Wild turkeys offer special fall hunting opportunity
PRATT, KS — The wild turkey was once extirpated from Kansas, but today, wild turkey populations have been growing for years, offering hunters the opportunity to pursue them in fall and spring. While the season opened Oct. 1, it runs long enough to add this traditional game bird to the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables.
All of Kansas except Unit 4 (westcentral and southwestern Kansas) is open to fall hunting, and the seasons are long. This year, the seasons run Oct. 1-Nov. 29, Dec. 12-31, and Jan. 9-31, 2012. One turkey permit per hunter is allowed, valid in Unit 1 (northwestern Kansas), Unit 2 (the eastern one-half of the state), and Unit 3 (central Kansas). In addition, hunters may purchase as many as three additional turkey game tags valid in Unit 2 only. One turkey of either sex may be taken with each permit or tag. Hunters may use legal shotguns or archery equipment.
Unit descriptions may be found in the 2011 Kansas Hunting & Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website — www.kdwpt.state.ks.us — KDWPT offices, and license vendors.
October offers some of the best hunting. Turkeys are in small groups, and many young birds have never been hunted. Often, a hunter can stalk the birds or break up a group, then hide and call them back. Public wildlife areas and Walk-In Hunting Access lands often hold large numbers of turkeys in October before hunting pressure moves them to private land.
The combination of good turkey populations, uncrowded hunting, and mild fall weather make October an excellent time to go turkey hunting, or keep a permit in hand while hunting upland game or deer. It’s also a good time to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.