North Dakota Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

North Dakota turkey hunting in spring focuses on Merriam's birds in the West and Eastern birds on the east side. Unlike their neighbor to the south, North Dakota doesn't allow nonresidents to hunt turkeys. Last year's harvest was 4,534 birds. Hunter success in the last few years has run a bit less than 45 percent in the spring hunt.

"Throughout the state, numbers are going to be down this year." As the Upland Game Management Supervisor, Stan Kohn has his finger on the pulse of turkey hunting in the Roughrider State. "Some of the better spots are going to be in central North Dakota," Kohn said.

"The Missouri River and its tributaries like the Park and the Cannonball are going to be the strongpoints. The James River should have enough birds to keep people interested."

Turkeys can be found in the southwest region and in the Badlands, but expect fewer birds this season. Scout in south-central from Emmons and Burleigh counties, and in the breaks of the Little Missouri south to Lake Ilo. Turkeys are also present in the valleys of the Red and Cheyenne rivers. In north-central North Dakota, turkeys can be found in McHenry, Pierce and Towner counties. In open country, stands of cottonwoods or pine trees are the keys to the success of these birds and to hunter success.

The 2014 spring season opens April 12 and runs through May 18. The bag limit is one bearded turkey. The fall season, still listed as tentative, opens October 11 and will close January 2015. Hunter education is required for hunters born after December 31, 1961. Exceptions include hunters younger than 12 who hunt with a parent or legal guardian, landowners and hunters with an apprentice license. Season information and regulations are explained in detail on the North Dakota Game and Fish web site, visit www.gf.nd.gov .

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