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Turkey Hunting in Nebraska



Not available

Wild Turkey Population

Merriam's, Rios, Easterns, hybrids

Turkey Subspecies


Number of Licenses Sold Annually

$55 to $85

$30 per permit (up to two); $25 habitat stamp

Cost of Resident License and Permit

$168 to $311

$140 per permit (up to two); $3 issue fee; $25 habitat stamp

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: MW_merriam_1

Photo by John Hafner

Nebraska has been a hotbed for traveling turkey hunters the past few years, but changes are afoot. Biologists estimate that turkey populations are down about 50 percent from 2010 numbers. In response, the state has tightened up regulations. Hunters can now purchase just two spring permits instead of three and can only shoot one turkey per day during the spring season. Further, just 10,000 spring permits are available for nonresident hunters instead of an unlimited quantity. (2024 permits sold out in late January.) And turkey harvests must be reported via Telecheck.

It's not all bad news, though. Nebraska hunters still took 12,302 turkeys in 2023. And although the state consists mostly of private land, it's still possible to knock on doors and get hunting access. And the late season can be surprisingly great, with gobblers willing to answer a call and work to your position. Plus, seasons are long (late March to late May).

There's good public land to be found. Head west to the Pine Ridge complex, where you can hunt turkeys in the Nebraska National Forest and numerous wildlife management areas. Elsewhere in Nebraska, look to the river bottoms. Those waterways and the associated breaks, where forest and prairie intertwine, are where the turkeys live. Check out the Niobrara, North Platte, South Platte, Republican, Loup and Elkhorn River systems. The Missouri River is excellent turkey country, too. The Central Loess Hills, with its pretty cedar habitat, is also good.

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