From Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
-- Turkey hunters will have unprecedented opportunities in Nebraska in 2009, thanks to a growing turkey population.
A spring rural mail carriers' survey shows the turkey population has grown 500 percent in Nebraska since 2002. Kit Hams, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, said that population now can withstand additional harvest.
Additional harvest means more chances to take to the field, bag a bird and put food on the table and in the freezer. It also presents more opportunities for young hunters, first-time hunters, and one-time hunters who may want to return to the activity.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners recently approved the 2009 turkey seasons at their meeting in Alliance, Neb.
The additional days for the 2009 turkey season include:
-- 10 days during the spring archery and shotgun seasons
-- 25 days during the fall archery season
-- 41 days during the fall shotgun season
-- Allows for turkey hunting during the November firearm deer season.
The 2009 turkey hunting season dates are:
-- Spring - shotgun, April 18-May 31; archery, March 25-May 31; youth archery, March 25-May 31; youth shotgun, April 11-May 31
-- Fall - archery and shotgun, Sept. 15-Dec. 31
Three permits, with each having a bag limit of one male or one bearded female turkey, are allowed per hunter during the spring season. Two permits, with a bonus tag, are allowed per hunter in the fall season.
Turkey hunting had been prohibited during the November firearm deer season because the Commission believed the bird population wasn't able to support it. Now, with that restriction gone in 2009, hunters can take advantage of a mixed-bag opportunity of turkey and deer. Hunter orange is required for all fall turkey hunters during the November firearm deer season.
Turkey hunting is prohibited during the 2008 November firearm deer season.
Turkey hunting in Nebraska is a hot ticket. Fall 2007 permit sales totaled 12,283, while spring 2008 permit sales were a record 33,922.
The harvest also is at record levels, 9,429 in fall 2007 and 19,896 in spring 2008.
Hams said the Commission will monitor hunter success, hunter satisfaction and turkey populations to ensure that the fall harvest does not hurt the quality of the spring hunt.
For more on turkey hunting in Nebraska, or to buy permits, visit www.ngpc.state.ne.us.