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Fall turkey hunts end in KS

(MSC News)--The fall turkey hunting season is canceled in Kansas, with a release from state wildlife officials citing declining populations at state and regional levels as the reason.

The release calls it a "difficult decision" that was reached by members of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission "after hearing compelling recommendations from staff over the course of four public meetings."

The hunting season's end begins this fall.

Kent Fricke, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks small game biologist, in the release, says the trend of a declining population, as noted over the past 15-years, is not unique to Kansas, saying that "states across the Midwest and Southeast have experienced similar patterns in turkey populations.”

Though far fewer turkey hunters participate in the fall season than in the spring in Kansas, wildlife biologists said it remained an important component of overall harvest, with Fricke saying "the estimated statewide fall harvest of turkey was less than 500 birds in 2022."

The release explains that over the past several years, Commissioners have approved other preventative recommendations to reduce the impact of the fall season on turkey populations. In 2017, Commissioners voted to reduce the statewide bag limit from four birds to one bird, while in 2019, fall turkey season dates were reduced from 123 days to 41 days.

According to the release, state wildlife staff continue working diligently to obtain as much data as possible in hopes of one day reversing declining population trends. One such example is a new research project set to begin in Kansas in January 2024 to examine wild turkey populations and ecology to inform state harvest and habitat management.

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