The state of Minnesota is offering a unique opportunity for kids this spring. The weekend of April 18 and 19, the Department of Natural Resources and local chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be conducting a turkey hunt for youth. Young hunters who are successful in the lottery for these tags will be able to hunt with an experienced turkey hunter on private land.
It’s a great opportunity that I read about yesterday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The deadline for applying is 4 p.m. today and I scrambled to call as many people as I could think of. There are a total of 300 tags available and, as of yesterday, only 150 kids had applied. However, I talked to Mike Kurre from the DNR today and he said a flurry of applications was coming in today. Still, he thinks kids could have a 50 percent chance or better of getting picked.
There are three eligibility requirements: 1. Youth must be from 12 t0 17 years of age, 2. They must be first-time turkey hunters in Minnesota, and, 3. They need to have a firearms safety certificate.
My friend, Bernie Schwab, has a son, Dan, who fits all three criteria. I called him last night and he was able to submit an application for Dan today. Hunters must pick a specific geographic zone in which to apply, but Kurre told me the DNR will make every effort to fill all available slots, even if it means moving kids who didn’t get picked in one zone to another zone.
The goal is to get as many kids out into the field that weekend as possible. He said it’s also possible that more volunteers may step forward to offer their guiding services, which could open up even more spots for kids. If that happens, or if there are not as many applicants as spots, Kurre will then accept late applications.
It was fun talking with Kurre on the phone about the youth turkey hunt. As the DNR’s hunting and angling mentoring program coordinator, it’s his job to help get kids into hunting and to provide adults who can guide and teach them. This hunt is an excellent way to accomplish that goal and I hope to participate someday. I have taken my two oldest boys out turkey hunting and it would be a thrill and an honor to take out someone else.
For more information on the youth turkey hunt, contact Kurre by phone (651-259-5193) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/harr/youth/turkey.