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Spring turkey hunting applications available

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Applications for the 2008 Minnesota spring turkey hunt now are being accepted wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Spring turkey hunters may apply for one of 37,992 permits to hunt a five- or seven-day season in one of 67 permit areas. Last year, spring turkey hunters harvested 9,412 birds.

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"Turkey hunters can look forward to more great opportunities this spring," said Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader. "Turkey numbers remain strong and their range continues to expand into parts of northern Minnesota."

The 2008 spring hunt will include eight new permit areas. They are:

• Area 152, Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area

• Area 156, which includes portions of Aitkin, Pine and Carlton counties

n• Area 183, which includes portions of Pine and Carlton counties

• Area 241, which includes portions of Otter Tail, Becker and Wadena counties

• Area 243, which includes a portion of Wadena County

• Area 262, which includes portions of Clay and Norman counties

• Area 421, which includes portions of Wilkin, Otter Tail and Grant counties

• Area 423, which includes portions of Grant and Stevens counties.

Hunters also should note that areas 228 and 337, which comprise much of the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, have been combined into a single area now known as area 601. The same number of permits are being offered in area 601 this year as the combined totals in areas 228 and 337 last year.

This spring's hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons. All Minnesota residents must apply no later than Friday, Dec. 7, at any of 1,800 locations where hunting and fishing licenses are sold or by telephone at 1-888-665-4236. A nonrefundable $3 application fee must be paid at the time of application. An additional nonrefundable $3.50 convenience fee will be charged for all applications made by telephone or the Internet. Nonresident hunters may apply by mail or by telephone.

Hunters also will be asked to state a second choice from the three latest spring seasons (May 11-15, May 16-22 and May 23-29). In the event they aren't successful in the lottery for their first choice of spring season, their second choice will be used. If hunters are successful in the lottery for their second choice and purchase a license, they will lose their preference points for future drawings. Hunters should not specify a second choice if they do not intend to hunt there.

Hunters who are successful for either the first or second choice drawing and choose not to purchase a tag, will lose the current year's preference point for future drawings but not accumulated preference from past years. Hunters who were not successful in either the first or second choice drawing will be eligible to purchase surplus turkey permits, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis in mid March.

Archery spring turkey licenses will once again be available to residents and nonresidents. Archery spring turkey licenses may be purchased for the last two time periods (May 16-22, May 23-29) only for any permit area with 50 or more applicants.

All wild turkey hunters seeking to hunt in spring 2008 must obtain an application booklet at one of the ELS agents or an application worksheet on the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov.

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