Turkey Hunting in Maine

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  • B
  • 60,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 12,750 (turkey permits)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $35

    Small-game license ($15) plus turkey permit ($20).

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $70

    3-day small-game license ($50) plus turkey permit ($20).

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

The last day of this spring's Maine turkey season is June 1, 2019.

And of course you're wondering, can you still work a bird this time of the year?

Yes, in fact a buddy of mine killed one last spring on the last day of the season. Gobbling birds, one eventually coming to the calls, the whole deal.

As we drove to the checking station – required here along with a transportation tag placed on your turkey – I thought his might be the only bird registered that final Saturday.

I thought wrong. Several other turkeys had been that morning, too.

So what else do you need to know about the longest running spring turkey season in the country? 

With an estimated population of 60,000 birds, a five-week spring turkey season and low hunter pressure in the northern two-thirds of Maine, it makes sense to work the Pine Tree State into your schedule.

C grade? No way, though it is pretty far from you folks on the West Coast.

A? Not quite, for some reasons I'll detail shortly. 

There's no Sunday hunting, so non-residents visiting here should plan around this. This also makes it tricky for resident folks who work a five- or six-day week. Not much time to hunt for them.

Steamed lobster with melted butter, trout fishing and other recreational activities can add to your time here though. That's all a big upside.

There are two Maines, namely, the one running from the New Hampshire border north to Portland, and the vast land beyond that city, all the way to Canada.

York and Cumberland counties to the south have high turkey numbers, as the original trap-and-transfer efforts took place here. Unfortunately it's also seeing increasing suburban development.

Yes, there are lots of turkeys in southern Maine, but much of the land is locked up with posted signs. Areas open to hunting such as agricultural farms see a lot of pressure here.

Don't give up though. Much of the land in Maine is privately owned, but access can be granted if you're courteous and persistent while knocking on doors. 

Want less of an access challenge? Turkey hunt western and central Maine. 

As brood-rearing information goes, the MDIFW indicates hatch production is stable, with a 4.2 poult-to-hen ratio the last handful of years. While this isn't high, southernmost, western and central Maine locations have good turkey numbers.

And the cost of turkey hunting here for both the resident and non-resident is among the most affordable in the country, especially if visitors opt for the three-day small game license and turkey permit.

Maine Turkey Hunting Fact: Spring turkey hunting hours opened a half hour before sunrise and closed a half hour after sunset for the first time in modern history during the 2014 season. This hasn't increased hunting pressure all that much though in the last several years. 

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Maine (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

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