Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation on Wednesday declaring that Nebraska is the Best Turkey Hunting Destination in the United States.
The governor signed the proclamation in a ceremony at the Nebraska Capitol and presented it to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Deputy Director Tim McCoy and District 1 Commissioner Dan Kreitman of Wahoo (southeastern Nebraska). In return, Kreitman presented the governor a turkey call, which he vowed to use on an upcoming turkey hunt.
In a recent survey, 90 percent of respondent Nebraska turkey hunters stated they had a satisfying experience. Several factors contribute to hunters’ fondness of turkey hunting in the Cornhusker State:
— Nebraska has an abundant turkey population, with hunting opportunities in all 93 counties. Parts of the state have opportunities for the highly sought-after Merriam’s.
— Nebraska is friendly to youth hunters. A youth turkey permit costs just $8. In 2015, 7,267 youth permits were sold.
— Turkey hunting is popular with out-of-state hunters. In 2016, 42,431 turkey hunting permits were sold in Nebraska. Of those, 14,191 were sold to nonresidents.
— Nebraska turkey hunters can enjoy seasons of up to 68 days in the spring and 139 days in the fall, with spring archers getting a longer season. The spring archery season is in progress. Spring shotgun season begins April 15. All spring turkey seasons close May 31.
— Turkey hunting is allowed statewide. More than 400,000 acres of land are open to public hunting in the state.
— An unlimited number of turkey permits are available. A person may purchase up to three permits for the spring season and up to two for the fall season.
Hunting is big business in Nebraska. It has an $848 million annual financial impact in the state, fueling the economy of towns large and small. It also brings family and friends together in a way that encourages appreciation for the natural world.
Turkey permits may be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org.
Turkey hunting is challenging and fun, and a great way to spend a spring day with family or friends. Nebraska’s spring turkey season opens April 15 for shotgunners.
Wendy Horine, hunter education coordinator with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has the following tips for making a turkey hunt safe and successful.
— Know where the muzzle of your firearm is pointed and never aim at anything you do not intend to shoot. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, and always be certain of your target and what is beyond it before firing.
— Try to blend in with your surroundings by wearing camouflage. 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. If another hunter approaches, call out, but do not wave.
— Have good cover from behind if you are 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.
— Do not stalk turkeys. A hunter in the woods 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.
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. Youth permits are just $8.
Archery and youth shotgun seasons are already open. All seasons close May 31. Permits may be purchased at Nebraska Game and Parks permitting offices, at OutdoorNebraska.org or by mail. Turkey permits also may be purchased and displayed via mobile app.