North Dakota's Fall Turkey Season Set

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North Dakota's fall turkey season is set with 4,630 licenses available to hunters, according to Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department.

This year's figure is down 20 percent from last year. However, 1,300 additional licenses may be used early this fall in specific hunting units if turkey reproduction is exceptionally good this spring.

Harvest and population data from hunting units in the southwest and in two units in the central part of the state indicate turkey numbers have decreased substantially due to poor production and chick recruitment from 2008-2010.

"However, above-average snowfall the last three winters and normal rainfall this spring has greatly improved habitat conditions in much of the state," Kohn said. "Turkeys will benefit from this improved nesting and brooding habitat. If weather isn’t a detriment, the improved habitat conditions could result in better production in many parts of the state this summer."

An experimental hunting season will continue for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department once a person first obtains a permit from USDA-ARS.

An experimental turkey bow hunting season will continue within the city of Bismarck to help control a growing population of birds in residential areas. A maximum of 25 licenses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are licensed to bow hunt deer within the city. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck once a person has a valid city archery permit.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2011 because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season extends from Oct. 8 through Jan. 8, 2012.

Prospective hunters, including gratis applicants, can apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, Paper applications will be available in mid-June from Game and Fish Department offices, county auditors and license vendors.

Applications are also accepted at the department's toll-free licensing line, (800) 406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made over the phone.

Applications for the fall season must be postmarked no later than July 6. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery. Nonresidents can apply for fall turkey licenses that are still available following the first lottery.