Kentucky?s general spring season for wild turkeys opens Saturday, April 17.
Some 90,000 hunters are expected to turkey hunt this spring. The number of two-year-old gobblers is at record levels, and biologists predict a good season this year. During the recently concluded youth-only turkey weekend, April 3-4, hunters took more than 1,800 gobblers.
Details of hunting regulations are listed in the spring hunting guide, available wherever hunting licenses are sold or online at fw.ky.gov. Some basics hunters need to know before going afield include:
• Licenses needed: Adult hunters who live in Kentucky must have a hunting license ($20) and a spring turkey permit ($30). Residents hunting on their own farm do not need a license or permit, although they must abide by all state harvest regulations. Seniors 65 and older are eligible for a $5 license, which includes the license and permit. Hunters under 12 years old do not need a license or permit. Hunters from ages 12-15 must have a youth hunting license and a youth hunting turkey permit.
• License requirements for non-resident hunters: A license and permit are required for non-resident hunters, even if they own land in the state. Generally, if a hunter has a driver’s license from another state, that person is not considered a resident of Kentucky.
• Where to get licenses: Obtainable wherever sporting goods are sold, over the telephone by calling toll-free 1-877-598-2401 or online at fw.ky.gov, the Web site of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
• Spring season dates: April 17-May 9.
• Turkey zones: Kentucky is open statewide. There are no zones for turkey hunting.
• Hunter education requirements: Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1975, who are required to buy a license and permit, must complete and pass a hunter education course. Listings of course dates and locations are available online at fw.ky.gov. A temporary exemption card also is available online at fw.ky. gov by searching under the keywords ?hunter education.? No hunter education coursework is required to obtain this card, which costs $5.
• Baiting: Prohibited for any wildlife in hunting areas through May 31. Food plots planted for game animals are legal.
• Calling: Hunters may not use a call to mimic the sound of a turkey until the start of the season. Electronic calls are not allowed. Hunters may use a call that mimics an owl or crow prior to the start of the season to locate turkeys.
• Type of turkey that hunters can take: Hunters may take any bird with a beard on its chest. Hunters cannot take a hen that does not have a beard.
• Season limits: Hunters may take one bird a day, and a total of two during the season.
• Safety: Never wear red, blue or white while turkey hunting, as these are the colors of a gobbler. Always be sure of your target before shooting. Alert other hunters to your presence by yelling at them rather than using a sudden movement, such as waving. Wear an orange hat or patch of orange on your clothes if you are leaving the woods with a turkey over your shoulder.