Doug Leier: Spring wild turkey season offers hope of warmer days on the horizon
Looking for a sign of spring? For some, it will be hearing the official opening of the spring snow goose conservation season; others will note if and when the first robin arrives.The nesting of bald eagles and the annual groundhog celebration are also on the list.
I started to notice the daylight getting longer at the end of January, even when the temperature was minus 25 and the snow was piling up.I know it was a stretch, but the later sunset gave me at least a little hope that winter was turning past the midpoint.
For many, the realistic sign will occur on Saturday April 13, when the spring turkey season opens.
If you'd like to have a license, then the first thing you must do is apply for a license. The deadline to apply is midnight Wednesday, Feb 13.
This year across the state, the Game and Fish Department is offering 6,025 wild turkey licenses for the 2019 spring hunting season, 370 more than last year.
Eleven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2018, seven have fewer and three remain the same. Unit 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2019 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
Spring turkey applicants can apply online by going to the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409. Paper applications are not available.
Again, the deadline for applying is Feb. 13.
Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2019-20 hunting license, as last year's 2018-19 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters age 16 and older must possess a small game license or combination license. These required licenses must be purchased in advance of the successful applicant receiving the turkey license.
First-time spring turkey hunters age 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for any open unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season and never previously received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.
Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. Per legislation, an additional four spring wild turkey licenses are available to the Outdoor Adventure Foundation and three to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
The spring turkey season opens April 13 and continues through May 19.