2023 Turkey Hunting Regulations

Reporting Changes

Telecheck Requirement

Starting from the 2023 spring season, all turkey harvests in Nebraska must be reported via Telecheck, either by telephone or internet. This reporting process must be completed within 48 hours of harvest but no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of any portion of the season. Additionally, reporting must be done before the turkey carcass leaves Nebraska.

Mobile Permits

Mobile permits must be canceled and checked immediately after the harvest of the turkey.

Permit Limits and Quotas

  • Personal Permit Limits: All hunters are limited to a maximum of two spring permits and one fall permit.
  • Spring Permit Quota for Nonresidents: The quantity of spring permits available for sale to nonresident hunters is limited to 10,000.

Bag Limits

  • Spring Season: One male or bearded female turkey per permit, with a daily bag limit of one turkey per calendar day.
  • Fall Season: The bag limit for all hunters during the fall season is one turkey.

Season Dates

  • Fall Season: Shortened to Oct. 1 - Nov. 30.

Baiting Restrictions

  • Baiting Illegal: It is illegal to create a baited area on lands owned or controlled by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Check-In Requirements

  • Telecheck for Turkeys: Turkeys harvested in Nebraska must be checked in via telephone or internet within 48 hours of harvest but no later than 1 p.m. on the day following the close of any portion of the season and before the turkey carcass leaves Nebraska.
  • Mobile Permits: Mobile permits must be canceled and checked immediately after the harvest of the turkey.

Hunting Regulations

Shooting Hours

  • Spring and Fall Seasons: Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. It is unlawful to take or attempt to take any turkey perched in a tree before sunrise.

Hunter Attire

  • Spring: Hunter orange is recommended.
  • Fall: Turkey hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest, and back during the November firearm deer season.

Hunting Methods

  • Archery: Hunters must use archery equipment with specified arrow or spear characteristics.
    • Legal archery equipment includes longbows, crossbows, hand-thrown spears, recurve bows, and compound bows.

Hunting Area

  • Permits are valid statewide, except on state and federal sanctuaries or refuges, unless otherwise authorized.

Tagging Requirements

  • After harvesting a turkey, the hunter must punch or notch the permit tag, showing the date the bird was taken. The entire permit must be kept with the permit holder and/or turkey at all times.

Baiting Regulations

  • It is illegal to hunt within 200 yards of a baited area. A baited area is considered baited for 10 days following the complete removal of all bait.

Possession and Transportation

  • Only the successful permit holder may possess all or part of a turkey. Transportation regulations specify how the turkey must be kept until consumption or arrival at the permanent home of the possessor. The breast meat may be removed from the bone but must remain as two entire halves. Proof of sex must be maintained for spring season birds.

Gift Regulations

  • Anyone may receive as a gift any part of the turkey with a provided statement of the gift, including hunter and recipient information.

Youth Mentor Requirements

Accompaniment Guidelines

  • Youth Under Age 12: Must be accompanied while turkey hunting.
  • Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate: Those using this certificate must also be accompanied.
  • Accompanying Person Criteria:
    1. Must be a licensed hunter age 19 or older.
    2. Successfully completed hunter education if aged between 19 and 29.
    3. Not accompany more than two holders of an exemption certificate simultaneously.
    4. Must be in unaided visual and verbal communication with the hunter/hunters being accompanied at all times.

Unlawful Methods and Acts

Unlawful Methods

  • Use of the following is unlawful:
    • Electronic calls.
    • Live decoys.
    • Visible laser or light-projecting sights.
    • Baiting.

Unlawful Acts

  • It is illegal to:
    • Trespass on private land; hunters must get permission to access private land.
    • Party hunt; every hunter must shoot his or her own game.
    • Hunt any game with a rifle within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling or feedlot, and with all other equipment within 100 yards, unless permission has been granted by the owner or tenant.
    • Drive or disturb game birds or game animals with or from any aircraft or boat propelled by power or sail.
    • Harvest or trap any game bird from a vehicle.
    • Waste game.
    • Spotlight from a vehicle or vessel while in possession of a firearm or bow and arrow.
    • Dig, cut, or destroy natural or planted vegetation on any state-owned or controlled area.
    • Cause game birds or game animals to depart from a game reserve or game sanctuary.
    • Use electronically amplified imitations of bird calls, including records, tapes, compact discs, and digital audio files, to take game birds.
    • Sell or trade the meat of any game bird or game animal.
    • Communicate the location of any game animal or game bird by radio or other electronic device to or from any aircraft, vessel, vehicle, snowmobile, or other conveyance one day before or during the open season.
    • Have or carry any shotgun having shells in either the chamber, receiver, or magazine in or on any vehicle on any public roadway.
    • Shoot from any public highway, road, or bridge, including the traveled surface and the right-of-way, whether on foot or from a vehicle.
    • Attempt to shoot any bird, fish, or other animal from an aircraft.

