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How far north do turkeys go?


Ely Lake Expert

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I live up here on the range. I see the occasional turkey that probably escaped from their pen, but I don't believe I have seen any wild ones. How far north do people actually buy licenses and hunt?

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i think little falls has a season. i do know they hunt them around new london/spicer/willmar. have seen then around talmoon sqauw lake. they were put there. locals say the biggest issue with there survival rate are vehicles.

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They are in Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes. Huntable numbers in DL; and soon in PR from what I have been seeing.

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It is my understanding that anywhere they grow corn would probably be suitable for turkey populations. They are going farther north every year, especially with our warmer winters.

For the '08 Spring Season open areas in the NE go up to Duluth. In the NW, just into Polk Co.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Quote:


It is my understanding that anywhere they grow corn would probably be suitable for turkey populations. They are going farther north every year, especially with our warmer winters.

For the '08 Spring Season open areas in the NE go up to Duluth. In the NW, just into Polk Co.


I've seen them as far northeast as Sturgeon Lake. These birds are tougher than a person gives them credit for. The mild wniters haven't hurt their cause either.

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well there is no season here but I am bout 30 miles north east of Park rapids and 25 south of bemidji and I have seen more then I can count this year. I might mention I have never seen turkeys here in 30 years. I also have seen groups of young birds so they are mutiplying.

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As far as seeing birds I've seen them near Sebeka (wadena cty) on my lease and north of brainerd.

Hunting is allowed south of a line from Duluth to McGregor and then jumps a bit going west and hits the Park Rapids area and them another county north of the Fargo area. You can see the hunt zone map on the DNR's website. FOllow the link the thread about spring applications. You can see the zones and the quotas as well as look up past success in the areas.

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I have seen turkeys north of Bigfork and figured they were probably released from somebody's pen.

Then, this summer I saw a hen turkey next to Hwy 61 by the Encampment river on the northshore, I thought that was way out of place.

redhooks

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I would say that the comment about "growing corn" is no indicator for supporting turkeys. Turkeys are forest birds and thrive as such. Alhtough the birds will hang out in ag fields and take the easy meal, they prefer mast crops like acorns and other forest nuts as well as insects and buds. They roost in trees and would rather walk a mile then fly 100ft. If there is a healthy deciduous forest with a good water source and nesting cover in the area, turkeys will do well. They were spread across this country long before people started turning over soil for large ag fields. Since their range is small and they do require cover they do not expand their own ranges very quickly so re-population efforts are very important to bringing back the turkey.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

PS,

That is true for most of the year. However, during the most winters in northern MN they rely heavily on argriculural areas for food. Whether it be the crop residue left in fields or the farmer spreading manure on the fields you'll find turkeys searching for food when it gets tough. If fact I've seen the turkeys running into the field to greet the sound of a tractor pulling a manure spreader when it's very cold and there's lots of snow depth.

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Right on Borch.

The wild turkey's range in Minnesota and other northern climates is heavily dependent upon their over-wintering success, which is, in-turn, directly related to the availability of high protein/energy food sources (among other factors like snow depth, predator populations, etc.). Corn is by far and away the most important winter food source when available, as mast crops are mostly buried, scattered, and generally much less accessible during these periods.

Perhaps this one paragraph from the MN DNR's Long Range Turkey Plan (available online here.) sums it up best:

Quote:

"Several decades of research in Minnesota have provided valuable information about the wild turkey’s requirements for life and ability to survive Minnesota's harsh winters.
Wooded landscapes, interspersed with agricultural land, are the key to healthy wild turkey populations.
Timberlands provide roosting sites and year-round cover, forest edges and openings provide cover for nesting and brood rearing. Agricultural land provides an important and reliable food source. Haroldson et al. (1998) showed that turkeys could survive winter temperatures in Minnesota provided they could find food."


A healthy population is self-sustaining they go on to say, and such populations maintain a continued presence, even on the edges of their range.

That's not to say mature timber isn't important, as its preservation is listed as one of the goals for 2025 in that same report. Furthermore, its abundance in rural parts of southern states decades ago played a large part in what kept the wild turkey from being extirpated from North America. That said, the rural south isn't the northern midwest, and their winters allow birds in these climates to more successfully forage in winter months within large forested tracts.

Some interesting research in MN has pointed out that ag. is even more important than once thought (from the Long Range Plan again):

Quote:

Quality habitat for eastern wild turkeys contains a combination of forested and open cover. Eastern wild turkeys were once thought to require only large tracts of undisturbed forest to persist. However, in Minnesota wild turkey populations were found to thrive in areas with only 20% forest habitat.


Joel

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Great reading guys!!

I guess what I was getting at is the need for the woods. EVen with all the ag fields, if there are NO woods then you will rarely find turkeys nearby. Even looking at the DNR's permit allocations, areas with minimal tree cover will have very few permits because these areas have a hard time supporting a larger population of birds.

I know I get frustrated sometimes with the way MN manages deer, but the DNR has really got their head on right when it comes to turkeys. Its always gonna be a conflict with deer, pheasants, grouse and turkey's (in the laypersons eyes) but I think our state is making a great effort to bring back turkeys and hunting turkeys for everyone.

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Quote:

Great reading guys!!

I know I get frustrated sometimes with the way MN manages deer, but the DNR has really got their head on right when it comes to turkeys. Its always gonna be a conflict with deer, pheasants, grouse and turkey's (in the laypersons eyes) but I think our state is making a great effort to bring back turkeys and hunting turkeys for everyone.


Don't overlook the National Wild Turkey Federation. The money they raise pays for most of the relocation efforts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My old man traps turkey for the DNR and they are working on a viable population in the north. Birds clear from the Rochester area are getting hauled up there. As far as how north I'm not quite sure. For some reason I want to say they have put a few clear up by Theif, or near there, but don't quote me.

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