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Apply soon for turkey permits

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Twelve expanded permit areas will offer wild turkey hunters more flexibility and opportunity when they apply for the 2012 spring wild turkey hunt, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said.

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"Wild turkey permit areas have been consolidated into 12 new, larger areas from 77 smaller ones," said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulation program manager. "While Minnesota's overall turkey range remains the same, larger geographic areas in which to hunt provide more choice within a single permit area."

Applications for the spring season are being accepted through Friday, Jan. 13, wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense.

The hunt will consist of six five-day and two seven-day seasons. All adult resident and nonresident wild turkey hunters interested in hunting during one of the first four time periods must apply electronically. Licenses for the last four time periods will be sold over- the-counter only.

Youth hunters 17 and younger can purchase a permit over-the-counter for any time period.

All hunters must pay a nonrefundable $3 application fee at the time of application. Nonresident hunters may apply online or by telephone at 888-665-4236 (MNLICENSE). A nonrefundable $3.50 transaction fee will be charged for online and telephone applications.

"Everyone's permit area number is going to change, so hunters are strongly encouraged to read the application materials before applying for the lottery," Merchant said.

Hunters who are not successful in the drawing may purchase surplus turkey permits, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis in mid-March. They also may choose to purchase a license over-the-counter for any of the last four time periods. Unsuccessful applicants retain their preference points.

Hunters who are successful in the drawing for one of the first four hunts 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.

The availability of archery resident and nonresident spring turkey licenses has been expanded from the last two seasons to the last four seasons. Archery licenses may be purchased for the last four hunts only in any permit area with 50 or more applicants. Licensed archers may hunt each and all of the entire last four time periods.

For more information, call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

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