Hunters prepare for spring turkey fever

The 2009 spring turkey season runs April 8-May 31, and hunters across the state are already making preparations. Turkey permits allow hunters to use a shotgun, crossbow, or bow throughout the regular season. Archery-only and youth/disabled seasons run concurrently, April 1-7.

Turkey permits for units 1, 2, and 3 may be purchased online from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) website. In addition, hunters may apply online for resident-only, limited-draw permits in Unit 4, with an application deadline of Feb. 20. Applications may be downloaded from the KDWP website and printed or obtained at KDWP offices and license vendors. This application also includes all regulations that apply to the spring seasons.

Archery hunters, anyone 16 years old or younger, and those with disability permits may hunt April 1-7. (All youth must have an adult supervisor during the youth season.) Hunters younger than 16 are not required to have hunter education certification to hunt while they are supervised by a person 18 or older, but they must have a turkey permit. (During the regular season, persons age 12 through 15 may hunt without adult supervision if they have completed a certified hunter education course.) Hunter education certification may not be obtained until age 11, and all hunters younger than 12 must have adult supervision to hunt at any time.

Wild turkey restoration has been an unqualified success. Today, huntable populations of turkeys exist in nearly every county. The Rio Grande subspecies dominates the western two-thirds of the state. The eastern subspecies is common in the eastern regions, where numbers have grown dramatically in recent years. Hybrid Rio Grande/eastern birds are found where the two ranges converge. With a long season and birds abundant in most of the state, there is ample opportunity to bag an eastern, Rio Grande, or hybrid tom. Good numbers of turkeys can be found in the northwest, northcentral, northeast, central, and southcentral portions of Kansas. In the southeast, numbers have been down in recent years due to poor hatch survival, and drought in the far southwest may affect hunting in that region.

Online license and permit purchasing makes preparation easier than ever. Online license and permit sales are available at the KDWP website under “License/Permits” at the top of the home page.