Kansas officials cancel fall hunting season for wild turkeys, citing declining populations of the bird

photo by: Shutterstock

A turkey in the wild is pictured in this Shutterstock photo.

Declining wild turkey populations have caused Kansas officials to cancel one of the state’s two hunting seasons for the bird.

The Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission has canceled the fall turkey hunting season, which was scheduled to run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 10. A decline in the number of turkeys in the wild was the primary reason for the cancellation.

“We’ve documented consistent declines in turkey populations over the last 15 years largely due to reduced production levels,” said Kent Fricke, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks small game biologist. “These trends are not unique to Kansas. States across the Midwest and Southeast have experienced similar patterns in turkey populations.”

The state will allow its spring turkey hunting season to proceed, officials said. The spring season is the more popular of the two hunting seasons in Kansas. The fall season resulted in hunters killing about 500 turkeys per year, but state biologists said even that number produced concern about population totals.

State officials said they are beginning new research to better understand why turkey populations are declining in the state. Last month, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks announced that it was partnering with Kansas State University and the National Wild Turkey Federation to conduct a Kansas-specific study of the birds.

The project will involve attaching leg bands with transmitters on many turkeys throughout the state. By monitoring the turkeys, researchers expect to learn more about nesting, habitat issues, reproduction and other factors that are threatening the survival of wild turkeys.


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