Autumn turkey hunters on track for a good season

Madelia, Minn. – The number of turkeys harvested in the fall has
fallen for three consecutive years since 2003, but hunters this
year are on track to kill more birds than they have the past two
years.

During the first fall wild turkey season – Oct. 17-21 – hunters
killed 386 birds, which is up from 348 last fall, and 330 in 2005.
The second and final fall season is Oct. 24-28.

&#8220We thought it was a pretty good hatch this year,” said
Eric Dunton, wild turkey biologist in Madelia. &#8220We were
anticipating harvest was going to be up this year.”

Permit Area 341, one of two areas with 225 permits available
during each fall season, has seen the highest harvest so far, with
hunters killing 76 turkeys.

A total of 33 permit areas are open to fall turkey hunting, and
a total of 4,490 permits were available for the two seasons.

It rained in many areas of the state during the first season,
but hunters were successful when there was a break in the weather,
Dunton said. He predicted harvest during the second season to
increase, too.

&#8220It looks like we are going to have some better weather
conditions here,” he said. &#8220I would expect to see the same
trend, where it has increased over the last couple of years.”

The relative overall success didn’t mean hunters had a good go
of it everywhere.

At Mauer Brothers Tavern in Elba, hunters registered five
turkeys during the first season, which is down from the usual 10 or
12, said Mike Mauer.

&#8220It wasn’t very good,” he said.

While Tuesday-morning frost could help hunters during the second
season, those hunting the first season dealt with windy and rainy
conditions, except for one day that was &#8220halfway decent,”
Mauer said. Plenty of foliage remains, too.

There also was a lack of birds coming to the fields, where
hunters can split them up and wait for them to return, he said.

&#8220There are too many acorns out there and (turkeys)
aren’t coming out of the woods,” Mauer said.

Hunters last fall killed 618 turkeys, and took 681 in 2005. The
record fall harvest was 2003, when hunters killed 889 birds.

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