Nebraska Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Spring Nebraska turkey hunting allows the pursuit of Merriam's, Rio Grande and Eastern birds. In fact, a hunter can take three birds here in the spring season, with a good chance to bag one of each subspecies. The state ranks as one of the top turkey destinations with a harvest that averages more than 21,000 birds per season. Harvest in 2012 was 21,419 birds and in 2013 was even better at 21,442.

Biologists believe that populations are stable. Easterns are found east of Kearney; Rio Grandes and Merriam's are prevalent west of Kearney. The National Wild Turkey Federation has invested $3.3 million in projects all over the state. NWTF State Super Fund Habitat Projects have been funded in 27 Nebraska counties. Currently research is underway to map cottonwood decline in western Nebraska to understand how to prevent future habitat loss.

Hunters enjoy the highest success rates in the Panhandle and in the southwest regions. Prospect the Panhandle along the North Platte and the Niobrara. Down south, explore public land along Red Willow Creek, Medicine Creek and the Republic. Up north, scout the rolling hills of the Pine Ridge region on state and federal lands.

The turkey year kicks off with a March 25 to March 31 archery season. The youth shotgun season begins April 5. The regular season begins April 12 and runs through May 31. Hunters aged 12 to 29 must have completed hunter education prior to the hunt. Bag limit is one bearded turkey per permit and a hunter may buy three permits.

Plan the season by going to the Nebraska Game and Parks web site for more information on turkey hunting. A hunter can find public lands areas on the interactive map and click between topography and satellite images. Visit www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/

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