Nebraska Turkey Permits Now Available

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Permits to hunt turkeys in Nebraska this fall went on sale Monday, Aug. 11. Hunters can take advantage of an expanding turkey population by bagging a bird and putting food on the table and in the freezer.

Turkey hunting begins with the archery season Oct. 1-Nov. 14 and Nov. 24-Dec. 31. The shotgun season is Oct. 11-Nov. 14 and Nov. 24-Dec. 31.

Permits are valid statewide and each allows the take of two turkeys. Each hunter may have no more than two permits, which may be two archery permits, two shotgun or one of each. Landowners may have two permits, only one being a landowner permit.

The fall always has been a great time to hunt in Nebraska, especially for turkeys. Sportsmen find less hunting pressure than in the spring season and use their fall hunt as a chance to scout for the deer season. More women and children also are hunting turkeys as programs for them have expanded.

While the spring turkey season is very popular with hunters, when they can call turkeys into shooting range, the fall season has seen increased permits sales seven of the past eight years. And since 2002, fall turkey permit sales have increased 85 percent.

There's a good reason for the increase in permits sold, too. It's the birds. The Nebraska turkey population has increased 400 percent since 2002, when rural mail carriers spotted an average of 1.13 turkeys per 100 miles. This year, that number increased to 6.13.

That increasing turkey population over the years – and the increasing crop damage caused by those turkeys – has resulted in the loosening of hunting regulations. In 2004, permits became unlimited in number and valid statewide. The shotgun season was lengthened in 2005 and shotgun and archery seasons were extended to the end of December in 2006. Last year, the fall turkey bag limit was increased from one to two. Also in 2007, the 12-year minimum age requirement to hunt turkeys in the fall was removed.

Beginning Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. CST, hunters, including landowners, may buy permits online at the Commission's Web site: www.OutdoorNebraska.org, or at Commission offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, Bassett, Alliance, North Platte and Kearney. They also may be bought at the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium near Gretna.

Fall turkey permits are $24 for residents and $86 for nonresidents.

Hunters are asked to submit current e-mail addresses when buying permits. The Commission uses e-mail surveys to estimate turkey harvest and determine hunter opinions about future hunting opportunities.