The fall season is almost upon us. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Fall begins on September 22. With fall, comes Michigan turkey hunting season, which starts on September 15.
Michigan has 7.4 million acres of real estate available to the public for turkey hunting purposes each year. Southern Michigan has recently been hailed as the go-to spot for turkey hunting each season, stealing the spotlight from the lower Northern sections of the state.
Michigan residents across the state look forward to turkey hunting season with relish, even though Michigan limits hunters to only a single, male turkey each year.
Michigan Turkey Hunting Season
Michigan essentially has two seasons for turkey hunting—the first from September 15 to November 14 and another in the Spring, from April 23 to May 31. However, the dates are subject to change on an annual basis.
Michigan hunting season, at least in terms of wingshooting, is heavily regulated. Turkeys used to be quite the rarity in the state of Michigan, and now that the population has exploded once again, Michigan is strict on overhunting regulations.
In fact, turkey hunters in Michigan, through the Michigan United Conservation Club, are pushing for two turkeys per year. For now, it’s probably a losing prospect due to research from the Department of Natural Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Despite the limitation, turkey hunting in Michigan is an exciting event to take part in, especially if you bag your first turkey.
Do you need a Hunting License
Michigan’s turkey application period traditionally runs from July 1 to August 1. A successful application results in a quota license valid only on certain dates, and applicable to specific “hunting units.”
If you want to hunt turkey in the state of Michigan, apply for what is called a “Limited License Hunt.” You cannot apply for this license if you are not a Michigan resident. To apply, you need a Michigan-issued state ID or driver’s license.
The state of Michigan is divided into “Units,” each one active during specific dates throughout the turkey hunting season. Prospective Michigan turkey hunters will find the map here and will need to choose a unit.
Whatever unit is chosen comes with an associated number, and that number goes on the limited-license application. Hunters can also apply in partnership with one, additional hunter. But just because you apply for a limited license, doesn’t mean you will get one. Only if you’re successful, can you apply for a Fall or a Spring turkey hunting license.
After the “drawing,” any remaining leftover licenses are still available. For instance, if 20,000 apply and only 19,500 claim their limited licenses, that leave 500 remaining for anyone eligible to scoop up.
Those who own their land and want to hunt that land for turkey each year will apply for a Michigan Private-Land-Only License. For children who want to hunt turkey with their parents, the Mentored Youth Hunting is the way to go.
For those in the Mentored Youth Hunting organization, hunting for turkey is allowed so long as they are with an adult that’s 21 years old or older. That adult has to have a valid hunting license as well.
Turkey Limit for each Hunter
The limit for each hunter throughout the entire Fall and Spring turkey hunting seasons is only a single turkey. Many hunters are pushing for more each year, specifically two in most cases. Currently, it’s not even an idea that’s on the table where regulatory agencies are concerned.
It might change in the future, but until there is ample evidence that turkeys are becoming overpopulated in Michigan, it will remain one turkey per year for all eligible hunters.
Turkey hunting is a reason for excitement each year in Michigan. Applications for limited licenses open up about a month and a half before turkey hunting season’s official kick-off, so you need to be on top of your game if you want to get one.
There’s a possibility that even with an eligible application, you won’t receive a license. Fortunately, there are almost always unclaimed limited licenses left over after the drawing each year. It’s very similar to Alabama’s drawing system for alligator hunting—some will get lucky, and some won’t.
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