Fall Turkey Hunts in Kansas

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The wild turkey was prominent at the first Thanksgiving dinner, when pilgrims and American Indians gathered in peace to give thanks for the bounty of the North American wilderness. Today, wild turkey populations in most of Kansas have been growing for years, offering hunters the opportunity to pursue them in fall, and add this celebrated game bird to the holiday feast.

All of Kansas except Unit 4 (westcentral and southwestern Kansas) is open to fall hunting. Long seasons this year run Oct. 1-Nov. 30, Dec. 13-31, and Jan. 10-31, 2011. 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 2010 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) website — www.kdwp.state.ks.us — KDWP offices, and license vendors.

October offers some of the best hunting. Turkeys are in small groups, with many young birds that 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.

For more information on turkey hunting in Kansas, go to the KDWP website.