Turkey numbers remain high even after January's devastating ice storm. The resulting ice cover didn't last long enough to impact turkey populations.
"The damaging part of ice storms, for turkeys, is that it physically prevents birds from feeding," explained Dobey. "That period of ice cover, while it seemed long to us, from a wildlife perspective probably wasn't long enough to cause an impact on survival."
Last fall's mast (nut) crop, moderate in some areas and good in others, may impact where hunters find birds this spring. In areas where trees produced a lot of acorns, hunters should target the woods where nuts can still be found on the ground. Turkeys will be more scattered in areas that didn't produce as many nuts. Hunters should concentrate on fields in those locations.
Hunters who plan to hunt public land can learn a lot from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's online Telecheck results, which show public areas with the highest turkey harvest. Go to fw.ky.gov. Telecheck results from last spring's season show several areas in the western half of Kentucky, such as Peabody Wildlife Management Area and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, that posted high turkey harvests.
"As far as locations in general, the Green River Region has the highest production on a statewide basis," said Dobey. "They have plenty of habitat, agriculture and they have great reproduction every year. That's reflected in the harvest."
Tony Black, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's regional coordinator in western Kentucky's Purchase Region, said hunters should also check out Pennyrile State Forest in Christian, Caldwell and Hopkins counties.
"There are more than 16,000 acres there," Black said. "Pennyrile is a pretty good place to hunt."
Black cautioned hunters that wooded areas will be more difficult to navigate this year, as the ice storm left behind low-hanging branches and debris.
"Be careful in the woods this season," he said. "A lot of our areas still have broken branches hanging in the trees."
Marrowbone State Forest and Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland and Metcalfe counties is a newly opened southern Kentucky area. It holds a good population of turkeys and is open under statewide regulations for the spring hunting seasons.
The Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky continues to be a productive area to turkey hunt. With fewer forest openings and more mountainous terrain, this area will give hunters a workout.
"You may do more walking, but it's beautiful scenery, and there is low hunting pressure considering the amount of land," Dobey said.
For complete spring turkey hunting regulations, pick up a copy of the 2009 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Spring Turkey & Squirrel, available wherever hunting licenses are sold.