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DNR aims to encourage local food lovers to gobble up more wild turkey

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There's a new push to eat local, with more consumers choosing to consume food produced near by.

Now the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to encourage more turkey on the table--wild turkeys that are harvested by hunters. A typical wild turkey might yield five or six pounds of meat.

MPR News reported that a representative of a new DNR program came to the demonstration kitchen at the Seward Community Co-Op in Minneapolis to teach people techniques to hunt for them. The DNR's Jay Johnson said co-ops have promoted deer and turkeys "among people who take an active interest in where their food comes from — and who are willing to take up a bow or a gun."

The DNR website notes that the wild turkeys were first introduced in Minnesota in 1973. In the ensuing years, the number of birds has increased dramatically and flocks of them have become nuisances in some communities. Last spring the Star Tribune reported that Minnesota's turkey hunt has become an annual rite of spring for some 40,000 hunters, who bagged more than 10,000 birds in 2013.

"Turkey hunting doesn't require a dog or a lot of equipment and the kills are relatively easy to butcher and cook," said Josh Dahlke of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The DNR is offering an adult mentored turkey hunt at five locations around the state later this spring. It aims to get first-timers fired up for bagging their first bird.

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