“The Best Turkey Hunting Destination in the United States.”
Those are bold words, especially for a governor to boast about his own state. But that’s exactly what Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska officially declared Wednesday when he signed a proclamation to that effect.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Jim Douglas and District 3 Commissioner Mick Jensen joined the governor at the state capitol for the signing event April 6. The claim is based off a survey in which 90 percent of Nebraska’s responding turkey hunters said they had a satisfying experience when hunting in the state.
Several factors do make Nebraska an attractive state for turkey hunters. The state is home to three subspecies (Merriam’s, Eastern, and Rio Grande), so those in search of a turkey slam can knock out several pieces of the puzzle with minimal travel. Those with young children can purchase a youth license for only $5, and turkey season lasts an impressive 68 days in the spring for gun hunters — even longer for bowhunters.
Combine all that with a fall season that spans 139 days and it’s no wonder 13,651 out-of-staters visited Nebraska to hunt gobblers in 2015. In total, there were 43,665 turkey permits sold that year, not including another 7,267 youth permits.
The state has a large incentive to please its hunters. Turkey hunting brings in an average $848 million to the economy each year. To ensure the maximum amount of hunters can participate, Nebraska has more than 400,000 acres of public hunting land scattered across the state, with turkey hunting opportunities available in all of its 93 counties. Whether it really is the Shangri-La of turkey hunting is subjective, but turkey hunters should certainly consider it when they plan their hunting destinations.
What say you? Any SCD readers hunted in Nebraska? Was it deserving of a proclamation to its greatness? Leave a comment below and let us know.