PRATT – It’s never too early to begin preparation for the spring turkey season, although you may be unpopular around the house if you start practicing your calling this soon. However, now is the perfect time to find a good place to hunt, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program can help.
There are 63 different spring turkey special hunts offered this year, including nine Mentor Hunts, 25 Open Hunts, 28 Youth Hunts and one Disability Hunt. Hunters must apply online by 9 a.m. on March 4, 2019 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 designed to provide high-quality hunting opportunities on Department lands, including state parks, wildlife areas, and refuges. The hunts also occur on Walk-in Hunting Access areas; national wildlife refuges; city and county properties; and other locations where access is limited. The hunts limit the number of participants on a given property to ensure high odds for success.
Open Hunts are open to all persons with no age or experience restrictions. Youth Hunts are open to youth 16 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. Some hunts allow for additional hunters to accompany a permit holder. Hunts are listed on the webpage by category and each includes a narrative with details, including location, dates and requirements.
Successful applicants will be notified by email after the computer drawing is completed. Special Hunt permits only provide access, so hunters must purchase all necessary licenses, permits and have Hunter Education certification, unless exempt.
Another opportunity spring turkey hunters should take advantage of is the online program, iWIHA. This allows limited access hunting without an application. Hunters simply check iWIHA the night before or morning of the hunt to see if a spot is available on a particular property. If it is, hunters can log in and hunt, knowing that only a certain number of hunters will be hunting the property on that day. Learn more about iWIHA at https://ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Hunting-Programs/iWIHA-Limited-Access-Hunts.
The 2019 Spring Turkey Season opens April 1-16 for youth and hunters with disabilities; April 8-16 for archery only; and April 17-May 31 for the regular season. Permits and game tags are available over the counter for all turkey management units except Unit 4. A limited number of Unit 4 Spring Turkey Permits are available to residents only and applications must be made online by Feb. 8, 2019. Until April 1, hunters may purchase a Spring Turkey Combo permit, which includes a Spring Turkey Permit and Spring Turkey Game Tag at a discount compared to purchasing the permit and game tag separately. For information on permits, regulations and other spring turkey hunting opportunities and to purchase a permit, visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Turkey Information.”