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Public Input wanted on Proposed Changes to Spring Turkey Hunting Season

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news release

Input sought on changes proposed to spring turkey hunting season

(Released October 26, 2015)

Spring turkey hunters would get simplified season options and expanded hunting opportunities under a proposal by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to make several changes to the turkey season in time for spring hunting in 2016. Input can be given on the proposal at the wild turkey management page.

“To help build this proposal, we heard from turkey hunters at four ‘Talking Turkey’ sessions this year and looked at results of a 2014 survey of adult turkey hunters,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations and regulations manager. “The proposal aims to increase turkey hunting opportunity while maintaining a safe and quality hunting experience.”

The proposal includes changing the existing season structure to five one-week time periods followed by one slightly longer time period ending on May 31 each year. The initial season opening date would remain set at the Wednesday nearest April 15. Hunters would still be allowed only one bearded turkey. In the past, the spring season consisted of six five-day periods and two seven-day periods, with a lottery for spots in the first three periods. No changes are being proposed for the fall turkey season. Other significant proposed changes include:

  • Hunters who do not harvest a bird in their first one-week time period could hunt the final time period for a second chance to bag a bird.
  • Licensed archery hunters could hunt for the entire season, start to finish.
  • Lottery time periods would be reduced from the current first three time periods to just the first two week-long time periods.
  • Each season contains at least one weekend.

“We still want to hear from people who want to comment on this proposal, and the public’s input can still affect the final season framework and hunting rules,” Merchant said. Anyone who wants to provide comment on the proposal can do so through Sunday, Nov. 8. The complete proposal and a comment form can be found at the DNR’s turkey management page.

Comments can also be sent to Minnesota DNR, Box 20 Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020. More information on turkey hunting can be found at the DNR’s turkey hunting page.

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Completed my survey. Moving closer to an open season. Seeing the way the statewide flock has endured several difficult winters, I think it will be possible to have an open season in the next decade. Hopefully MN pulls its head out of the sand and allows more hunting for all. 

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Turkey hunting needs to keep the number of permit holders relatively small to ensure more quality hunting and limit the potential for leasing (less access),  

Archery season should be one week for the draws or the balance of the season.   Open season the last week is fine ... most people will have moved on to fishing and golf.

These changes likely will not increase the amount of turkey hunters in Minnesota.  Most all hunting has reached a total peak and are now declining with aging population and a more urban population.

Minnesota DNR needs to realize that quality of the hunt vs time and money spent is a governing factor and many MN hunters leave the state for a better and less crowded experience... DNR has and will continue to view total license sales as the primary goal.

The complete liberalization of seasons that PowerStroke desires would create too much competition and crowding in a state such as Minnesota.   Even turkey rich states such as IA and WI realize that.

Then again I do most of my turkey hunting on private land ... just know that any year that will change as landowners get old, move away, or the land becomes the next housing development.


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I agree that an open season would not be a good thing. Many would deny access to private land if they can hunt the entire season.  Without that access, Hunter numbers would most certainly decrease.  FWIW, the NWTF still backs the permit system now in place for the earlier time periods.

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I tend to agree with Brittman and Donbo.  I like the way things are right now.  I have had pretty decent luck getting permission to hunt turkeys but I think I could kiss most of that goodbye if they went to an open season.  As it is, certain groups usually hunt certain seasons and we all respect it.  The landowner can easily manage it by saying "This group has A season and the next group has C season."  It would be a major pain for him if he had to try to schedule everyone with it being wide open.  If more turkey hunting took place on public land I'd be all for it, but as it is now, that's not the case.  I definitely think it would be a step backwards as far as the quality of the hunt is concerned.

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I am certainly in the same boat with Brittain and company.

I do like the week long season idea.  I would prefer if the draw seasons stay at 3 just to keep lottery numbers being condensed even more with only 2 draws.

I kinda like the current set up, but in the end if the experience stays a quality one, I will roll with what is given me.  I love hunting turkey, as long as I get to, I will be happy .

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