Game Violations

  • Fines and penalties vary based on the severity of the violation and the species involved.
  • Liquidated damages may be assessed and are set by the Nebraska Legislature as replacement costs for wildlife taken illegally.
  • Liquidated damages can apply to each animal taken illegally.
  • For a complete overview of specific laws and regulations, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.
  • Report game violations to Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers toll-free at 800-742-7627.

Invasive Species Awareness

Overview

  • Definition: Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens causing harm to the economy, environment, or human health.
  • Impact on Wildlife: Interference with recreation opportunities, reduction of desirable wildlife forage, alteration of thermal and escape cover, affecting water availability, and reducing vegetation biodiversity.

Prevention Measures

  • Pre-Hunting Inspection:

    • Inspect and remove all plant parts, animals, mud, and debris from gear, pets, and vehicles.
    • Dispose of debris on-site.
  • Firewood Usage:

    • Only burn locally sourced firewood to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer.
  • Contact Information:

    • For more information, contact Allison Zach, Nebraska Invasive Species Program Coordinator at invasives@unl.edu or visit neinvasives.com.

Where to Hunt: Public Access Information

Nebraska Public Access Atlas

  • Published each summer.
  • Guide to over 1.2 million acres of publicly accessible lands.
  • Available in hard copy and digital formats.
  • Displays private lands open to public access and other state, federal, and conservation partner lands.
  • Obtain a copy wherever hunting and fishing permits are sold across Nebraska.
  • Digital and interactive versions available at OutdoorNebraska.org/PublicAccessAtlas.

Publicly Accessible Lands: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Properties

State Wildlife Management Areas

  • State-owned or managed areas.
  • Hunting and trapping allowed in season, unless posted otherwise.
  • Portable tree stands restrictions from Feb. 1 through Aug. 15.
  • Camping allowed unless otherwise posted.
  • Fires allowed in designated areas.
  • Propane, gas stoves, and charcoal grills allowed.
  • Target shooting allowed unless prohibited.

State Recreation Areas

  • Open to hunting from the Tuesday following Labor Day through the end of the spring turkey hunting season.
  • Prohibited within 100 yards of public-use facilities.

State Parks and State Historical Parks

  • Some allow limited managed hunting opportunities.
  • Special regulations apply, and hunting access permits may be required.

Other Publicly Accessible Lands

Waterfowl Production Areas

  • Federally managed lands open to public recreation.
  • Camping prohibited.
  • Nontoxic shot required, with other special regulations.

U.S. Forest Service

  • Federally managed lands with varying regulations.
  • Most open to hunting unless posted otherwise.

National Wildlife Refuges and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Federally managed lands with specific regulations.
  • New rules for NWR lands listed in 2020 to expand hunting opportunities.

Natural Resources District

  • Local government-owned lands with special regulations.
  • Managed by NRDs or Game and Parks.

Conservation Partners

  • Lands owned or managed by organizations like Platte River Basin Environments, Pheasants and Quail Forever, and Ducks Unlimited.
  • Check with organizations for special regulations.

Open Fields and Waters Program

  • Private lands open to walk-in hunting, trapping, and fishing.
  • Program provides financial incentives to landowners allowing access.

Other Public Access Programs

  • Platte River Recreation Access Program.
  • Passing Along the Heritage Program.

Private Lands

  • Most hunting occurs on private land.
  • Trespassing is prohibited by law.
  • Get permission before hunting or trapping on private land.

Closed Lands

  • Hunting not allowed in state wayside areas, hatcheries, reserves, state refuges, roadways, or highways unless otherwise posted.

State Refuges

  • Closed to hunting, except as noted.
  • Landowner permission required for specific areas.

Red Paint Marks Indicate Closed to Hunting

  • Landowner or tenant may post property for hunting with written permission.
  • Vertical lines of at least 8 inches in length and 3 inches in width.
  • Marks should be visible and placed at each field entrance.
  • Marks not more than 100 yards apart.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.