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Turkey Regulations

Checking reminder, other recent changes

Checking – As of 2023, all turkey harvests must be reported via Telecheck. Turkeys must be checked in by internet at or by phone (844-279-4564) within 48 hours of time of kill and no later than 1 p.m. the day after the season closes and before the carcass leaves the state of Nebraska.

Personal permit limits – All hunters are limited to a maximum of two spring permits.

Permit quotas – The quantity of spring permits available for sale to nonresident hunters is 10,000.

Daily bag limit – A hunter may harvest no more than one turkey per calendar day during the spring season.

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

Hunting Area – Seasons are valid statewide, except on federal and state sanctuaries or refuges, unless otherwise authorized.

Legal Hunting Methods

  • Shotgun Season – Hunters must use a shotgun with shells that contain shot size 2 or smaller.
  • Archery Season – Hunters must use archery equipment (long bow, recurve bow, compound bow, crossbow or hand-thrown spear) with arrows or spears that have a sharpened hunting head with a blade of at least 7/16-inch radius, or a blunt (bludgeon) head with a diameter of at least 9/16-inch.

Spring Turkey Permit – A spring turkey permit allows the take of turkeys with archery equipment during the archery season and with a shotgun during the shotgun season. A person may have up to TWO spring turkey permits. No qualifying person may have more than one landowner permit in the spring. Permits must be signed by the permit holder and may not be transferred, loaned, copied or duplicated.

Bag Limit – One male or bearded female turkey per permit. A hunter may harvest no more than one turkey per calendar day during the spring season.

Shooting Hours – 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Before sunrise, it is unlawful to take or attempt to take any turkey perched in a tree.

Habitat Stamp – Any resident age 16 or older and all nonresidents who hunt turkey in Nebraska must have a valid Nebraska Habitat Stamp, except that landowner permit holders do not need a habitat stamp. Only one stamp is needed for all hunting of any species in a calendar year. Residents who hold a veteran or senior permit do not need to purchase a habitat stamp to hunt turkeys. They must carry their veteran permit or a senior permit while hunting.

Hunter Orange – Not required for the spring season.

Minimum Age to Hunt Turkey – There is none in Nebraska.

Hunter Education – Hunters age 12 through 29 must have completed firearm hunter education when hunting with a firearm or air gun. Bow hunter education is not required for bow and arrow hunting of turkeys.

Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate – An Apprentice Hunter Education Certificate provides a novice between the ages of 12 and 29 an opportunity to try hunting and receive help from an experienced hunter before completing Hunter Education. A hunter using this certificate must be accompanied at all times while hunting by a licensed adult age 19 or older. This certificate may be purchased twice – in consecutive years – in a person’s lifetime for $5 each time. It expires on Dec. 31. Applicable hunt permits are required.

Accompaniment – The following turkey hunters must be accompanied:

  • Those under age 12.
  • Those using an Apprentice Hunter Education Exemption Certificate.

The accompanying person must:

  • Be a licensed “experienced” hunter age 19 or older.
  • Be certified in hunter education if he or she is between the ages of 19 and 29.
  • Not accompany more than two holders of an exemption certificate at one time.
  • Be at all times in unaided visual and verbal communication with the hunter/hunters he or she is accompanying.

Baiting – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission amendeded a baiting regulation in June 2021 to make it illegal to hunt any big game animals or turkeys within 200 yards of a baited area. An area is be considered baited for 10 days following the complete removal of all bait. A baited area is any location where grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay, minerals (including salt), or any other natural food materials, commercial products containing food materials, or by-products of such materials that may attract big game or turkey. The use of scents alone, normal environmental conditions, standard farming and ranching practices, forest management, wildlife food plantings, orchard management, or similar land management activities do not constitute a baited area. It is illegal to create a baited area on lands owned or controlled by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Unlawful Acts

  • Hunting on private land without permission.
  • Hunting turkeys within 100 yards of an occupied dwelling or feedlot without specific permission for that purpose.
  • Shooting from the right-of-way of a public road.
  • Having a loaded shotgun (magazine included) in a vehicle while on a public road.
  • Using slugs in shotguns.
  • Using electronic calls, visible laser or light-projecting sights, or live decoys.

Tagging – Immediately after a turkey is taken, the hunter must punch or notch the permit tag showing the date the bird was taken. This automatically cancels the permit tag. This permit must be kept with the permit holder and/or turkey at all times. When the turkey is not with the permit holder, the entire permit must be attached to the turkey.

The mobile turkey permit allows a hunter to cancel the permit once a turkey is harvested. If a hunter has a mobile permit, a turkey may be left unaccompanied by the hunter only if a document bearing the hunter’s name, permit number and time and date of permit cancellation is kept with the carcass.

Transportation – It is unlawful to possess any turkey unless the legs, thighs, and breast remain together until the bird is consumed or the bird arrives at the permanent abode of the possessor. The breast meat may be removed from the bone but must remain as two entire halves. Birds taken in the spring must have proof of sex consisting of: 1) the legs with spurs naturally attached; 2) the beard naturally attached to the breast; or 3) the detached beard with at least 1⁄4-inch of skin remaining at the attachment site and kept together with the leg, thighs and breast.

Possession – Only the successful permit holder may possess all or part of a turkey. Anyone may receive as a gift any part of the turkey if a statement of such gift is available to inspect. The statement must include: hunter’s name, telephone number, permit number, species and quantity of each, signature of donor, name of recipient and date of transfer.

Carrying a handgun – Big game and turkey hunters may carry a handgun, with a barrel of no longer than 5 inches, while pursuing game with bow and arrow or muzzleloader. Any take or attempted take of wildlife with the aid of the handgun, other than for the immediate protection of human life, is prohibited.

Determining Turkey Age


Tail: Adult feathers are of equal length.

Adult Tail

Wing: In adults, the ninth and 10th primaries are rounded and barred.

Adult Wing


Tail: Juvenile turkeys have two middle feathers that are longer than the others.

Juvenile Tail

Wing: In juveniles, the ninth and 10th primaries are pointed and indistinctly barred at the tip.

Juvenile Wing

Hunter Survey

Following each season, hunters who provided email addresses when they purchased their permits may receive an email survey that is used to determine hunter success and total harvest. Those receiving surveys are asked to reply promptly. It is important when buying permits online that hunters use an updated email address. View survey results at