Maine Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Pine Tree State turkey biologist Kelsey Sullivan said that the 2014 spring turkey season should be similar to the 2013 season, when some 6,500 birds were harvested. Maine turkey hunting enthusiasts may now use crossbows in addition to shotguns and vertical bows. Season dates are from April 28 through May 31 statewide. In Wildlife Management districts 7 and 9 through 29 (essentially southern Maine) the season bag limits is two bearded birds, while in WMDs 1 through 6 and 8 the bag limit is one gobbler.  The Youth Spring Wild Turkey day is April 26.

Maine is unique in that hunting is allowed on any land that is not posted against trespassing. However, hunters are urged to meet private landowners and seek permission to hunt as a courtesy. Because Maine is a large state with a healthy turkey population that has been carefully managed since the birds were first introduced during the 1980s, hunters should have no problem finding a 2014 spring tom.

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Public lands where spring turkey hunting is allowed include wildlife management areas (covering over 100,000 acres statewide), Public Reserve Lands and municipally-owned lands. Central and southern Maine's mix of forestlands and farmlands provide the perfect mix of habitat for spring turkeys, but small populations of birds may be found as far north as Ashland and points east and south. York County in southernmost Maine is where these birds were first re-introduced in Maine and currently hosts a stable, healthy population of wild turkeys despite being one of the most developed portions of the state.

Hunters should focus their efforts on broken farmland bordered by hardwood ridges (oak and beech), river bottoms and grassy fields where turkeys spend most of their time in spring. Roost birds at sunset or walk Maine's endless logging roads and use a crow call to locate vocal gobblers. Local populations are likely to roost, feed and travel along the same routes day after day unless they are disturbed.

For a complete listing of public hunting areas in Maine and current spring turkey-hunting regulations log onto www.mefishwildlife.com.

Share your best turkey photos with us on Camera Corner now for your chance to win free gear!

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