New Regulations on turkey hunting are announced

Effective October 12, several new hunting regulations have been promulgated which expand wild turkey hunting opportunities across the state.   They are as follows:  Wildlife Management Zones (WMZ) 10, 11 and 12, which encompasses eastern MA and Cape Cod, opened for the fall wild turkey hunting season.  Previously, the fall wild turkey hunting season was open in only WMZs 1 – 9 and 13, central and western MA and Martha’s Vineyard.

It has been lengthened from a one week to a two week season.  Fall wild turkey season will begin on the second to last Monday in October and will continue for 2 weeks.  This year’s fall hunting season dates are October 22 to November 3, 2012.

Permissible shot sizes for wild turkey have been expanded to include #7 shot.  Formerly, shot sizes were limited to #4 – #6 for wild turkey hunting.    Turkey hunting is only allowed with shotguns no larger than 10 gauge or with bows 40 lbs or greater.

MassWildlife reports that thanks to successful restoration efforts and other conservation partners such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Massachusetts has a healthy and robust wild turkey population, allowing for the expansion of the fall hunting season.  Recent technological development of turkey hunting-specific shotshells using denser-than-lead shot alloys (typically tungsten and bismuth) has improved the ballistics of smaller shot size, ensuring an effective turkey harvest. 

The fall hunting hours are different than those of the spring turkey hunting season.  The hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset except as noted in Wildlife Management Area Regulation #10.  If you shot a bearded bird in the spring season, you are allowed a bird of either sex in the fall season.  No hunter may take 2 birds in the fall season.   Birds must be tagged immediately and you must check/report the bird within 48 hours. *****

Chronic Wasting Disease (CRD) a contagious neurological disease fatal to deer, moose, elk, and other members of the cervid (deer) family continues to spread.  It was recently discovered in a deer in Pennsylvania.  With that recent discovery, MassWildlife is reminding hunters of the ban on importing intact deer carcasses from CWD-positive jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania and New York, into Massachusetts.

To prevent the possibility of this disease entering Massachusetts, regulations were adopted several years back making it illegal for anyone to import, process or possess whole carcasses or parts of these animals (from the wild or from captive herds) from states and Canadian provinces where CWD has been found. The only exceptions to the regulations are meat that is deboned, cleaned skull caps, hides without the head, or a finished taxidermy mount. Also, it is illegal to import live deer of any species into Massachusetts for any purpose. This ban includes animals used in deer farming practices and those used seasonally for petting zoos or holiday displays.

CWD attacks the brains of infected animals, resulting in their becoming emaciated, exhibiting abnormal behavior, and eventually dying.

A CWD monitoring and testing program for wild cervids has been conducted in Massachusetts since 2002.  Currently, MassWildlife is only testing deer or moose displaying symptoms of disease.  So far CWD has not been found in Massachusetts deer or moose.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization, there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans. Hunters have been taking and eating meat from these animals from the infected areas of Colorado and Wyoming for more than 30 years.

For more information about CWD and FAQs, visit http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/diseases/cwd_info.htm. *****

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