A primer on Minnesota's wild turkey hunting season

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2013 - 11:59 AM

About 45,000 Minnesotans are expected to sneak into bluffs, woodlands and prairies this spring, hoping to bag a tom turkey for the dinner table

hide

A pair of strutting tom turkeys glisten in the sunlight.

Photo: Tim Simos, Dml - National Wild Turkey Federation

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gobbling that echos through the springtime woods signals the arrival of another wild turkey hunting season — and sends hunters’ heatbeats racing. About 45,000 Minnesotans are expected to sneak into bluffs, woodlands and prairies this spring, hoping to bag a tom turkey for the dinner table.

Late spring impacts?

The slow arrival of spring shouldn’t affect hunters’ ability to bag a bird, said Tom Glines of Coon Rapids, senior regional director for the National Wild Turkey Federation. The amount of daylight, not temperatures, triggers a turkey’s reproductive activities, Glines said.

“They are strutting and gobbling already,’’ he said. “They’re doing their thing, rain or shine.’’

Turkeys congregate in flocks during winter, then disperse in spring.

“Once the snow goes away, they start breaking up,’’ Glines said.

The late spring shouldn’t have a big influence on that tendency.

Weather is a bigger factor for turkey hunters.

“If it’s cold or rainy, hunters may not sit out in the woods as long,’’ he said.

Has interest peaked?

For 25 consecutive years, the number of spring turkey hunting permits issued by the DNR increased. Then in 2011 and 2012, the numbers surprisingly fell.

Why?

“We just don’t know,’’ said Jay Johnson, DNR hunter recruitment and retention program coordinator.

For years, demand for the limited number of spring turkey permits exceeded supply. Then beginning in 2011 the DNR offered an unlimited number of over-the-counter licenses for the last four time periods. But instead of hunter numbers increasing, as expected, they fell.

Johnson and others speculate that perhaps hunters who would have applied for a license in the lottery, received one and went hunting now procrastinate because they can buy one over the counter.

“If you can buy it over the counter, you have good intentions of going, then get busy and end up just never going,’’ said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager.

Or perhaps the decline is a reflection of aging baby boomers dropping out of hunting.

Changes for youths?

  • season details

    Minnesota

    Opens April 17 and runs through May 30. There are eight five- and seven-day seasons; a lottery was held for permits for the first four seasons. Licenses for the last four can be bought over the counter. A resident license is $26; a nonresident license is $96.

    Wisconsin

    Opened today (April 10) and runs through May 21, with six seven-day time periods. A resident license is $15; a nonresident license is $60

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 86 4th Qtr 1:45
Phoenix 95
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close