Fall Turkey Season in Michigan: Know the Key Regulations

Fall Turkey Season in Michigan: Know the Key Regulations

2023 Fall Turkey hunting season in Michigan runs from September 15 to November 14. If you entered the lottery for a license, then you can check here to find out if you were selected. If you weren’t, or if you did not bother with the lottery, you may still be able to participate in the hunt. Check the link above after August 31 to find out if leftover licenses remain available for purchase in the turkey hunting unit where you want to shoot.

Before you head out on a turkey hunt this Fall, we encourage you to give the Department of Natural Resource (DNR) 2023 Fall Turkey Digest a close read. It explains the locations of the hunting units, permitted hunting hours, and regulations all turkey hunters in Michigan need to know.

One bird per license

Your license authorizes you to bag one bird of any sex (DNR encourages taking females during the Fall hunt, to maximize population control). Fortunately, until bag quotas are met, hunters can buy one license per day. Just remember to buy that second (and third, fourth, etc.) fall turkey hunting licenses. You cannot legally take multiple turkeys on a single license, and you must tag every bird you shoot.

Firearms limited to shotguns

It will come as no surprise to experienced Michigan hunters that DNR restricts the 2023 Fall Turkey hunt to traditional bows, crossbows, and shotguns. However, many turkey hunters may not realize that those limitations apply not just to your method of taking a bird, but to all arms you may legally carry while on a turkey hunt (regardless of whether you use them to take a turkey). With limited exceptions for pistols carried with a concealed pistol license, hunters violate Michigan law by carrying any firearm other than a shotgun on a turkey hunt.

No electronic turkey calls, and no decoys at all

Attracting birds by imitating their calls constitutes a tried-and-true method for success on a fall turkey shoot in Michigan. But beware: while using your own voice or a mechanical call to mimic gobbles and clucks is fine, using any sort of electronic device that imitates turkey calls isn’t. The rules get even more strict when it comes to decoys, which are generally prohibited in all forms (with the limited exception of wind indicators). The Fall Turkey Digest also goes out of its way to remind hunters that “stalking with a handheld decoy/silhouette/is illegal.” Given that emphasis, expect game wardens to come down hard on violators of this rule, in particular.

Seek legal help for violations

If a law enforcement officer,  including a Conservation Officer, cites you for violating the Michigan Fall Turkey Season hunt regulation, do not panic, but take the situation seriously. The charge could put your legal rights (including your rights to participate in future hunts) in jeopardy.  Contact us today.