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Hunters bag 11,324 turkeys

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outdoors Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL - Preliminary harvest numbers show that the 2012 spring turkey harvest of 11,324 is the third-highest ever, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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"Minnesota's turkey population largely has rebounded from the severe winter of 2010-2011 and last year's cold, wet spring," said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program and populations manager. "These resilient and productive birds provided hunters with more opportunity."

Hunters purchased 42,563 licenses this year, down from the 45,923 purchased in 2011. The 2010 spring turkey harvest was the highest on record. That year also had an early spring. Last year, spring season hunters harvested 10,060 turkeys, down significantly from the 2010 spring harvest of 13,468.

"I suspect license sales were down this year partly because of last year's poor spring season," Merchant said.

Turkey zone consolidation from 80 zones to 12 gave hunters more options to hunt. The 2012 hunter success rate was 27 percent.

Wild turkeys were extirpated from Minnesota around 1900. Re-introduction efforts have been incredibly successful and wild turkeys thrive throughout the non-boreal forest portion of Minnesota.

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