Kentucky’s spring wild turkey hunting seasons open this month. The good news for hunters is that Kentucky’s turkey flock numbers approximately a quarter million birds.
The youth-only season is April 6-7. The general spring season opens April 13 and continues through May 5.
While a complete listing of regulations is available in the spring hunting guide or online at fw.ky.gov, hunters should know some basic rules before going afield.
For example, hunters may not mimic the sound of a turkey in an area open to hunting from now until the start of a spring season. However, a hunter may scout for turkeys during the preseason by using an owl, crow, coyote or woodpecker call. These calls can make a turkey gobble and reveal its location.
Hunters cannot possess electronic calls while turkey hunting, but they can use turkey decoys powered by batteries.
The youth-only weekend is open to hunters 15 years of age or younger. Youth who hunt turkeys with a shotgun must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old. The adult must be within reach of the shotgun at all times while hunting. Adults who accompany young hunters during the youth-only season are not required to have a hunting license or turkey permit.
Resident and nonresident hunters ages 12-15 may purchase a youth sportsman’s license for $25. This includes a youth hunting license, permit for one deer and permit for one turkey. The license is valid for an entire license year, even if the hunter turns 16 after its purchase.
Shooting hours for spring turkey seasons are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Hunters may be in the field before and after shooting hours.
Hunters may take any turkey with a visible beard. No more than one bird may be taken a day; a hunter may take no more than two birds during the spring season. Hunters must call 1-800-245-4263 to check all harvested turkeys, even if they are license-exempt and took the bird on their own property.
All turkey hunters, unless license exempt, are required to purchase and carry with them in the field proof of purchasing an annual Kentucky hunting license and spring turkey permit. A spring turkey permit is $30. A resident annual hunting license is $20 while a non-resident annual hunting license is $130. A person who owns land in Kentucky, but is not a legal resident, cannot purchase a resident license.
Short-term hunting licenses good for one or five days are not valid for turkey hunting. A hunting license and turkey permit are included with the sportsman’s license, senior license and disability license.
The $95 sportsman’s license, which is only available for residents, includes hunting and fishing licenses, spring and fall turkey permits, a state waterfowl permit and a trout permit. If purchased separately, these licenses and permits would cost $145.
All hunters, if required to purchase a Kentucky hunting license and born on or after January 1, 1975, must carry a valid hunter education course completion card while hunting. License-exempt hunters are not required to comply with hunter education laws.
Persons new to hunting who have not taken the hunter education course may buy a one-time temporary hunter education exemption permit for $5 online at fw.ky.gov.
Image courtesy Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources