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Michigan Hunting Law and Regulations - Turkey

The State of Michigan has long been recognized as a sportsman paradise, littered with endless opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, and otherwise enjoy the great outdoors. In Michigan, the law enforcement agency responsible for policing these activities is the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or “DNR.” Each year the DNR produces a "Hunting Digest” detailing the rules and laws that apply to hunting in Michigan. That digest is available on the DNR website HERE. The DNR also publishes a "Fall Turkey Digest" available on the DNR website HERE.


It is important that you understand the laws and regulations for the area and game you are hunting in Michigan. Some hunting related offenses can vary based on the county where the offense took place and can be difficult to navigate. Before heading out, research the county and local municipality in which you are hunting to learn of any specific laws and regulations for that area. It is also a great idea to review the DNR Hunting Digest, as it details where and when you can hunt, what equipment you are allowed to hunt with, as well as other ancillary laws. While this blog is not intended to be all encompassing, Bondy Law, PLLC wants you to be prepared for your upcoming hunting experience. In the unfortunate event that you find yourself being investigated with a hunting related offense or charged criminally, it is imperative that you have a lawyer who knows what it takes to defend DNR cases and obtain the best outcome for you and/or your loved one. Contact Bondy Law, PLLC today. We know what it takes to win these cases.


Hunting Laws and Regulations - Turkey


Allowing Wild Turkeys or Hybrids to Escape (C3.300) – You cannot release or allow the escape of Wild Turkeys or their hybrids. If you violate this order you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.


Using an Unlawful Method to Hunt Wild Turkey (C3.301(1)) – You cannot do any of the following:

  • Use or possess an electrical device that replicates turkey noises;

  • Use an electronic, mechanical, or live decoy;

  • Use a dog to hunt wild turkeys during the spring season;

  • Take a wild turkey while it is in a tree; or

  • Use bait to take a wild turkey.

If you fail to follow this order you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.


Illegal Taking or Possession of Wild Turkeys – Spring Rules (C3.301(2), MCL 324. 40118(3)) – You can only take a turkey in the spring season if it has a beard and is taken at the time and place specific to your turkey hunting license. You cannot take or possess more than 1 bearded turkey during the spring season. If you violate this order you could face between 5- and 90-days imprisonment, a fine between $200 and $1,000, restitution of $1000 per turkey, and the loss of your hunting license for the remainder of the year plus the 3 following calendar years, pursuant to MCL 324.40118(7).


Illegal Taking or Possession of Wild Turkeys – Fall Rules (C3.301(3), MCL 324.40118(3)) – You can only take wild turkeys at the time and place specific to your hunting license. You cannot take or possess more turkeys than you have kill tags for. If you violate this order you could face between 5- and 90-days imprisonment, a fine between $200 and $1,000, restitution of $1,000 per turkey, and the loss of your hunting license for the remainder of the year plus the 3 following calendar years, pursuant to MCL 324.40118(7).


Failure to Tag or Validate a Wild Turkey Tag (C3.302(1)) – Immediately after killing a turkey, you must validate your tag with the correct information and attach it to the turkey’s leg. If you fail to do so you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.


Possessing or Transporting Wild Turkeys without Validated Kill Tag Attached (C3.302(2)) – If you violate this order you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.


Violating Turkey Application Regulations (C3.308) – Applications for wild turkey hunting open one month before the application deadline, which depends on the season you are hunting. If you want a license for the spring hunting season you must submit your application on or before February 1 of the calendar year you wish to hunt. If you want a license for the fall season you must submit your applications on or before August 1 of the calendar year you wish to hunt. The application carries a $5 fee. If you violate this order you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.


Using an Illegal Firearm to Hunt Wild Turkey (C3.310) – You cannot use any firearm that is not manufactured to fire a fixed shotgun shell or a muzzle loading shotgun while hunting turkeys. The shotgun shells can only be loaded with no. 4 or smaller shot or no. 4 or smaller loose shot. If you violate this order you could face up to 90 days imprisonment, a fine between $50 and $500, and the loss of your hunting license at the discretion of the court pursuant to MCL 324.43559.