Indiana's 40th annual spring turkey hunting begins Wednesday statewide [April 22, 2009], and DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs is expecting results similar to recent years.
"I expect hunters to take 12,000 turkeys, plus or minus a 1,000 in 2009," Backs said.
The 2008 spring turkey harvest of 12,204 was the second-highest total since Indiana instituted turkey hunting in 1970. In 2006, a record 13,193 birds were taken.
Hunters can kill one male or bearded turkey in the spring season, which runs through May 10.
Hunters must possess either a turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp, an apprentice license, or a lifetime license. An apprentice license is available to anyone, including hunters born after Dec. 31, 1986, who have yet to complete the requirement of hunter education. All persons, regardless of age, are limited to three apprentice licenses in their lifetime.
Legal turkey hunting weapons include 10-, 12-, 16-, or 20-gauge shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns not smaller than 20-gauge nor larger than 10-gauge, bow and arrow, or crossbow.
Turkeys may be hunted one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except at all DNR fish and wildlife areas, J. Edward Roush, Mississinewa, and Salamonie lakes, where legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon CDT and 1 p.m. EDT.
All turkeys must be properly tagged and checked-in at an official turkey check station. A list of check stations is available in the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide or at wildlife.IN.gov.
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Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.