JUMP TO: Turkey Season Dates | Bag Limits | Game Check | License Requirements | Hunter Education | Public Land Opportunities | WMA Harvest Data

Mississippi has long been a popular destination for nonresident turkey hunters. So much so that in 2022 they started limiting the number of out-of-state hunters on public lands for the first two weeks of the turkey season. 

If you’re determined to hunt the Magnolia State, however, don’t let that deter you. There’s a simple application process to be able to hunt those first two weeks of the season, and even if you’re not drawn, there’s plenty of great turkey hunting opportunities still to be had in April.

Photo of the author with a turkey taken during the late season in Georgia.

In this article, we break down all the information a nonresident will need to turkey hunt in Mississippi, including season dates, bag limits, license and permit costs, as well as some great places to fill your turkey tags.

Mississippi Turkey Season Dates

Mississippi’s 2024 spring turkey season kicks off on Friday, March 15, and runs through Wednesday, May 1. Youth hunters 15 and under get a one-week head start, with a March 8-14 youth season.

Turkey SeasonDates
YouthMarch 8-14, 2024
Statewide SpringMarch 15-May 1, 2024
Nonresident on Public Lands*March 15-31, 2024

* Non-residents Turkey Hunting on Public Lands: Non-residents cannot hunt any public land in Mississippi between March 15-31 unless drawn for either a Non-resident Public Lands Turkey Permit or WMA Draw Hunt.

You can learn more about this Public Land Endorsement at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks website.

Bag Limits

The bag limit for Mississippi’s turkey season is one adult gobbler or one gobbler with at least a 6-inch beard per day. Limit of three per spring season. 

Youth hunters 15 and under can shoot male turkeys of any age, but are still limited to one per day and three per season.

A Mississippi hunter checking in his turkey harvest.

Game Check

In Mississippi, all turkeys harvested during the spring turkey season must be reported to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Game Check system before 10 p.m. on the day of harvest.

As part of this process, all turkey hunters must carry a current harvest reporting record while hunting. This record may be either the MDWFP reporting application on a smartphone, a paper copy of the MDWFP harvest reporting record, or a record provided by the hunter. 

Hunters must document their name and the date before moving the turkey from the harvest location.

To complete the Game Check process and receive a confirmation number, there are three options available. Hunters can log the harvest using the MDWFP reporting application on a smartphone, enter the harvest through the Game Check website, or call the Game Check reporting phone line at 1-800-BE-SMART.

Hunting License Requirements and Fees

Nonresident turkey hunters will need the following to legally hunt turkeys in Mississippi:

  • Nonresident hunting license — $300 annual or $150 for 7 days
  • Nonresident spring turkey permit — $50
  • Wildlife Management Areas permit (if hunting a WMA) — $30

That brings the total cost for a nonresident turkey hunter to $200 for 7 days ($230 if hunting a WMA) or $350 for the season ($380 if hunting a WMA).

Hunter Education

In Mississippi, anyone born on or after January 1, 1972, is required to successfully complete an MDWFP-approved hunter education course before they can purchase a hunting license. 

Children aged 12 to 16 must have a hunter education certificate to hunt alone. However, if they are supervised directly by a licensed or exempt hunter who is at least 21 years old, they can hunt without this certificate. 

Additionally, children under 12 must always be under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter aged 21 or over while hunting.

Public Land Opportunities

Mississippi turkey hunters are blessed to have a variety of public land hunting options. Some of these are draw only for the first two weeks, followed by open hunting opportunities, while others are open for the statewide season. Still others are draw only for the entire season, or open only for youth hunters.

Below is a graphic highlighting all the Mississippi WMAs open for turkey hunting, color coded by when they’re open and who they’re open to.

Map of Mississippi WMAs offering spring turkey hunting opportunities.

As a nonresident, if you want the opportunity to hunt the first two weeks of Mississippi’s turkey season (March 15-31) on open public lands (those marked in green above), you will need to apply for a Public Land Endorsement.

The application period is January 15 to February 15, and successful applicants will be notified on February 22. If you are chosen, you will need to use the link in your winning email notification to claim your Non-resident Public Land Endorsement and purchase any additionally required licenses.

You DO NOT need the Non-resident Public Land Endorsement if you are drawn to hunt a WMA though the traditional WMA draw system. However, for the first two weeks of season, you will be limited to the WMA and dates for which you were drawn.

NOTE: All nonresident turkey hunters applying for a WMA draw hunt must possess a current valid WMA permit prior to submitting their application.

WMA Turkey Harvest Data

At the time of this writing, the 2023 WMA turkey season harvest results have not been published. As soon as that data becomes available, we’ll update it here, but the 2022 data should give you an idea of which WMAs provide the best turkey hunting opportunities.

Keep in mind that some of these WMAs require advanced application and being drawn to turkey hunt. Use the map provided above for reference.

WMA2022 HarvestMan-DaysMan Days/
Black Prairie6233.8
Canal Section/John Bell Williams4998620.1
Caney Creek1953728.3
Caston Creek1452337.4
C.R. Nix4256.3
Copiah County1434824.9
Divide Section1553635.7
Hell Creek12222.0
John W. Starr2328164.0
Leaf River2477232.2
Little Biloxi529058.0
Marion County5539107.8
Mason Creek522044.0
Nanih Waiya212663.0
Old River00
Pascagoula River313545.0
Pearl River0123
Red Creek1845325.2
Sandy Creek2846516.6
Upper Sardis4494921.6
Ward Bayou188.0
Wolf River549398.6

If you do decide to try public land turkey hunting this spring, here are a few tips to help you get started.

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