Jeremy's first turkey ever. A Kansas Rio Grande. Then his second, below.
Set-Up Not Run & Gun
Kansas spring turkey season has been distinguished by many traveling turkey hunters as open land hunting with the set-up (relocate if necessary) and call technique more effective than run and gun.
Kansas turkey habitat in the eastern part of Kansas is timbered creek bottoms, ridges, crp grass and cropland that supports large turkey populations.
Traveling west in Kansas the habitat becomes more open and the turkeys are concentrated in smaller pockets around the creek bottoms. The flocks are spotty. But the number of birds is very impressive, especially in the remote areas of central and western Kansas where there is very little human activity.
Low Turkey Hunter Pressure
The success rate with our spring wild turkey hunters in Kansas is high.
Many Kansas hunters attribute the high success ratio to less hunting pressure combined with the the Kansas regulations allowing to harvest two birds in one day.
It would seem Kansas with its two species of birds, long 6 weeks season and all day hunting where two birds in one day may be harvested would make Kansas the destination of choice. The contrary is the way it is. Probably so do to the many magazine articles written about the nation wide superiority of other states.
Another first turkey.
More Hunting Land
The turkeys in Kansas 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. The next day might be 2 miles down the creek.
Early in the 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 the season is difficult to call birds off the flock. Scouting is important to become familiar with the roost, strutting and feeding areas to setup ambush.
Over the years, many of our self guided Kansas turkey hunters have had the opportunity to harvest 2 toms at the same time. Mostly during the early phase of the season That is a new dilemma to the hunter that has never hunted a state where 2 birds may be harvested in one day at the same time. Choosing to do so makes for a great memory and the end of the season. Harvesting one tom early and then being selective for a big bird for the second may leave that second tag unfilled.
Kansas Turkey Hunting Distinction
Kansas turkey hunting does allow for a greater distinction in turkey behavior through the spring breeding season due to the long 8 week season.
During the early phase of the Kansas season the primary feeding areas are overgrown stubble fields, green wheat and pasture. Burning pasture in Kansas is common during the month of April. This can be an advantage as well as a temporary disadvantage to the turkey hunter. If the field or pasture is burned it takes a couple of days or a fresh rain for the birds to return to the fields. Fresh green sprouts from burned pastures attract turkeys to feed. That along with the dead bugs left behind from the burn.
As the breeding season progresses the flocks slowly start to break up. They move to the pastures, crp and crop fields surrounding the creek bottoms for the hens to lay eggs and nest. This changing Kansas pattern continues up to the late part of the season. Later the 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.
Choices Of Where To Hunt
MAHA do it yourself hunters have an abundance of private lease land acreage in multiple regions of Kansas. For both eastern and Rio Grande turkeys. Once the turkeys make their move from the timbered creek bottoms to more open terrain with smaller patches of timber the early hot spot is now a late part of the season cold spot. Along with changing movement during this later phase of the season the birds seem to respond to a call and come to decoys more frequently than the early phase of the season. Add to this the dynamic most turkey hunters, especially in Kansas, are early part of the season hunters anxious for a hunt. Late season sees far less hunter pressure in Kansas.
The last couple weeks of May is a time when the gobblers aren't very vocal. They are own the prowl looking for hens. Especially mid-day and mid-afternoon. Many of our Kansas hunters have used this phase of the season to just get out and unexpectedly find their selves coming home with 2 good birds in the bag.
Kansas spring turkey hunting with MAHA is a long season. There is a lot of land and a lot of Eastern and Rio Grande turkey hunting opportunity.
Future turkey hunter in his early training.
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Mid-America Hunting Association
Spend your time Kansas turkey hunting rather than hunting for a place to hunt!