Turkey

With fewer nonresidents taking part in turkey season this spring, opportunities remain for Nebraska hunters before the season ends on May 31.

It’s never a bad time to hunt turkeys in Nebraska, Luke Meduna says.

It’s just going to take a few changes in strategy in the last few weeks before the spring season closes on May 31.

Meduna, the big game program manager for Nebraska Game and Parks, said hunters might need to do more scouting in advance, which he says is always sound advice anyhow. And plan on more walking the day of the hunt, too.

“Hunters have to be a little more versatile this time of year and cover ground until you find them,’’ he said.

Start with the birds’ roost sites and areas where food can be found.

For some, this is their favorite time to hunt, Meduna said.

Male turkeys are still on the lookout for hens, but most of them already are sitting on nests. That makes toms more receptive to calls. The weather is generally nicer, too.

There have been no significant spring storms, especially in the western part of the state.

“It’s weighing having the first opportunity to get the birds before they are call shy and have been harassed and pressured or when they are more receptive to calling,’’ he said.

There hasn’t been as much pressure on turkeys this spring because the sale of permits to nonresidents was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Typically, about 9,000 nonresidents hunt here.

Fewer than 2,000 people had bought permits when sales were closed in March. However, Meduna said sales to residents have been higher. Each is allowed to buy three permits.

“There is a lot of space for people to get out and hunt,’’ he said.

The fact that there are fewer hunters won’t have a big impact on limits going forward. Only toms can be harvested in the spring.

“It’s different from the deer when we need a significant harvest every year,’’ Meduna said.

Meduna hasn’t had a chance to get out and hunt yet and is thinking of trying out areas in the southeastern part of the state this week.

“I know my boys want to get out,’’ he said.

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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