Turkey Hunting in Michigan

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  • B
  • 200,000 plus

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 616,278

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Getting legal to hunt Michigan turkeys isn't as challenging as it first appears.

You can apply for one limited-quota license, for a specific spring turkey hunt unit during specific season dates. The fee is $5. Applicants selected in the drawing may then purchase a limited-quota license online or at a license agent. 

No worries if you missed the original lottery deadline (Jan. 1-Feb. 1, 2022). After the drawing, leftover licenses are sold until quotas are met. Of course, based on hunter applicants, some may or may not be available for some hunt units or dates. Leftover licenses, if available, can be purchased beginning Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Some 30,362 turkeys were taken during the 2020 season, the latest available harvest data.

Where to Hunt

Michigan offers 7.4 million acres of forest land open to public hunting in both the northern Lower Peninsula as well as the Upper Peninsula. 

The northern Lower was once Michigan's turkey go-to area, but southern Michigan has taken over that title. The Upper Peninsula has a growing population of turkeys and low hunting pressure. 

As with most turkey country, good scouting to put yourself in an area with huntable numbers of birds is key here ("200,000 plus," according to the National Wild Turkey Federation). 

The middle part of the Lower Peninsula has the best turkey numbers. Allegan, Jackson, Kent, Lapeer, Montcalm, Newaygo, Saginaw, St. Clair and Tuscola Counties lead the turkey tally annually.

Turkey populations continue to grow in this northern state. In 1989, 22,195 hunters tagged just 6,195 turkeys in Michigan. By 2010, 92,500 hunters shot 37,000 turkeys – and, as noted above, kills have topped 30,000 on average in recent years.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Michigan (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

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