If you’ve put away your bow or shotgun, it’s time to get them out and practice a bit. The dates for Nebraska’s spring turkey hunting season have been set and are about a month away. Archery starts on March 25 and continues until May 31. The regular shotgun season begins on April 19 and also runs until May 31. The Special Youth Shotgun Season runs from April 9-15.
The Special Youth Shotgun season that begins on April 9 is something extremely unique in the hunting world. I don’t know of any other state that offers an agreement like this. First of all, there is no one too young to hunt turkeys in Nebraska. There is no minimum age, so if you have kids who can safely hold and shoot a bow or shotgun, they can hunt with you this spring. The regulations require that any shotgun hunter under the age of 12 be accompanied by a person 19 or older who has a valid Nebraska hunting license. The permit costs only $8 and is suitable for young residents and non-residents. This means you can bring your kids or grandkids here to hunt and not have a big bill to pay.
This spring, turkey hunters can purchase up to three permits. These permits allow you to hunt statewide. Hunters may take one “bearded” bird (there are bearded hens) per permit.
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You will also need a valid habitat tag unless you are a resident hunter under the age of 16. All non-resident hunters require a habitat tag.
Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are legal to use with a draw weight of 40 pounds or more. Bow hunters should consult the regulations. There are a few details regarding the type of broadhead you can use. Crossbows can be used if you have a permanent physical impairment that prevents you from using a traditional bow. You must have a medical statement on file with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to be allowed to use a crossbow.
An interesting question I recently received from an older hunter was if a 20 gauge would be effective on turkeys. Any caliber, .410 to 10 gauge, with a shot size of only 2 to 7½ is legal. I’ve hunted turkeys with every caliber except 16 and 28 gauge, but they would definitely be capable of this. I have just acquired a caliber above/below 28, so that the oversight can be rectified this spring!
I have used a 20 gauge on a number of turkey hunts. It has a lot of power but doesn’t have the recoil of a 12 or 10 gauge, and that’s a good thing as you get older!
You can’t use slugs for turkey…slugs are illegal and too big. It’s a bit of a shame because I have 12 and 20 gauge shotguns with fully rifled barrels. I’m intrigued by the challenge of shooting a turkey at 100-150 yards, and know that both guns are capable of accurately hunting deer at those ranges. However, I don’t know how much of a turkey would be salvageable after being hit by a slug?
Once you’ve figured out what caliber of shotgun you’ll be using, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. The first thing you need to figure out is where your shotgun is shooting and how it moves at different ranges. You would be surprised at the discrepancies you will find in the different models of shotguns. Also practice with different chokes/loads to determine the tightest column of fire for your weapon. My favorite adage is that more shots on target are deadlier than bigger shots on target!
One last thing, it is also against the law (and not very safe) to have a loaded shotgun (magazine included) in a vehicle on public roads.
Shooting times are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. Before sunrise, it is forbidden to take or attempt to take a turkey sitting in a tree.
And when you pick up your bird, to transport it legally off the field, you’ll need to keep the head, beard, or leg naturally attached to the carcass until the turkey is delivered to a commercial processing facility or the home of the turkey. hunter. Any bearded turkey caught during the spring season must have the beard naturally attached to the carcass until the time of cooking. If the license holder is not with the turkey, the canceled license must be attached to the turkey carcass.
Good luck to all turkey hunters. Have a fun and safe hunt this spring.