Hunters Should Have Another Excellent Spring Turkey Season

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“During the 2006 spring turkey archery and shotgun turkey hunting seasons hunters should have the best opportunity theyve ever had to take a turkey in Nebraska,” said Kit Hams, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissions (NGPC) big game program manager.

“2005 had a record number of turkeys, and hunters should see good numbers of turkeys again this spring. All areas of the state except the Panhandle have seen large increases in populations over the past five years.“

“We have three times more turkeys now than we did in 2000,” he said. “There are unlimited numbers of permits available for both archery and shotgun seasons. This spring we have a longer season than ever before - eight weeks for archers and five weeks for shotgun hunters. Turkey hunting zones have also been eliminated for the spring turkey seasons, making all permits valid statewide.

Hams said he hopes Nebraskas 2006 spring season will be a near carbon-copy of last years spring season, when 44 percent of archers and 54 percent of shotgun hunters enjoyed record-high success.

The 2006 statewide spring archery season will be March 25 - May 21. The statewide shotgun season will be April 15 - May 21. A hunter can have two turkey permits of any type for the spring season and take one bearded turkey on each permit.

Hunters are encouraged to take a young hunter with them. Nebraskas youth turkey hunting permit makes it possible for hunters ages 12-15 to hunt statewide during both the archery and shotgun seasons. The youth permit also allows the youngsters to use shotguns during the week prior to the regular shotgun season, making the youth shotgun season April 8 - May 21. Youths age 16 may hunt on a youth spring turkey permit provided they are age 15 on the opening day of the archery turkey season.

Hams recommends that hunters do preseason scouting by driving roads along riparian or wooded areas. Turkeys are often seen feeding in open fields. If public land is in the area, that would be a good place to start. If the land is private, see if you can locate the landowner and acquire permission. The next step is to get on the area before sunrise and listen for turkeys.

Although roughly 98 percent of the land in this state is privately owned, there are some 300 state and federal public areas encompassing about 800,000 acres where public hunting is allowed. There are also some 180,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program- Management Access Program (CRP-MAP) land where hunters may hunt private ground. The free CRP-MAP Atlas, which explains CRP-MAP and has maps showing the locations of lands enrolled in the program, is available at all NGPC offices, from permit vendors, and on the NGPCs web site at www.outdoornebraska.org. In addition, many rural landowners will allow turkey hunting on their property, but it is imperative that the hunter receive the landowners permission before trespassing on private land.

Before heading out to hunt turkeys, you can purchase a 2006 Nebraska spring turkey hunting permit and Habitat Stamp online from the NGPC web site at www.outdoornebraska.org, or from a NGPC office. All nonresident spring turkey hunters, regardless of age, must have a spring turkey hunting permit and a Nebraska Habitat Stamp. The resident wild turkey hunting permit costs $21, a nonresident wild turkey hunting permit is $86, and the Nebraska Habitat Stamp is $13. All prices include the $1 issuing fee.