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Mid-America Hunting Association
Kansas spring turkey season article as just a brief introduction to what is offered.
Tranquility of having several places to hunt. Several spring flocks available. Hunt the hunter’s schedule. Gaining a satisfaction of having hunted enough at each trip’s end.
Kansas spring turkey season has been distinguished by many traveling hunters as open land hunting. Set-up (relocate if necessary) and call technique more effective than run & gun.
Habitat in eastern Kansas is timbered creek bottoms, ridges, crp grass and cropland. Flocks readily scouted. Much roost options. Plenty of water. Grain fields of soybean/corn become prevalent. Pastures, hay fields more isolated.
Traveling west in Kansas habitat becomes more open. Turkeys concentrate in smaller pockets around creek bottoms. Flocks are spotty. Wheat predominates with increasing pasture. Corn, soybeans on irrigated land.
Spring season success rate in Kansas is high. Limited hunter pressure is credited. More non-resident licenses are sold than resident. Local rural populations continue to decline as children move away from farm life. Small family farm operations continue to decrease with rise in corporate, employee based farms. All adds to what many describe as easier hunting. Additive is Kansas’ long spring season, easy to acquire tags (2), low cost compared to other states motivate many to Kansas when free time is limited.
Kansas turkeys seem to roam a larger range. This makes their patterns and roosting areas harder to pin down. A flock may be seen in one area one day. Come another day might be 2 miles down a creek.
Early spring season the birds are still in flocks. It is not uncommon to see 5 to 10 toms traveling with a dozen to 15 hens. This phase of season is difficult to call birds off a flock. Scouting is important to become familiar with possible roosts, strutting, feeding areas to setup an ambush.
An opportunity to harvest 2 toms at the same time is a special day. Mostly occurring during early season That is a new dilemma to some who have never hunted a state where 2 toms may be harvested in one day at the same time. Choosing to do so makes for a great memory. But, an end of someone’s season. Harvesting one tom early then being selective for a big tom for his second may leave a second tag unfilled. Self guided hunters get to choose having time to do so without any season day limit other than their free time to hunt.
Kansas spring turkey season hunting does allow for a greater distinction in flock behavior through from early breeding through nest sitting due to its long 8 week season.
During early spring a primary feeding areas are overgrown stubble fields, green wheat, pasture. Burning pasture in Kansas is common during April. This can be an advantage as well as a temporary disadvantage to hunters. If a field or pasture is burned it takes a couple of days or a fresh rain for green-up and birds return to it. Fresh green sprouts from burned pastures attracts them. That along with dead bugs left behind from a burn.
As breeding progresses flocks slowly start to break up. They move to pastures, crp, crop fields, surrounding creek bottoms for hens to lay eggs then nest. This changing pattern continues up to the last of spring season in late May. During this latter half of season turkeys are split between hens on nest and toms forming bachelor flocks. This reduced behavior pattern consistency then opens more of a challenge due to our large lease land holdings. Toms may be willing, hens however are otherwise occupied. An advantage to a sexy call hunter. Hen decoys gain a resurgence of use. That is after having found them. Once found work them continuously as they are not likely to repeat their local land use.
MAHA do it yourself hunters have an abundance of private lease land acreage in multiple regions. Once turkeys make their move from timbered creek bottoms to more open terrain with smaller patches of timber an early hot spot is now a late part of season cold spot. Along with changing movement during this later phase of spring birds seem to respond to a call and come to decoys more frequently than early season. Add to this a dynamic most hunters, especially in Kansas, are early part of the season hunters. Those anxious for a hunt. Late season sees far less hunter pressure.
The last couple weeks of May is a time when gobblers aren’t very vocal. They are prowling looking for hens. Especially mid-day to mid-afternoon. Many have used this phase of season to just get out then unexpectedly find their selves coming home with 2 good birds.