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Minnesota Wildlife

April 15, 2020

Stay informed! Here’s a weekly summary of upcoming wildlife and habitat management activities and ways you can discover, explore and experience Minnesota’s outdoors.

turkey hunter sitting against a tree

Turkey hunting begins

Turkey hunting season is open and hunters who want to bag a tom turkey are encouraged to stay close to home. That might require hunters to make some adjustments. But this year’s turkey licenses have more built-in flexibility.

turkey feathers up close

Learn how to hunt turkeys

Hunting turkeys may be one of the most exciting things you can do in the spring woods! Want to learn how? You’re invited to attend an online course on wild turkey hunting 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, from the Minnesota DNR and National Wild Turkey Federation. Class is free, and registration is required.

a turkey target (hand drawn) with pellet holes in it

How to pattern a turkey gun

Do you have access to a safe place close to home where you can target shoot? If you haven’t patterned your shotgun yet for turkey season and are wondering how, check out this video on Facebook from Kraig Kiger, shooting sports education specialist with the DNR. And you can find other tips on the DNR’s learn to hunt turkeys page.

bear permit area map with lots of detail, also available at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear

Bear hunt applications available

Prospective bear hunters have until Friday, May 1, to apply for a bear hunting license. Applications for the 2020 season should be submitted online or via telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 3,575 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Tuesday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 18.

a black bear

Avoiding conflicts with bears

As bears emerge from hibernation, the DNR reminds homeowners to check their property for food sources that could attract bears. April is a good time to walk around your property to remove or secure anything that could attract a bear. People should remove or secure attractants such as birdseed, garbage, livestock feed, or compost to reduce potential conflict.

geese, grass and sunset

Finding public land close to home

Gov. Walz’s Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 20-33) allows people to be outdoors, engaging in activities such as walking, running, fishing and hunting. Minnesotans can continue to enjoy parks (although campgrounds are closed) and other public recreation lands. The DNR urges outdoor enthusiasts to stay close to home, not congregate when outdoors, and follow social distancing guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health.

So how can people find public land to explore close to home? One way is using the DNR’s Recreation Compass. The online mapping tool contains the boundaries of several types of public land, including wildlife management areas, state forests and parks, and scientific and natural areas, that are open for recreation.

deer in southeastern Minnesota

Culling recap for SE Minnesota

The DNR has completed its work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to perform targeted culling of deer in localized areas where chronic wasting disease has been detected in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.

Reducing deer densities in these areas reduces the risk of disease spreading, and all deer are tested to give more information about the prevalence of disease in the area. Of the 463 deer culled in February and March, seven tested positive for CWD. A map of the areas of focus is available on the southeast disease management zone webpage.

For the 2019-2020 season, including hunting, opportunistic testing and culling, CWD was confirmed in a total of 36 wild deer out of 18,540 tested. Since 2010, 88 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota. Test results, including locations of confirmed positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website.

Find hunting information

You can find the information you need about hunting and trapping regulations, harvest registration, contacting a conservation officer and pursuing a variety of species on the DNR hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting.


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