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Michigan’s Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Proposed Changes

October 15th, 2013

The proposed recommendations for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 spring turkey hunting seasons are similar to the last three-year regulatory setting cycle with few changes.  The regulations are meant to provide additional recreational opportunity without impacting the quality of spring turkey hunting. They are poised for approval by the Natural Resources Commission at their next monthly meeting on November 7 in Lansing.

For the 2014, 2015, and 2016 spring turkey season, a total of 114,140 licenses (49,140 General, 65,000 Private land) are recommended by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Licenses would be available through a lottery during the hunter limited hunt periods. Approximately 56,433 square miles will be open to wild turkey hunting.

License Quota Changes:

The recommended license quota for turkey management unit (TMU) M in the Upper Peninsula is down from 8,000 to 6,000 general licenses. The adjustment is expected to more closely match demand and actual license sales. This proposed decrease was supported by local stakeholders

In addition, the Department recommends increasing the maximum general license quota for turkey management unit ZB, located in the “thumb” region of the Southern Lower Peninsula, to 650 for each hunt number. This is based on estimates that the turkey population has increased in this area over several years and can sustain an appropriate increase in harvest.

The department recommends combining the two one-week hunts currently in place in TMU J down into one two-week hunt. The two hunts were undersubscribed and the department expects that more hunters would participate in the one hunt unit. This is supported by MI Wild Turkey Federation, 45th Parallel Gobblers, and the Cheboygan County Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation

Recommend Boundary Change for TMU J:

This recommendation would move the Beaver Island group into its own TMU. This would include Beaver Island, Garden Island, High Island, Ho Island, Gull Island, Trout Island, Whiskey Island, as well as parts of Charlevoix County north of the T35N-T36N township line extending east to west across MI. This proposed TMU B is recommended to have a general license quota of 1,000 with hunt season dates to mirror TMU J. This would allow staff to be able to gather hunter-specific data for the islands better adhere to the management plan and allow for license quota changes more specific to island circumstances. This change is supported by The Beaver Island Wildlife Club.

Spring Turkey Application Period:

The Department further recommends that hunters who purchase the Guaranteed Hunt Period license during this period will not be charged the $4.00 application fee. A person may purchase only one license for the spring turkey hunting season.

Tag Removal by Taxidermist:

Accordingly, The Department recommends a technical change clarifying that a licensed taxidermist at the location of his or her taxidermist business may lawfully remove the turkey license from the animal. This is in addition to the regulations allowing for the removal of deer and bear tags by a licensed taxidermist in the course of their work.

Mentored Youth Hunting:

The Department recommends technical changes to the existing Wildlife Conservation Order  for Mentored Youth Hunting language to specify that the Mentored Youth Hunt  license includes a single fall season and a single spring season tag for only a bearded turkey harvested during the spring season.

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