Media contact: Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations manager, 651-259-5220, steve.merchant@state.mn.us.

Spring turkey hunters would get simplified season options and expanded hunting opportunities under a proposal by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to make several changes to the turkey season in time for spring hunting in 2016. Input can be given on the proposal at www.mndnr.gov/turkey.

“To help build this proposal, we heard from turkey hunters at four ‘Talking Turkey’ sessions this year and looked at results of a 2014 survey of adult turkey hunters,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations and regulations manager. “The proposal aims to increase turkey hunting opportunity while maintaining a safe and quality hunting experience.”

The proposal includes changing the existing season structure to five one-week time periods followed by one slightly longer time period ending on May 31 each year. The initial season opening date would remain set at the Wednesday nearest April 15. Hunters would still be allowed only one bearded turkey.

In the past, the spring season consisted of six five-day periods and two seven-day periods, with a lottery for spots in the first three periods. No changes are being proposed for the fall turkey season.

Other significant proposed changes include:

  • Hunters who do not harvest a bird in their first one-week time period could hunt the final time period for a second chance to bag a bird.
  • Licensed archery hunters could hunt for the entire season, start to finish.
  • Lottery time periods would be reduced from the current first three time periods to just the first two week-long time periods.
  • Each season contains at least one weekend.

“We still want to hear from people who want to comment on this proposal, and the public’s input can still affect the final season framework and hunting rules,” Merchant said.

Anyone who wants to provide comment on the proposal can do so through Sunday, Nov. 8. The complete proposal and a comment form can be found at the DNR’s turkey management page, www.mndnr.gov/turkey. Comments can also be sent to Minnesota DNR, Box 20 Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

More information on turkey hunting can be found at the DNR’s turkey hunting page, www.mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey.