Novice Turkey Hunters Can Register for Mentored Hunts in Minnesota
On a spring morning, a novice turkey hunter holding a turkey call tries out a newfound skill of imitating the yelp of a turkey hen. From the field edge, gobbling ensues and a dark shape approaches. With the advice of a mentor in mind, the hunter holds still to avoid alerting the curious bird.
Scenes like this play out each spring across Minnesota during mentored turkey hunts that give youth, adults and families opportunities to learn under the guidance of National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteers. This year, the mentored hunts take place Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17.
“Novice turkey hunters can gain valuable knowledge from time afield with experienced mentors,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The intent of these hunts is for first-time turkey hunters to gain the skills necessary to harvest a bird.”
The deadline to apply for the hunts is Monday, Feb. 15, and applications are available on the wild turkey hunting page.
The hunts for youth, adults and families are open to those who have purchased no more than one turkey license in a previous year and have not harvested a turkey. Hunters must have a valid firearms safety certificate and must be 12 years old on or before April 16. Youth from 12 to 17 must have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them for all activities. If there are more applications than available mentors, hunters will be selected in a lottery.
A hunt orientation is required and orientations are scheduled at various times and locations around the state. The cost for the orientation ranges from $5 to $10. Hunting licenses are free for 12 year olds; $5 for ages 13 through 17; and $26 for hunters 18 and older.
“The DNR and NWTF have cooperated for 14 years on these mentored hunts, and over that time we’ve introduced thousands to the sport of turkey hunting,” Kurre said. “We enjoy hearing about one-time novices completing the circle and returning to the program as mentors for others.”
Participation in the hunts is only restricted by the number of volunteers and private lands that are available. Anyone interested in providing turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts should contact a NWTF chapter online from the National Wild Turkey Federation page. Those who allow use of their land for recreational purposes without charge are protected from related legal claims by Minnesota law.
More information about turkey hunting and mentored hunts is available on the DNR’s wild turkey hunting page.