Growing in popularity, fall turkey hunting offers chance to bag up to four birds
PRATT -- When it comes to fall hunting in Kansas, most hunters think of upland birds, ducks, or deer. But fall turkey hunting is becoming increasingly popular, with a long season and the opportunity to bag as many as four of these large birds. In addition, the fall season offers a turkey hunt using dogs, much like upland game birds are hunted. (Use of dogs is not allowed during the spring season.)

While some hunters walk fields for turkeys in the fall, others use more traditional methods, setting blinds near roosts and using decoys and calls to lure birds within range. Still others purchase turkey permits and game tags in hopes of bagging a turkey while they are hunting deer from a tree stand during deer archery season. Whatever method is used, fall turkey hunting offers a special opportunity for Kansas hunters and often provides the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal.

The fall turkey season runs Oct. 1-Nov. 28, Dec. 11-31, and Jan. 8-31, 2007. The state is divided into four turkey units. Unit 4, which includes most of western and southwestern Kansas, is closed. Unlimited permits -- one per hunter -- are available in Unit 1, northwestern Kansas; Unit 3, southcentral Kansas; and Unit 2, which includes most of the eastern one-half of the state.

Each hunter may obtain no more than one turkey permit, but residents and nonresidents who purchase a turkey permit ($22.15 for residents, $32.15 for nonresidents) may also purchase as many as three turkey game tags ($12.15 for residents, $22.15 for nonresidents) valid in Unit 2 only. Fall turkey permits and game tags are valid for both male and female turkeys and may be purchased through Jan. 30, 2007. The bag limit is one turkey per permit or game tag.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Legal equipment includes shotguns 20 gauge or larger using shot sizes 2-9 and long, recurve, and compound bows.

For detailed information on fall turkey hunting, including a map of unit boundaries, obtain a copy of the 2006 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary wherever licenses are sold or download it from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us.