Be safe in the woods; bring back a fantail, not an unhappy tale
PRATT -- While Kansas has an excellent turkey hunting safety record, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reminds hunters that this record should not be taken for granted. There are a few simple steps hunters can take to make the story of 2009 spring turkey hunting a safe and happy one.

Keeping one simple fact in mind should help prevent accidents: be sure of your target before you shoot. Only bearded turkeys may be taken in the spring, so positive identification is the key. In addition, take only clear shots, never walk through the woods calling, and never gobble. Another good tip is to wear hunter orange while moving.

Other safety measures that can help ensure a safe turkey hunt include the following:

  • if you wear camouflage, cover your entire body, including face and hands, and never wear the colors red, white or blue, which appear on a turkey's head;
  • always set up to call in a fairly open area with good visibility in every direction, with your back against a tree or other object that is wider than your shoulders;
  • when hunting with companions, be sure of everyone's location;
  • attempting to sneak up on a turkey can lead to accidents;
  • never assume that you are alone in the woods, even if you are the only one with permission to hunt the land;
  • assume that every sound you hear is made by another hunter;
  • you must see the whole bird to determine whether it is safe and legal to shoot; and
  • if you see another hunter approaching, remain still and yell or whistle. Never wave, use a turkey call, or stand up.

Youth/disabled and archery spring turkey hunting season runs April 1-7, and the regular season runs April 8-May 31 (all permits valid and shotguns or bows allowed).

Although turkey permits are available at Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) offices and license vendors throughout the state, perhaps the easiest way to purchase them is online. Turkey permits for units 1, 2, and 3 may be purchased online from the KDWP website,, or over the counter at any license vendor. A regulations brochure may be downloaded from the KDWP website and printed or obtained at KDWP offices and license vendors. This brochure also includes a resident-only, limited-draw permit application for Unit 4, but the application deadline for these permits was Feb. 20. The brochure provides general regulations regarding the 2009 Kansas spring turkey hunting season.

Kansas has a long turkey season with the opportunity to take two birds in much of the state. Make this season a safe one, and you'll have a tale you'll want to tell and a tail you'll want to show.