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Wisconsin spring turkey hunting season starts

A tom turkey struts his stuff in a yard in Canosia Township near Duluth. Minnesota and Wisconsin spring wild turkey hunting seasons began Wednesday, April 17, and sessions run though May. Submitted photo

Spring turkey hunting seasons started Wednesday, April 17, in Wisconsin and Minnesota and will continue through May, and — good news — there's still time to plan a hunt for this year.

In Wisconsin, thousands of unclaimed permits are available for later seasons in southern zones. For example, in the southwestern quarter of the state, Zone 1, there are some 3,000 permits still available for the May 8-14 session, 10,000 permits for the May 15-21 session and 11,000 for the May 22-28 session.

Wisconsin, which has even more of the mixed woods-and-farmland that turkeys love, and which stretches far south of Minnesota (with less severe winters and more farm crops) issued 212,781 turkey permits in 2018 and hunters registered 38,885 birds, a 10 percent decrease from the spring 2017 season.

Turkeys are now common across all of Wisconsin and the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, roughly everywhere south of U.S. Highway 2 (including in urban areas) but have been moving north of that line, too, now seen frequently in and around Duluth.

The National Wild Turkey Federation helped trap and relocate hundreds of turkeys to areas of good habitat in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. That effort has stopped but the birds keep spreading out on their own, filling in niches and slowly heading north.

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