online, write your confirmation number on the harvest tag attached to the carcass.

Turkey hunting tips

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife provides tips to turkey hunters for a safe and successful season. Hunters should also remember the following:

  • Always follow the 10 basic rules of firearm safety.
  • Be completely sure of your target and what is beyond it before you shoot. Always practice firearm safety.
  • Don’t stalk turkey sounds; it could be another hunter. Sit or stand and call the birds to you.
  • Do not wear red, white, blue, or black; these colors are associated with male turkeys.
  • Protect your back. Set up against a large tree or rock and make sure your view isn’t obstructed. Don’t hide in a place with an obstructed view.
  • Do not place decoys too close to where you set up. Never carry an exposed decoy or tail fan while hunting; put them in a bag when carrying them in or out of hunting locations.
  • Consider wearing hunter orange when entering or leaving your hunting area.
  • Regulation requires that all hunters place an official green Turkey Safety Sticker on their firearm positioned so it’s visible when sighting down the barrel. If you need a new or replacement sticker for your firearm, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: MassWildlife, Attn: Turkey Safety Sticker, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581. To ensure enough time to process and return mail safety stickers prior to opening day, please submit requests by April 14. Requests received after April 14 may not be fulfilled before opening day.