PRATT – It’s still early to think about scouting turkeys for the spring season because the big birds are still in their winter flocks. However, it’s not too early to be thinking about finding a place to hunt. One way to find a great hunting spot is through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program.
There are 84 spring turkey hunts offered this year with a total of 165 Special Hunt permits available. Twenty-five are Mentor Hunts, 29 are Open Hunts and 30 are Youth Hunts. Hunters must apply online by March 6, 2017 to be drawn for a hunt. There’s no fee to apply, and the draw is open to residents and nonresidents. Apply at http://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Special-Hunts-Information.
Special hunts are part of KDWPT’s recruitment and retention program, Pass It On. These hunts are conducted on department lands, including state parks, wildlife areas, and refuges. The hunts also occur on Walk-in Hunting Areas; national wildlife refuges; city and county properties; and other locations where access may be limited. The hunts limit the number of participants to ensure high-quality experiences.
Open Hunts are open to all persons with no age or experience restrictions. Youth Hunts are open to youth16 and younger, who must be accompanied by adult mentors 18 or older (adults may not hunt). Mentor Hunts are open to youth and/or inexperienced (novice) hunters who are each supervised by a licensed adult mentor. Both the novice and mentor may hunt. Several hunts allow for additional hunters to accompany a permit holder.
Successful applicants will be notified by email shortly after the computer-generated drawing has occurred. Special Hunt permits only provide access, so hunters must purchase all necessary licenses, permits and have hunter education certification, unless exempt.
The 2017 Spring Turkey Season opens April 1-11, 2017 for youth and hunters with disabilities; April 3-11, 2017 for archery only; and April 12-May 31, 2017 for the regular season. Permits and game tags are available over the counter for all turkey management units except Unit 4. Hunters who have purchased a spring turkey permit may also purchase a second turkey game tag valid in units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. For information on permits, regulations and other spring turkey hunting opportunities, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Turkey Information.”