The state closed the season to help bolster the declining turkey population
Kansas’ fall turkey season has been suspended in an effort to help the state’s declining turkey population. Image by Bill Konway
Kansas residents hoping to chase longbeards during the fall season will have to go out of state to bag a bird.
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has suspended the fall season due to declining turkey populations.
According to ksn.com, the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission decided to close the season after recommendations from staff over the course of four public meetings.
“We’ve documented consistent declines in turkey populations over the last 15 years, largely due to reduced production levels,” Kent Fricke, KDWP small game biologist, said in a news release. “These trends are not unique to Kansas. States across the Midwest and Southeast have experienced similar patterns in turkey populations.”
Although fewer Kansas turkey hunters participate in the fall season than in the spring season, wildlife biologists say it remains an important component of the overall harvest.
“The estimated statewide fall harvest of turkey was less than 500 birds in 2022,” Fricke said. “While this is a small proportion of the statewide population, fall harvest is an additive source of mortality for turkeys, especially when hens are harvested.”
Other preventative measures have been approved to reduce the impact of fall season on turkey regulations over the past several years.
In 2017, commissioners voted to reduce the statewide bag limit from four birds to one bird. In 2019, fall turkey season dates were reduced from 123 days (Oct. 1 through Jan. 31) to 41 days (Oct. 1 through Nov. 10).
Turkey hunters are voicing support for the decision.
Trevor Olsen, owner of Kansas Trophy Experience, says his outfit does not guide for turkeys in the fall
“We want to see our kids and their kids be able to experience the same things we’ve been fortunate enough to experience,” said Olsen.
KDWP is partnering with Kansas State University researchers for their Kansas Turkey Research Project, with the goal of better understanding issues regarding turkey habitats. The project is funded by a restoration act that takes money from taxes on firearms and goods like hunting equipment.
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