Minnestoa Turkey And Praire Chicken Applications Are Out

Apply now for prairie chicken, fall turkey hunts

Hunters who wish to apply for one of 186 permits for the 2009 Minnesota
prairie chicken season or for one of 9,330 permits for the fall turkey
hunt must do so by July 31. Applications are available wherever hunting
and fishing licenses are sold.

Application materials and maps of permit areas for both hunts are
available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Web
site at www.mndnr.gov.hunting. Winners will be notified by mail by mid
September after applying at one of 1,800 electronic license agents
across Minnesota.

This year’s 9,330 turkey permits represent a substantial increase in
fall hunting opportunities from last year when 5,555 permits were
available, said Bill Penning, DNR farmland wildlife program leader.

The increase relates to a major expansion of fall hunting opportunities
in southwest and western Minnesota as well as higher permit numbers in
hunting areas that opened last year. In 2008, a record 1,187 birds were
harvested during the fall hunt with hunter success typically about 25

“If you’ve never tried fall turkey hunting before, 2009 is a good
year to start,” said Penning. “Permit numbers have nearly doubled
and areas open to hunting have increased, too.”

The fall turkey hunt application fee is $3. The license costs $23 for
residents and $78 for nonresidents. The $5 stamp validation has been
incorporated into the license fee; a separate stamp is no longer
required. Hunters may apply for one permit from 67 different hunting
areas that will be open from Oct. 14-18 and Oct. 21-25.

Hunters who apply for the 186 available prairie chicken permits will
have about a one-in-three chance of being drawn, depending on the area
chosen. Prairie chicken permit numbers are unchanged from last year. In
2008, 139 birds were harvest with 90 percent of hunters taking at least
one bird.

Minnesota’s prairie chicken population has increased substantially in
recent years, now standing at more than 1,600 adult males. The DNR
expects more than four times that number of birds in the fall

“Prairie restoration and protection programs have helped stabilize
the bird’s population in recent years,” Penning said. “The
restoration of a regulated prairie chicken hunting season has helped
build awareness and support for protecting and enhancing prairie and
grassland habitats.”

The five-day prairie chicken season, which will begin on Oct. 17, is
open to Minnesota residents only. Hunters will be charged a $4
application fee and may apply individually or in groups up to four.
Prairie chicken licenses cost $20.

The hunt will be conducted in 11 prairie chicken quota areas in
west-central Minnesota between Warren in the north and Breckenridge in
the south. Up to 20 percent of the permits in each area will be issued
to landowners or tenants of 40 acres or more of prairie or grassland
property within the permit area for which they applied. Resident hunters
younger than 12 may apply for a prairie chicken license.

The season bag limit is two prairie chickens per hunter. Licensed
prairie chicken hunters will be allowed to take sharp-tailed grouse
while legally hunting prairie chickens. Sharptails and prairie chickens
are similar looking species and the general closure on taking
sharp-tailed grouse by small game hunters in this area is to protect
prairie chickens. Licensed prairie chicken hunters who wish to take
sharptails must meet all regulations and licensing requirements for
taking sharp-tailed grouse.