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Pat Reeve on Why I Love Minnesota Gobblers

ReeveTurkeys_day3We are really blessed in Minnesota. Our turkeys aren’t nearly as call-shy as the turkeys in Alabama, Missouri and some of the other southern and midwestern states, because our turkeys don’t receive a lot of hunting pressure here in Minnesota. Our turkeys are also easier to call than in many other states, and our turkeys really gobble loud. Another thing I like about hunting Minnesota gobblers is a longbeard that’s 3 years old may weigh 22-25 pounds. 

In Minnesota, we have a strange turkey season setup and different weather conditions to hunt under than turkey hunters in other states. As I'm doing this interview in late February, I just drove by a really big flock of wild turkeys. Our Minnesota season starts in mid-April and runs through the end of May. So, we can hunt turkeys when many southern states’ seasons are closed. You do have to apply for a tag. Each week of Minnesota’s turkey season is a separate season. You have to pick the week that you want to hunt, and the season lasts for five days of that week. 

In the early part of the season, hunting is usually completely different than the hunting in the late part of the season. For instance, in April, we still could have cold weather and possibly snow. The weather really affects the turkey hunting. So, people who pick the early season to turkey hunt are gambling that they will have nice weather and not that nasty cold weather that makes some hunters want to stay at home. We can get a late winter storm that moves in, and it can pretty much shut down turkey hunting season for that first or second week of April. The turkeys will return to their winter mode where they could care less about gobbling and breeding. 

But if Minnesota has good weather the first of turkey season, the gobblers still may be in bachelor groups. When you start calling, you may see 5-20 gobblers running straight to you, trying to be the first turkey to find the first receptive hen. Although having all those turkey gobblers coming to your calling at one time sounds great,don’t forget that each of those gobblers has a pair of eyes looking for danger. So, you may spook the whole flock, if you make a mistake. Often, the first or second week of the season is when you're likely to see the bachelor groups. By the third or fourth week of the season, the gobblers usually have separated. Each gobbler is trying to claim his own territory and his own harem of hens. 

I think that 2016 will be the first year that Minnesota has offered a bow season for turkeys. I've heard, but I'm not sure, that if you draw a bow tag you can hunt all season until you get your gobbler. However, whether you're hunting bow season or gun season, you can only take one gobbler per year. 

Because I've seen the work that has been done by the NWTF in helping to provide more turkeys for all of us to hunt, I strongly recommend that you join NWTF to learn more about turkey hunting from the information the organization has available.  

Day 2: Pat Reeve’s Role in Restocking Wild Turkeys in Minnesota

Tomorrow: Hunting Minnesota’s May Gobblers with Pat Reeve

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