Outdoor notes: Get outdoors with a fall turkey hunt in Nebraska starting Sept. 15
Nebraska’s fall wild turkey season opens Sept. 15, when hunters will get out to the woods and fields for a chance to bag some birds.
The fall season is a great opportunity to get outdoors, either on a solo hunt or with family and friends.
Fall 2022 permits may be purchased over the counter, are unlimited in quantity, and are valid statewide. Youth permits for hunters ages 15 and under are $8. Fall hunters can buy up to two turkey permits. Qualifying landowners also are eligible for a reduced-price landowner permit.
Fall permits allow hunters the option of harvesting with either a bow or shotgun. The bag limit for a fall permit is two turkeys of either sex. Purchase permits at OutdoorNebraska.org.
Areas to hunt turkeys are plentiful in Nebraska, with more than 280 wildlife management areas and nearly 382,000 acres of walk-in public access to private land in the Open Fields and Waters Program. Find more than 1.2 million acres of publicly accessible Nebraska lands in the 2022-2023 Public Access Atlas, available at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices and service centers and wherever hunt and fish permits are sold. It also is available online at OutdoorNebraska.org/PublicAccessAtlas.
When hunters go afield, safety also should be on their minds.
“In the fall, you can expect to see other hunters in the field on public hunting grounds, especially during season openers and on weekends,” said Hunter Nikolai, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Hunter Education coordinator. “Be cognizant of this, and always be sure of your target, what is beyond it, and what is in front of it before you take the shot.”
While hunting remains one of the safest recreational activities, it’s important to practice safe firearm handling on the way to the field and during the hunt. Nikolai has these additional safety reminders:
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, from the time you uncase it, to the time you put it away for the day.
- Always point your muzzle in a safe direction and maintain muzzle control. Keep arrows pointed in a safe direction, too.
- “Stalking” or “reaping” turkeys is becoming a more common hunting technique. Before moving or picking up decoys, check your surroundings to ensure another hunter isn’t stalking your decoys.
- If you encounter another person in the field, remain still and speak in a loud clear voice to announce your presence. Never make movements to signify your presence.
- When hunting turkeys in the timber, select a tree or stump wider than your shoulders and taller than your head to sit against.
- Carry decoys or harvested birds in a bag when walking in and out of the woods. Even better, throw on a hunter orange cap or vest when you’re on the move. Hunters must display at least 400 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest and back while hunting turkeys during the November firearm deer season.
The fall season runs through Jan. 31, 2023.
Fall turkey hunting can be one of the best times in the woods. Playing it safe and using smart tactics can make it even more enjoyable.
Hunters Helping the Hungry meat processors accepting deer donations
Hunters may begin donating deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program at seven processor locations around the state.
The participating meat processors are: Amherst – Belschner Custom Meats; Norfolk – R&M Meats; North Platte – Kelley’s Custom Pack; Table Rock – Den’s Country Meats; Franklin – Franklin Locker; Ulysses – The Butchery; and Lindsay – Melcher’s Locker.
Due to staffing difficulties, many processors are not accepting deer this year, so hunters should call to check availability before hunting. This includes non-HHH processors.
Hunters pay no processing costs for deer accepted by processors for this donation-driven program.
The HHH program is funded solely by tax-deductible contributions. Ground venison is distributed by charitable organizations to Nebraskans in need. Hunters should first talk with processors but may keep antlers, head and cape and donate the rest of the deer. Processors accept only whole deer in good condition to ensure a good yield of pure ground venison.