The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is proposing changes to our turkey hunting rules.
During the spring season the split A/B season in WMDs 1 through 6 is proposed to be eliminated and would be open to all hunters.
During the fall season the Department is proposing to change the start date to the Monday closest to September 17 annually; establish a youth fall wild turkey hunting day; increase bag limits in WMDs 15-17 and 20-26, and expand options for shotgun gauges and shot size legal for wild turkey hunting to include shotgun gauges 10 through 28 and .410 with the use of shot sizes 2 through 9.
Here is the department’s explanation.
If adopted, this rule will open the spring wild turkey hunting season in Wildlife Management Districts 1 through 6 to all hunters for the entirety of the season by eliminating the split A/B season based on even and odd birth years; will expand the regular fall wild turkey hunting season by starting on the Monday closest to the 17th of September and running to November 7; open a youth only wild turkey hunting day in the fall on the Saturday preceding the first day of the regular fall wild turkey hunting season; increase the fall wild turkey hunting season bag limit in Wildlife Management Districts 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 from two to five birds, of which can be either male or female; increase the fall wild turkey hunting season bag limit in Wildlife Management District 26 from one to three birds, of which can be either male or female, and expand the options for shotgun gauges and shot size legal for wild turkey hunting to include shotgun gauges 10 through 28, and .410 with the use of shot sizes 2 through 9.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF RELEVANT INFORMATION CONSIDERED DURING DEVELOPMENT OF THE RULE (including up to 3 primary sources relied upon): Input from regional biologists and harvest rates indicate that overall, turkey numbers in Maine have been stable to increasing in some areas of the state and could sustain an increased harvest and participation. Non-toxic, denser than lead shot size options are becoming more available in various shotgun shell gauges that are effective in harvesting wild turkeys. These options allow smaller gauge shotguns for youth hunters to pursue wild turkeys. The Department also recognizes the need to educate wild turkey hunters on recommended shot sizes, load densities and chokes that are most effective.