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More permits result in record spring turkey harvest

Providing hunters of all ages more opportunities to harvest wild turkeys resulted in the highest spring turkey harvest on record, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

"Although spring's favorable weather generally contributed to increased harvest, much of this year's increase can be attributed to DNR increasing the number of available permits by 32 percent," said Eric Dunton, DNR wild turkey biologist. "More permits created more opportunities."

During the spring 2010 wild turkey season, hunters registered 13,467 turkeys, an increase of 10 percent from the spring 2009 season. Hunter success averaged 29 percent, which was below the five-year average of 32 percent.

There were more spring turkey permits available in 2010 because permits for hunting during the last two time periods were available over the counter, and the number of permits made available for those time periods increased from 10,582 in 2009 to 22,250 in 2010. In addition, a new permit area was created north of Brainerd.

Youth were a significant segment of the 2010 spring turkey hunt. Youth participation increased 69 percent, from 5,024 permits purchased in spring 2009 to 8,490 permits purchased in spring 2010.

This 69 percent increase is linked to a 2010 change expanding youth hunting opportunities by allowing youth age 17 and younger to purchase a turkey permit over the counter rather than applying through the lottery.

In 2010, 51,312 hunters applied for 55,982 permits, with 46,548 of those permits issued to firearms hunters and 2,910 issued to archers. In 2009, 57,692 hunters applied for 42,328 permits, with 36,193 of those permits issued.