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Wild Turkey Zone --


Spring Season

The Sunflower State has been rapidly increasing in popularity as a destination for turkey hunting trips. Many people have asked me for guidance on hunting trips to Kansas so this is my attempt at answering a lot of the questions I've been receiving.


Licenses and Fees - 2006 Spring Season Info

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has the complete rundown on all of the regulations. The complete Spring 2006 season info can be found here and I encourage you to download and print off a copy of the regulations if you are interested in hunting in Kansas this spring.

New for 2006

Preference points: First priority in issuing the limited number of turkey permits in Unit 4 shall be given to applicants who have earned the highest number of preference points which are awarded based on unsuccessful applications.

Hunt-own-land permits are no longer available. Permits issued through the preference point draw will be allocated as 50% going to landowner/tenants and 50% general public.

Spring Season Dates - 2006: April 13 - May 31
Youth / Disability Season April 8 - 10
Shooting Hours 1/2 Hour before Sunrise to Sunset
Season Limit 1 bearded turkey per permit
1 bearded turkey per game tag.
Any person who has purchased a Spring Turkey Permit may purchase a game tag. Game tags are valid for Units 2 & 3 only.
Resident Permit Cost $21.00 (Available over the counter for Unit 2, 3 and Unit 1 Archery)
Nonresident Permit Cost $31.00 (Non-residents are eligible for Unit 2, 3 and Unit 1 Archery permits)
Additional Game Tag Cost

$11.00 each - valid in Unit 2 & 3 only
 (Available over the counter)
($21.00 for Non-residents)

By application only Unit 4 has 200 permits available for residents by application only. Applications due by Feb 18, 2005.
Nonresident Hunting License $73.25 - Must have hunting license to hunt turkeys. (Available online)
Hunter Education Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957 must complete an approved hunter education course before hunting in Kansas.
Legal Turkey Any turkey having a visible beard.
Legal Equipment Shotguns 20 ga or larger using shot sizes 2-9; long, recurve or compound bows.



The Kansas Dept of Wildlife and Parks has a list of available public lands here. Many of the best areas are, of course, in the eastern third of the state which corresponds to the highest turkey populations also. The western half of the state does have turkeys but is limited in habitat.

There are also Walk in Hunting Areas for spring turkey hunting that are open to the public. The KDWP will have the atlas to these areas available online as well as the policies and rules for using these lands.


Rio Grande Territory


Many people travel to Kansas in search of a Rio Grande turkey. Kansas has Easterns, Rios and hybrid birds across the state. Generally, Easterns predominate in the eastern 1/3 of the state next to Missouri. The true Rios are limited to the south-central, south-west and north-west parts of the state. KDWP put together some maps showing the general ranges of the different subspecies.

Rio Grande Range -- (above)


Eastern Wild Turkey Range

As you can see, there is an overlap in ranges which is defined by the 2 lighter colors on each map. If you want to shoot a pure Rio or a pure Eastern, stay in the Primary Ranges or the dark Orange areas on the map. The rest of the state has hybrid birds.

I do most of my hunting in a county that contains both Eastern and Rio/Eastern hybrid birds. I've seen some birds that look completely like a Rio but the majority look like Easterns. What's interesting is that even within the same flock, there may be birds that look like a true Eastern standing by a turkey that looks like a Rio Grande so you never know what you might get.


Which Areas Are The Best?


The eastern one-third of the state has the highest population of turkeys. It also receives the most hunting pressure. I took a look at the Kansas Turkey Records and put together a map of where the record book entries came from as of 2002. The counties which are shaded have entries into the Top 20 lists on either the Typical or Non-Typical lists or both for Kansas. I think this shows some general areas that obviously have some big birds.

This makes most of Kansas look pretty barren of turkeys which of course isn't true. There are a couple of factors involved here: First, there are more hunters and more turkeys being taken in the eastern counties so the odds are in favor of more records being from there, and 2) Eastern turkeys are generally larger than Rios which also slants this map some. But if you are looking to shoot some big turkeys, you can't beat the southeast corner of the state followed by the northeast corner. Also, looking at the non-typical records, the southeast corner of Kansas has a fairly high concentration of multiple-bearded birds for some unknown reason.

Good luck with your trip to Kansas!!!





Kansas Turkey Hunting -- Rob Ramsdale
Turkey and Turkey Hunting Turkey and Turkey Hunting --- $14.95

Turkey & Turkey Hunting Magazine focuses on turkey hunting techniques, turkey behavior and biology, the latest wild turkey research for hunters, equipment, destinations, and hunting ethics.


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