Nevada Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Spring Nevada turkey hunting is still fairly new. According to public information officer Chris Healy, the vast majority of the state's gobblers are Rio Grandes, while there are a few Merriam's in eastern Nevada.

"We have been attempting to establish them since right after World War II," Healy said, "and have had our best success with the Rio Grandes in the last 25 years."

Nevada's turkey habitat is limited. "You need river valleys with mature trees for roosting," Healy said. That type of habitat, and better hunting, is most often found in the Mason and Smith valleys in Lyon County.

Turkeys have established footholds near Lovelock and north of Winnemucca in the Paradise Valley.

Last year's nesting season fell right into what might look like perpetual drought in Nevada in three straight years of below average moisture.

As it is everywhere, the habitat is the key to the success of the birds. The lack of habitat here is more evident, however. With poor habitat, the turkeys are more vulnerable to predation of eggs and young. According to Healy, Nevada agriculture has evolved to lots of alfalfa and onions to the detriment of roosting trees.

"A lot of those old cottonwood trees have been chopped down or have fallen down and haven't been replenished. We have our little rivers, but we don't have riparian areas for the turkeys to establish in."

Nevada has discontinued the fall hunt. The spring season begins in late March and ends in early May. Tag numbers are limited through an application process, but landowner tags are available for hunters that cooperate with property owners. For more information, visit www.ndow.org 

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