North Dakota Reduces Number of Spring Turkey Permits

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The state Game and Fish Department has proposed 7,135 wild turkey licenses for North Dakota's spring hunting season, down 165 from 2008.

The 2 percent decrease from last year's record high is a result of poor turkey production in 2008 – mostly in the badlands units – because of wet weather during the peak of the hatch. As a result, turkey numbers are lower going into this spring, and several units in western North Dakota have fewer licenses. In addition, Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) will remain closed due to lack of birds in the unit.

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for the regular hunting season in a specific unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

In addition, the 2009 spring wild turkey proclamation provides the National Wild Turkey Federation with one turkey license, valid in any open unit, for the 2009 spring season. The license is to be raffled or auctioned, and all proceeds are used for wild turkey conservation in North Dakota.

Online applications for the spring season will be available Jan. 28. Prospective gobbler hunters can apply online, or print an application, at the Game and Fish Department website, Applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409.

Application forms will also be available at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices by Feb. 2. The deadline for applying is Feb. 11. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight that day.

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. The spring turkey season opens April 11 and continues through May 17.