It’s Spring Turkey Season in Michigan, Things You Need to Know

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — April 24, 2023

Michigan Turkey Licenses are coming into effect. Are you ready to hit the woods? You can find season regulations in the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app. Keep hunting regulations at your fingertips by downloading the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

Find regulations for all game and fish species, purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, and get the latest outdoor recreation updates all through your mobile device. The app is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Find spring turkey season dates and season information at Michigan.gov/Turkey.

Licenses Are Still Available

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

There’s still time to get a turkey license! See which hunt units have licenses available and snag one before they sell out. You can buy a license from any license agent, online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or through the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app. Keep in mind, licenses bought online will be mailed to you seven to 10 days after purchasing.

Another great license for hunters wanting a little more flexibility is Hunt 0234. This statewide spring license is valid for public and private lands, except public lands in Unit ZZ (southern Lower Peninsula), and is valid to hunt Fort Custer military lands with permission. Season dates are May 4-31.

Where to Hunt

Looking for a new place to hunt? Scout at Turkey Tracts! These public hunting areas are managed for turkey habitat, providing hunters with optimal opportunities to harvest a bird. There are marked hunter trails through the areas, parking lots and kiosks with information to help you navigate the area.

To find public lands open for hunting across Michigan, check out the Mi-HUNT interactive map.

Wild Turkey Cooperator Patch For Sale Online

Commemorate your hunt this spring with a 2024 wild turkey management cooperator patch. Patches are available from the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources.

Patches must be ordered online at MINWTF.org. Mail-in patch orders will no longer be accepted.

Patches are $7 for adults and patch collectors. Youth hunters 17 years old and younger can get a patch for free. Proceeds from patch sales are used to fund wild turkey-related projects and management in Michigan.

Avian Influenza: Safely Handling Wild Birds

Avian influenza, or “bird flu,” is caused by viruses that infect both wild and domestic birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected in North America in 2021 and has since become endemic and is expected to persist in the environment. This virus is carried by migrating waterfowl and can infect wild birds such as waterfowl, birds of prey, and others, as well as domestic poultry such as chickens, turkeys, quail, ducks, and geese. HPAI has also been confirmed in wild and domestic mammals.

To date, highly pathogenic avian influenza has not been detected in wild turkeys in Michigan. While the risk to people from HPAI viruses is low, hunters should still use caution when handling and field-dressing harvested birds. Harvest only turkeys that act and look healthy. Wear disposable or rubber gloves, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and do not eat, drink, or smoke while processing game birds.

Dress game birds in the field or outdoors whenever possible and wash hands, utensils, and work surfaces thoroughly with soap and water after handling any meat. Remove and discard intestines soon after harvesting, and avoid direct contact with the intestinal contents and fecal material.

Poultry and waterfowl should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The risk of hunting dogs acquiring bird flu is likely low since they are not consuming the bird, but exposure to the virus may occur when mouthing or biting the bird. If you want to share waterfowl meat with your dog, thoroughly cook it first.

Avian influenza has been found in backyard poultry flocks, commercial flocks, and wild birds. For the latest information, visit Michigan.gov/AvianInfluenza.

If you notice wild birds acting abnormally or find six or more free-ranging birds dead, please report it to the DNR by calling 517-336-5030 or online through Eyes in the Field.