Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Mixed reviews for 2002 turkey hunting season

Staff Writer

Altura, Minn. With the 2002 spring turkey season completed,
early harvest totals indicate a slight reduction in the number of
birds harvested compared to last year. Although official numbers
are yet to be determined by the DNR, speculation and harvest totals
from a limited number of registration sites show a drop-off from
last season.

The early stages of the season started well as weather
conditions were ideal for hunting. Most registration stations saw
harvest numbers at, or slightly above the previous year for the
first two weeks of the season.

“The weather really dictates the state’s turkey harvest,” said
DNR Wild Turkey Specialist Gary Nelson. “It didn’t surprise me to
see a strong harvest early in the year.”

The latter stages of the season were a different story. Strong
winds, rain, cold temperatures, and even some snow hindered hunter
success in many areas of the state.

The end result of a slower mid and late season harvest could
mean an overall decline in the number of birds taken from last
year.

Not all of the nearly 200 turkey registration sites have turned
in their totals quite yet, but Nelson suspects to see a lower
harvest total this spring.

“Based on the numbers we’ve already seen and what I’ve heard
personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be down a bit,”
Nelson said. “I think with the overall weather we had during the
season, a drop wouldn’t be a huge surprise.”

Nelson’s speculation could be correct based on what a few of the
state’s more noted registration areas are reporting.

At Mauer Brother’s Tavern in Elba, a noted gathering spot for
turkey hunters in southeastern Minnesota, 276 birds were registered
this spring. That’s down from 304 turkeys last season.

“Weather patterns changed so much during the season,” said
associate Nancy Roberts of Mauer Brothers. “It was really tough on
the hunters this year.”

Similar declines were represented at registration stations in
Red Wing, Caledonia, and throughout central Minnesota. The
difference in the number of birds taken wasn’t a huge drop, but
possibly enough to show an overall decline from last season.

“Based on the weather, I’d still say it was a good season,”
Nelson said. “The turkey population is in fine shape, so the drop
wasn’t because there’s a lack of birds.”

Nelson was also quick to point out that there were no incidents
or accidents in the field this season. This was especially
encouraging since there was an increase in the number of permits
awarded for the spring season. Last year there were three reported
hunting accidents during the spring turkey season.

“I’ll take fewer birds and less accidents any year,” Nelson
said.

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