Nebraska Hunters Should Treat Family to Wild Turkey

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There has never been a better time than this fall for Nebraska hunters to provide wild turkey as the main course for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners.

Nebraska's 2006 fall archery and shotgun turkey hunting seasons began in October, then closed during the nine-day November firearm deer hunting season and will reopen again Nov. 20 and continue through Dec. 31.

Kit Hams, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissions big-game program manager, says, "Nebraska's turkey population is excellent again this year. In fact, according to our spring surveys, turkey numbers statewide have more than tripled what they were five years ago. Statewide, our turkey population keeps growing every year."

Taking a wild turkey from the woods with archery equipment or a shotgun is much more exciting and enjoyable than choosing one from the meat counter at the grocery store. In many families the turkey hunting experience has been handed-down from father to son for many generations, much the same as the annual ritual of cutting the Christmas tree.

In families where a hunter provides wild turkey for the holiday meal, those at the table prefer its flavor to domestically-raised birds. Most people appreciate that the wild turkeys meat has more flavor and less fat, and that the bird has been given no growth stimulants or other artificial ingredients.

Although turkeys are well distributed across the state, Hams says the hunters best chances of taking a bird are in areas with timber. Wooded rivers and streams are always good choices, as are areas that have timbered hills such as the Pine Ridge, Missouri River area, the Republican River area, other major stream courses and the cedar woodlands in central Nebraska.

Hunters may obtain two turkey permits for the fall turkey seasons. They may be two shotgun permits, two archery permits or one of each. Each permit allows the hunter to take one turkey. There is an unlimited number of permits available for this years fall turkey seasons, so everyone who is eligible to hunt turkeys can get a permit.

Anyone 12 years of age or older by the date the season opens is eligible to hunt turkeys in Nebraska.

Permits cost $21.00 for residents and $66 for nonresidents. A Habitat Stamp ($13) is required for all resident turkey hunters age 16 and older and for all nonresident hunters.

Fall turkey permits can be purchased at Commission offices in Alliance, Bassett, Norfolk, North Platte, Omaha, Lincoln and the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium near Gretna, as well as on the Commissions internet web site at www.OutdoorNebraska.org. Applications that are mailed should be sent to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, P.O. Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503.