ND Outdoors: Spring turkey hunt

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BISMARCK, ND – The application deadline for a spring turkey license is February 16th. For the third year in a row, spring turkey hunters will have more hunting opportunities in North Dakota.

“There are 7,647 licenses, and that’s 635 more than in ’21. We added 10 units this year. We left 10 the same. We lowered in one, Unit 3 around Devils Lake and then Unit 21 down in the Southwest, that’s Hettinger and Adams County. The Turkish people just aren’t supporting the spring harvest down there yet,” said RJ Gross, North Dakota’s upland game and fish biologist.

There is a rule change for the spring 2022 turkey season.

“Handguns are no longer legal firearms for spring turkeys. We continue the safety movement that we did last year. No muzzleloader rifles. And it’s not just a North Dakota thing, it’s national. It’s a shotgun-only season, you can still use archery gear, but only shotguns, including muzzle-loading shotguns, no larger than a 10,” Gross added.

The spring turkey season is different from the fall season. In spring, during their mating season, hunters will summon turkeys as they stalk and vocalize to attract female turkeys.

“It’s a season only for bearded turkeys. Sometimes chickens can have a beard. You know that 10% of the chicken population can have a beard. And we just do that, you know, that’s recreation, people target those grown, mature toms. It’s compared to our case, which is our population control, where you can shoot chickens, jakes, toms,” Gross said.

Youth hunters aged 15 and younger are guaranteed a nationwide Spring Turkey Day for the first time.

“It’s a great opportunity to take a kid out, put them in a blind next to a bait, listen to the toms feeding in the trees and watch them come in strutting and dancing. It’s a great opportunity to get a kid out,” Gross said.

The spring 2022 turkey season starts on April 9th ​​and lasts until May 15th.

To apply for a spring turkey license, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov

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