There is a young lad at my church I’d like to take turkey hunting this spring, so today I was perusing the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) website, making certain I understood the regulations governing youth hunting, and I learned some information about youth hunting in Kansas I did not know.
Any young person in Kansas 15 years old and younger can hunt with nothing more than a youth permit for the species they are hunting, but must be supervised by a licensed adult 18 or older. A youth spring turkey tag in KS is only $7.50. By law, a youngster in KS is eligible to take Hunter’s Education as young as 11 years old, but is not required to have completed Hunter’s Ed. until age 16. Also, age 16 is when KS youth are required to have an adult resident hunting license, and to purchase adult permits and tags. Also noteworthy is the fact that 16 year olds in KS can still participate in special youth hunts even if they possess adult licenses and permits. So to sum this all up, 16 is the magic age; at 16, KS youth must have completed Hunter’s Ed., and must begin purchasing adult hunting licenses and adult permits. If they are 15 or younger they can still hunt under direct supervision of an adult 18 or older, and all they need is a youth permit for the species they are hunting. Kids 12 or older can hunt by themselves if they have completed Hunter’s Ed. and have the required permit.
April 1 – 12 is set aside in KS for Youth and Disabled turkey hunters only, and the KDWPT website lists 31 special youth-only turkey hunts around the state during that time frame. I have tagged along on a couple of these spring youth turkey hunts and they are very well orchestrated and lots of work is done ahead of time to scout birds, build or erect blinds, etc. The kids are gathered together the night before to check permits and pattern shotguns, and the guides for the hunts are always local hunters that know the area and the birds there, and they will go out-of-their way to try to help each youth hunter harvest a turkey. To view the list and get the application, go to ksoutdoors.com, click on “hunting,” then “special hunt information,” then click near the top of the page to view the entire list of special spring turkey hunts. When the page of special hunts opens, you can use the boxes at the top to narrow the list to “youth hunts” only. The application deadline is February 29, so don’t delay to get a spot in one of these special youth turkey hunts.
Every kid in Kansas who wants to hunt wild turkeys should be able to do so. There are plenty of turkeys, plenty of opportunities for them to hunt and plenty of experienced turkey hunters that could each take a young hunter with them, so we should be able to accomplish that goal. What say you fellow turkey hunters, can we each take a kid hunting with us this year as we continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors?
Steve can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.