Spring Wild Turkey Hunt Application Deadline

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All resident Minnesota wild turkey hunters interested in hunting this spring must apply electronically no later than Friday, Dec. 3, at any of the 1,800 Electronic License System (ELS) agents at businesses across the state. A nonrefundable $3 application fee must be paid at the time of application.

This spring’s wild turkey hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons between April 13 and May 26 in 60 wild turkey permit areas.

More hunters than ever will be able to pursue Minnesota’s wild turkeys this year, as an additional 4,300 permits will be available in the lottery for 2005 spring turkey season.

The decision to increase permits, which is supported by the National Wild Turkey Federation, was based on current hunter densities, hunter satisfaction and the amount of turkey habitat available.

"There's no question that our wild turkey population can withstand more hunting," said Bill Penning, Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) farmland wildlife program leader. "But we don't want hunters to feel crowded in the woods. "With the additional permits, hunter density will increase from one to about 1.6 hunters per square mile of turkey habitat, still well below the three to four hunters per square mile common in southern and some Midwest states."

Hunters will be asked for the first time this year to state a second choice in the last three seasons if they aren’t successful in the lottery for their first choice. If a hunter is successful in the lottery for second-choice and purchases a license, they will lose their preference points for future drawings.

Hunters who are unsuccessful in the second-choice drawing or choose not to purchase a second-choice tag will not lose preference points for future drawings. They will be eligible to purchase a surplus turkey permit, which are sold, on a first-come, first-served basis in mid-March.

Also new this year is an archery spring turkey license for residents and nonresidents. Archery spring turkey licenses may be purchased for the last two time periods only for any permit area with 50 or more applicants. Applicants who are successful in the spring permit lottery are exempt from the spring archery license.

All wild turkey hunters seeking to hunt in spring 2005 must obtain an application booklet at one of the ELS agents or an application worksheet on the DNR Web site under wild turkey hunting at www. dnr. state. mn. us/hunting. The application booklet contains maps of open wild turkey permit areas, permit quotas, dates and an application worksheet.

The application worksheet should be filled out in advance to ease completion of the application process at an ELS agent. Turkey hunting licenses are made available by a preference system drawing.

A special landowner-tenant preference drawing for up to 20 percent of the permits is also a part of this system. Starting this year, licenses issued under this special drawing are restricted to land owner or leased by the license holder. Successful applicants in the drawing will be mailed the 2005 Spring Wild Turkey Hunt Book by Feb. 15.

For more information, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).