Fishing guide

A Beginner’s Guide to Maine Wild Turkey Hunting

The fall turkey season is approaching. Turkey hunting can be a great start for a new hunter. Here’s how to start hunting Maine wild turkeys.

Now that you have successfully completed your hunting safety course, it’s time to start your first hunt. You might ask yourself, “How do I get started? Wild turkey is the perfect hunt for beginners. The mild temperatures of late summer and early fall, the excitement of calling a long-bearded Tom, and the abundant population of turkeys in much of the state make this an exciting experience. The 2022 fall turkey season in Maine begins September 19 through November 7.

Paul Wolfe, Townsquare Media

Paul Wolfe, Townsquare Media

What you will need:

You don’t need a lot of gear to reach the turkey antlers. First, you will need a means of harvesting. It can be a shotgun, a bow and arrow or a crossbow. 10 to 20 caliber shotguns are legal to use, with ammunition containing sizes 4, 5, 6 or 4 to 7 caliber mixed loads. 28 and .410 caliber shotguns are also an option. Ammunition containing shot sizes 7 through 9 in Tungsten Super Shot can be used.

Before hunting with a shotgun, you will want to “shape” your weapon. The crackle will give you an idea of ​​where the shot lands on a target. Each combination of guns, chokes, and ammo works differently. Structuring will help you visualize where most of the shot will land on your target. Using a paper plate or turkey target, fire your weapon with choke (full or turkey) and the ammo you plan to hunt with. Look to see where most shots landed. If the shot pattern is not dense, you can consider other ammo options, a different shot size, or a choke.

If you plan to use a shotgun, you will need a valid Maine big or small game license, as well as a turkey license. If you are using a bow and arrow you will need a valid archery license and turkey permit. For crossbow users, a valid archery license Where a big or small game license is required, as well as a turkey license. These licenses and permits can be purchased online.

The thrill of spring turkey hunting is the reactive nature of these large birds. Male turkeys, called Tom (adult) or Jake (juvenile), are very responsive to the sounds of other turkeys. Use a Turkey Call to trick a Tom or Jake into coming straight to you. When you hear big old Tom swallow, you’ll understand why they’re called the Thunder Chickens. Calls come in an assortment of styles and prices. An easy call to master as a beginner would be a slate or pot call, or a box call. Diaphragm or mouth screams are a cheaper option, but practice to become fluent. Electronic calls are legal to use in Maine and could be a great option for a beginner.

During the fall turkey season, the call is sometimes less effective. Turkeys focus on food in preparation for the upcoming winter months. Finding their food source is a good place to settle down for a hunt. If you can find a feeding area used by the turkey, the call can still be very effective. A decoy hen feeding, and a few yelps or clucks with a call, can cause a nearby Tom to gobble up.

Contrary to deer hunting, two bright orange clothes is not necessary for turkey hunting. Turkeys have amazing eyesight, so you’ll want to dress in head-to-toe camouflage. That being said, remember that you are sharing the woods with other outside users. It’s important to be sure of your target and what lies beyond. Also mark your hunting area with orange flagging tape to let other hunters know you are in the area. A simple wrap around a nearby tree will do. This is not required by law, but it is good practice.

We could make this list 100 pages when it comes to gear, but we keep it simple. Other gear options to consider would be a turkey decoy or two and a ground blind. A blind will protect your movements from birds and keep you dry in bad weather.

Laws of the country:

It’s always a good idea to read the current Maine hunting law book, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned hunter. Regulations can change from year to year, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Here are some big ones to remember:

  • Legal hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. For timetables, see this table.
  • During the spring turkey season, only male (bearded) turkeys can be harvested. In the fall, either sex can be harvested.
  • Harvested spring turkeys must be tagged for transport and registered for $2 at the nearest tagging station. Fall turkeys do not need to be tagged or registered.
  • You cannot shoot a turkey while it is in a tree (perched).
  • The use of bait is prohibited.
  • A hunter cannot exceed seasonal bag limits, which vary by ADM.

Photo by Tyler Donaghy on Unsplash

Photo by Tyler Donaghy on Unsplash

Identification:

It is very important to be able to distinguish the sex of a turkey. The fall season is easier for new hunters. During the fall season, hunters may take turkeys of either sex or age. In some ADMs, up to five turkeys can be harvested during the season.

The spring season is only for male turkeys, you should know that. Male turkeys are generally larger than females. The distinguishing characteristics of male turkeys are their red, white, and blue heads and their beards that hang down from their chests. Don’t just keep an eye out for beards, a small number of women also have beards, but they are rare. Do pre-season scouting to practice identifying a turkey’s sex. He can be difficult under pressure and from a distance for the untrained eye.

WMD Season Bag Limits:

  • Five turkeys – 15-17, 20-25.
  • Three turkeys – 26.
  • A turkey – 6-8,10-14, 18, 19, 27 and 29.
  • Closed for turkey hunting – 1-5 and 9.

Last year, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife made changes to the labeling rules for fall turkey. Harvested fall turkeys do not need to be tagged or registered for transport. Harvest spring turkeys should always be labeled and recorded in their entirety.

Be a good land user:

Much of the land in Maine is privately owned. Always ask permission before hunting on someone else’s property. Access to private land is a privilege, not a right. Always respect the owner’s wishes. Pick up after yourself and the others, and leave the area as you found it, or better.

Keep hunting in Maine safe:

As a recent hunter safety grad, we’re sure these rules are stuck in your head. But, it never hurts for a refresh. Hunting is one of Maine’s safest outdoor activities. Let’s keep it that way.

Rules to remember:

  • Treat each firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Keep your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  • Be aware of what is in front of and beyond your target before shooting.

For more tips on turkey hunting in Maine, watch this 10-minute video above from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Have a safe and exciting turkey season.

15 Must-Have Items for Maine Ice Fishing Season

Ice fishing is a great way to embrace the cold Maine winter months. It will take you outside for some fresh air, it is family friendly and a successful day could make for a delicious dinner. If you’re new to the sport, we’ve compiled a list of gear you’ll need for a fun, comfortable, and successful day on the ice. Some of these elements are more essential than others. Some gear may not be essential at all, depending on how you plan to fish. Again, the items we have listed are for those new to ice fishing.

Before we get to the list, remember to dress appropriately for the cold weather. We didn’t put warm outerwear on the list, but it’s definitely a must-have. It is important to dress in layers to ensure you are warm enough throughout the day on the ice. If you start to get too hot, you can simply take off a layer. Hand warmers are also worth packing.