Why it matters: With the fall turkey season right around the corner, and tag application periods open in most of the Great Plains States, it is important to keep yourself informed on the hunting regulations in the states you plan to hunt. Regulations on bag limits and the number of permits available can change from season to season. Hunters should familiarize themselves with the current regulations to ensure that they are legally harvesting wildlife.
- With the number of turkeys decreasing in some Great Plains states, some states have taken steps that they deem necessary to support the success of turkey populations.
- The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks Commission (KDWP) voted to suspend the fall turkey hunting season. While suspending the fall season is a significant change for Kansas hunters, turkey populations will be evaluated each year so there can still be opportunities to hunt in the future.
- In Nebraska, the fall turkey season has been shortened, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) is requiring that all harvested turkeys be checked in via telecheck.
With the population of turkeys decreasing in some areas of the United States, state fish and wildlife agencies have been forced to implement regulatory changes for turkey hunters. For example, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Commission discussed and voted on a suite of regulations aimed at improving their population numbers. One of the significant changes made, after months of discussion, was suspending the fall 2023 turkey hunting season. Changes to the fall turkey season is an ongoing occurrence in the Sunflower State after seeing a decrease in turkey populations since 2007 when the population was at its peak. In past years, KDWP has limited the number of tags an individual is able to obtain, and significantly shortened the fall season. However, the agency felt the need to take things a step further by postponing the fall season until the turkey population recovers to a sustainable point when the fall season can be reopened. When it comes to significant regulation changes like this, it is important to note that the state agency is best equipped to make wildlife management authority decisions, and that this decision is based on the best available science that KDWP has.
Moving north to Nebraska, hunters should also be prepared for some changes for their 2023 fall turkey season. Their season has been shortened to October 1 through November 30. Starting this fall, turkey hunters in the Cornhusker State are also limited to a maximum of one fall turkey permit and The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will require that hunters report all harvested turkeys via telecheck, either through their website or calling it in, within 48 hours of a turkey being harvested. Reporting all harvested turkeys gives NGPC valuable data on the success rate of hunters and helps with getting accurate population estimates. Having accurate population estimates can be useful in making regulation changes, if needed, and increasing or decreasing the allotted number of turkey permits.
With regulations changing from season to season, staying up to date on your state’s regulations is important so hunters can legally and safely hunt when hitting the field. Be sure to check out the state fish and wildlife agency website for each state you plan on hunting to ensure you are up to date on their regulations.