Fall season provides hunters special opportunity to bag big birds

Although most turkey hunters think of springtime and calling gobblers, more and more hunters are taking advantage of the fall seasons, when different methods provide the opportunity to put a wild turkey on the Thanksgiving table.

The traditional fall turkey hunting technique involves using dogs (which is illegal in the spring) to break up a flock of poults still hanging close to the hen. Then the hunter sets up in a hidden spot and begins calling in the poults, which often respond quickly in search of the hen. Using this method, hunters frequently harvest more than one bird at a time. This technique works best earlier in the season -- up to early or mid-November -- when the young birds are less wary

A few hunters simply use dogs to hunt fall turkeys as they would hunt pheasants or other upland game. This technique is used throughout the season.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) surveys indicate that about half the hunters who take fall turkeys are opportunistic hunters, meaning that they were hunting something other than turkeys, but they had permits and took advantage of a surprise encounter with a turkey.

The Kansas fall turkey season runs Oct. 1-Nov. 27; Dec.10-31; and Jan. 7-31, 2008. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Legal equipment includes shotguns 20 gauge or larger using shot sizes 2-9 or long, recurve, or compound bows. Each hunter may obtain no more than one turkey permit. Residents and nonresidents who purchase a turkey permit may also purchase as many as three turkey game tags valid in Unit 2 only (eastern one-half of Kansas). One turkey may be taken for each permit or game tag.

More information on Kansas turkey hunting is available online, as well as in the 2007 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available in printed form wherever licenses are sold or online at the KDWP website.