AUGUSTA, Maine -- October 1 marks the start of the upland bird season in much of the state, and this fall, turkey hunters have an expanded season that starts October 3 and can take up to two birds this fall season.
Wild turkeys are a wildlife success story in Maine. Once gone from Maine landscapes, they are now a familiar sight in all Maine's 16 counties, thanks to a reintroduction and management plan started in the 1970s by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
With a turkey population that continues to grow, turkey hunters are seeing the benefit as this fall they will see a longer season, a longer hunting day, higher bag limit, and more areas open to hunting than ever before. Successful hunters will be happy to know that there is a reduced registration fee, now only $2.00, down from $5.00.
"Maine has some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the eastern United States," said Brad Allen, IFW's game bird biologist, "Success rates are high, the birds are lightly hunted compared to other states, and there are a variety of areas to hunt turkeys in the state."
The fall turkey season now spans four weeks starting October 3 and continuing through November 1, running concurrently with the archery season for deer. Hunters can hunt the entire day from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Hunters can take up to two turkeys this fall, but should note where they are hunting. In some western and eastern wildlife management districts (12, 13, 18, 26 and 29), hunters can only harvest one turkey of either sex or age but in southern and central Maine (WMDs 15-17, 20-25, and 28), hunters can take two turkeys of either sex or age. Wildlife Management Districts 1-11, 14, 19, and 27 are closed to fall turkey hunting, but are open for spring turkey hunting.
October 1 marks the beginning of the grouse and woodcock seasons, and the waterfowl season in the southern and coastal zones.
Grouse hunters who hunt in unorganized territories should take note of a new law that requires grouse hunters that are in or travelling through unorganized territories to label their harvested birds with their name and the date taken before the next calendar day.
An Unorganized Territory is defined by the state as the area of Maine having no local, incorporated municipal government. Unorganized territories in Maine consist of over 400 townships, plus many coastal islands that do not lie within municipal bounds.