RUMFORD – People taking to the woods for a day hike or looking for vernal pools across western, central and southern Maine should be mindful of the spring wild turkey hunting season.

It starts Saturday, May 2, with a youth-only day and opens for adults on Monday, May 4.

The season trots through to June 6 in most of the state, except for northern sections and far eastern areas along the coast.

For a map go to: www.maine.gov/ifw/wildlife/management/wmd/map.htm.

Hunters must have a valid spring wild turkey permit and a valid Maine resident hunting license or a valid nonresident or alien big-game hunting license to hunt wild turkey.

A valid archery license also enables hunting of wild turkey with bow and arrow in Maine.

Permits to harvest wild turkeys in the hunt may be bought online using Maine Online Sportsmen’s Electronic System at www.mefishwildlife.com, at any of the more than 280 MOSES or licensing agents statewide or at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife headquarters in Augusta.

Legal spring hunting hours are half an hour before sunrise until noon. Hunters can only bag one bearded wild turkey per permit holder per season.

Only shotgun gauges 10 through 20 using shot sizes 4 through 6, or bow and arrow can be used.

Junior hunters participating on Youth Day must be 10 years old or older but under age 16. They must have both a junior hunting license and spring wild turkey permit. Adult supervision is required, however, the accompanying adult can’t hold a firearm or bow during Youth Hunting Day.

Like adults, junior hunters can only bag one bearded wild turkey.

Be forewarned that those turkey gobbling sounds catching your attention while hiking or hunting, might actually be coming from a turkey hunter. Electronic calling devices are legal during the spring hunt.

Last year, 19,445 permits were issued and 6,348 turkeys were harvested, according to IF&W spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte


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