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Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Goes Beyond the Hunt in These Times

As avid spring wild turkey hunters, we possess a major advantage over other outdoor enthusiasts: We know what it feels like to be completely isolated, and to be alone, most notably in a turkey hunting blind for hours. As Henry David Thoreau once said: “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

For us hunters, we are used to sitting alone in different blinds quietly for long periods of time with our thoughts, waiting for a moment that may never present itself.

I think it is important in an atmosphere of uncertainty that we return to our old, familiar friend – solitude – to sort things out and gain a clearer understanding of life and its challenges.

Just experiencing various aspects of the hunt is therapeutic. Spending quality time outdoors has always been and continues to be a key cog for our personal mental and physical well-being. Studies show exercise, sunlight, and being outdoors help bolster our immune systems.

All of us, not just those of us who turkey hunt, need to be taking care of our immune systems especially now.

The time spent outdoors on a spring wild turkey hunt offers many other benefits. Allow me share several of those with you.

The quiet solitude in a blind.

The picturesque sunrises and sunsets.

The wildlife and the crazy breeding antics of those wild turkeys.

Sharing a little wild turkey video from my recent crossbow spring turkey hunting trip to southwest Nebraska.

Posted by Greg Wagner on Saturday, March 28, 2020

The appreciation of a nearby spring wetland.

And, the bonus of harvesting a wild tom turkey!

Your blogger with an adult tom turkey harvested with a crossbow during the Nebraska 2020 spring archery wild turkey hunting season.

Below is information about how to spring wild turkey hunt in Nebraska in a safe and responsible manner through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Honor all CDC, state and local health regulations in Nebraska.
  • We at Game and Parks are encouraging in-state residents to travel only locally or regionally to limit the potential for spread of the new coronavirus at this time.
  • If you do not feel well, do not go hunting! It is that simple. Remove the chance of the coronavirus disease infecting someone else. This is crucial to flattening that curve, and slowing infection rates.
  • When it comes to public lands to spring wild turkey hunt, head to those state wildlife management areas or walk-in lands that are not well known and just off the beaten path. If there are vehicles parked in a lot or alongside a gravel road by signs on fence posts, drive to another wildlife management area or walk-in land to hunt nearby where there is evidence of nobody there. Additionally, avoid touching signs and other objects or using facilities. Carry a small roll of biodegradable toilet paper.
  • For asking landowners permission to turkey hunt, it is best for hunters at this point to not knock on doors or approach landowners. Hunters should use an app like onX to find out who owns land in a specific location and then use a website such as anywho.com to learn phone numbers where landowners may be contacted.
  • With the use of portable, camouflaged blinds, it is not difficult to socially distance. Two blinds set up side by side will offer some shielding from each other and can easily by spread apart by 6 feet or more. Remember, each person must set up his or her own blind!
  • Obviously, you can carry and use hand sanitizer for frequent hand-washing. Keep in mind though you can utilize biodegradable soaps such as Campsuds for hand-washing at any decent water source, hand pump, spigot or ground hydrant.
  • Hunting solo? File a plan. Tell someone you know and trust where you are going, when you are leaving and when you plan to come home. And follow that plan!
  • All hunters should have a fully charged mobile device on their person. Keep that mobile device handy in an easy-to-reach pocket just in case you get in a comprised situation but please do not take unnecessary risks!
  • Observe all turkey hunting safety rules and guidelines as they apply to the use of archery equipment and shotguns in the field.
  • Upon return from your hunting adventure, leave your footwear outside perhaps on a porch, wash your clothes upon arriving at your house, and disinfect gear.
  • Properly cleanse any parts of your body that were subject to exposure by a person coughing or sneezing. That means take a shower! Place emphasis on scrubbing your hands, face, and neck.
  • Get more details about being safe outdoors by reading this link.
  • Stay up-to-date with reliable information about the coronavirus in the state by visiting the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website or social media pages.
  • Keep abreast of changes to your Nebraska Game and Parks Commission resources, facilities and outdoor activities here.

*NOTE: The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has suspended the sale of nonresident spring wild turkey hunting permits in order to help prevent the potential for the spread of COVID-19. This was done to protect the health of Nebraskans and others by discouraging unnecessary travel. Read more, click the news release.

Posturing jake wild turkey hunting decoy (DSD). Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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