Kansas Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Anyone doing some Kansas turkey hunting this spring would do well to consider the state's walk-in program. The state leases nearly 200,000 acres of private land to allow for public hunting.

"Get an atlas from a license vendor or download it from online. Figure out where you want to hunt and just walk in. You don't have to get additional permission." Mike Mitchener is a wildlife section chief for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) estimates a statewide turkey population of about 350,000 birds. In 2013, 33,925 turkeys were harvested. Most are Rio Grandes, found in the western two-thirds of the state. That was the area hardest hit by severe dry conditions last year. Eastern birds can be found on the east side of the state, from the western edge of the Flint Hills. A small population of Rio-Merriam's hybrids make a living in southwest Kansas in and around the Cimarron National Grasslands. Mitchener said that the southeast corner of the state had rebounded somewhat over the last three or four seasons.

Best prospects? "That north-central, northeast part of the state is likely to be somewhat better this year," Mitchener said.

Kansas hunters get an early start with bowhunters, youth and disabled going afield April 1. The regular shotgun season runs April 9 through May 31. A hunter education certificate is required for anyone born after July 1, 1957.

Turkey hunting in southwestern Kansas is open to residents only through a special drawing. The NWTF hosts three youth hunts during the early season. For more information, visit www.kdwp.state.ks.us.



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