Bill would establish wild turkey stamp

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

By Hunter Cloud
The Daily Leader

Rep. Bill Kinkade introduced legislation Monday to establish the wild turkey stamp upon support from the MDWFP commission and hunters across Mississippi. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Turkey Program Director Adam Butler had hoped the idea had legs last May.

Butler explained the importance of the Wild Turkey Stamp last spring as commissioners were faced with decisions to protect the turkey population. A turkey stamp would offer similar benefits to the duck stamp system which helps fund federal and state conservation projects.

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Commissioners voted in the May 2023 meeting to suspend the turkey season and expressed support for legislators to create a turkey stamp that would help fund habitat management, research and conservation efforts for wild turkeys.

“I’m tickled to death about the turkey stamp and the fact we have this amount of support,” Butler said in May. “I hope it will have legs and carry on.”

If passed, the stamp would allow MDWFP to gain a better understanding of how many turkey hunters there are. Estimates show there are about 60,000 turkey hunters, but no real precise number. HB1298 states anyone over the age of 16 must have a turkey stamp if they are hunting turkeys in Mississippi.

House Bill 1298 would allow the MDWFP commission to set the price of these stamps and determine if the stamp would be physical or electronic. All revenue from the sale of the turkey stamp would have to be used solely on projects approved by the commission.

MDWFP could enter reciprocal agreements with other states that have turkey stamps under the bill. Arkansas currently has a voluntary wild turkey stamp.

Kinkade’s bill was referred to the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks house committee.