Starting this spring, hunters will have more time to get their turkey. According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, they're extending the hunting season to include more weekends.
Officials say there will be five one-week hunting periods followed by one longer hunting period. According to the DNR, Minnesota used to have eight mini hunting periods – six five-day periods, two seven-day periods – and they didn't all include weekends. Turkey hunters also had to enter a lottery to hunt in the first three periods, now there is only a lottery system for the first two.
The new changes also allow bow hunters to hunt the entire season from any zone.
Another big change, hunters who don't bag a turkey in their first period will be able the hunt the very last period using their original license. The news release says hunters will need to stay in the same zone, though.
"This will make the experience more relaxing, as snow or rain storms that could ruin the entire hunt will not be as much of a problem," said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations manager.
See the changes in detail here.
In 2016, the first hunting period begins April 12 and the last one ends May 31. People can apply for the lottery for the first two periods between December 14 and January 22.
The limit is still one bearded turkey.
Minnesota hasn't always had many turkeys. KARE 11 says the DNR started bringing birds into the state in the 1970s. Now, the station says Minnesota has about 40,000 wild turkeys.