More autumn turkey areas open

Thousands of permits still available for fall turkey hunt

Madelia, Minn. – Hunters who want to try turkey hunting in the
fall in Minnesota have never had more opportunities.

There are a record number of permit areas open – 67 – and a
record number of permits – 9,330 – for the season, which runs Oct.
14-18 (A season) and Oct. 21-25 (B season).

Last fall, turkey hunters shot a record number of birds –
1,187.

“This is the second year in a row that we have really increased
the number of areas open to fall turkey hunting,” said Eric Dunton,
DNR wild turkey research biologist in Madelia.

As of Monday, more than 1,800 permits remained in 42 permit
areas. Anyone who wants to hunt can buy one of the surplus
permits.

The increases to permits and permit areas is part of the DNR’s
overall management plan for turkeys.

“We have taken a pretty conservative approach – first and
foremost, we’re protecting turkey populations and making sure we
have a good, stable turkey population, then opening them up for
spring hunting,” Dunton said. “Generally, we let the spring season
run for several years. Once we are comfortable with that, we take a
look at opening up a fall season in the area.”

The DNR added 18 new permit areas from 2007 to 2008, and 17 new
permit areas from 2008 to 2009.

The number of permits available also has jumped dramatically. In
2007, there were 4,490 permits available. More than double that
number are available this year.

During the past two seasons, about 24 percent of the hunters
have been successful in killing a turkey during the fall. The
long-term success rate average for spring hunters is about 34
percent.

The ideal success rate is above 30 percent, but rates between 20
percent and 30 percent are acceptable, Dunton said. If success
rates are 20 percent or below, agency officials would take a look
at reducing permit numbers to decrease harvest, he said.

As turkey populations become established across the state, most
areas that offer spring seasons also will offer fall seasons. There
might be exceptions in the southwest and western parts of the
state, where the availability of habitat limits populations, Dunton
said.

“When you look at the areas that aren’t open this fall, they are
generally in the western and southwestern parts of the state,” he
said.

To check for the permit areas where permits are still available,
visit the DNR website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/

licenses/lotteries/

turkey_fall.html#Surplus.

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