LINCOLN – Turkey hunting is challenging and fun, and a great way to spend a spring day with family or friends. Spring turkey season opens for shotgunners on April 16 in Nebraska.
Wendy Horine, hunter education coordinator with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has the following tips for making a turkey hunt safe and successful.
— Always practice muzzle control. Know where the muzzle of your gun is pointed and never aim at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, keep your finger off of the trigger until ready to fire, and always be certain of your target and what’s beyond it before firing.
— Try to blend in with your surroundings by wearing camouflage. A little camo is better than none at all. Avoid wearing or carrying anything red, blue or white; those are the colors of a turkey’s head. Anyone not hunting from a blind should try to camouflage as much as possible, including guns, bows and arrow shafts.
— Be cautious with decoys and calls. Although designed to lure in the birds, decoys and calls can also attract other hunters. Watch for approaching hunters and call out when necessary. If another hunter approaches, don’t wave because a waving hand could look like a moving bird.
— Have good cover from behind if you’re not in a blind. Lean against a tree at least shoulder width. If you choose to lean against a stump or rock, it should be shoulder width and higher than your head. A few pieces of florescent flagging tied to the tree or to your blind will help to alert other hunters to your presence.
— Stalking turkeys isn’t recommended. A hunter creeping through the woods and using a call could be mistaken by another hunter for a bird. If you move to another location, walk upright and, if possible, make yourself visible with a bit of hunter orange, such as a hat. You can always take off the orange hat once you get to your new spot.
Beginning April 9 for youth ages 15 and under and April 16 for individuals ages 16 and up, hunters can harvest turkeys with either shotguns or archery equipment through the May 31 close of the season.
Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed a proclamation declaring that Nebraska is the Best Turkey Hunting Destination in the United States. Not only are turkeys abundant, with populations in every county, but the permits are affordable and unlimited in quantity.
Permits are $23 for residents and $95 for nonresidents. Youth permits for residents and nonresidents are just $5.
Permits may be bought at Nebraska Game and Parks permitting offices, at OutdoorNebraska.org or by mail. Turkey permits also may be purchased and displayed via mobile app.