Turkey hunters are being asked to provide input on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' proposal to consolidate the state's 77 spring turkey permit areas into nine larger areas.
"Our turkey populations are doing exceptionally well and we no longer have a need to manage turkey on such a small scale," said Bill Penning, farmland wildlife program leader. "These changes will provide additional flexibility and opportunity to hunters."
The wild turkey was extirpated from Minnesota around 1900. Up until the late 1960s, various attempts were made to reintroduce turkeys using game farm stock. All of these attempts failed. In 1971, wild turkeys trapped from Missouri were introduced into the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area in Winona County.
The reintroduction was successful, and formed the basis of Minnesota's current turkey population. From the late 1970s through the 2000s, DNR, utilizing considerable financial assistance from the National Wild Turkey Federation, trapped and relocated more than 5,250 wild turkeys to suitable habitat throughout the state.
These efforts have been incredibly successful, and today the wild turkey population thrives throughout the non-boreal forest portion of the state.
During the growth years, it was imperative to tightly regulate hunting on a small geographical basis to ensure that populations could rapidly expand into new areas. Today this level of regulation is no longer necessary.
Impacts of consolidation
Consolidating the permit areas as show on the map above will allow increased hunting access afforded by larger permit areas and will greatly simplify administration and population management. View a larger, more detailed map, by clicking on the map above.
Permit numbers available to hunters will not be affected by this proposal. The number of permits available in the new larger permit areas will essentially be the sum of all the permits from the original, smaller permit areas contained within the new larger permit areas.
The Whitewater, Carlos Avery and Mille Lacs wildlife management areas would remain as separate turkey permit areas.
Submit your comments
Public input concludes Monday, Oct. 10. Comments will be reviewed and considered in October. A decision on the spring turkey season will be made in early November.