First season turkey hunters will be taking to the woods with great expectations on April 18, but probably with fewer birds to find.
What the flock lacks in numbers will be made up for by activity: The turkeys are already well into their spring courtship rituals.
The wild turkey flock in west central Minnesota saw reduced reproduction due to last year’s wet and cold spring.
Turkey production was down, perhaps by one-half in some cases, said Leroy Dahlke, wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Kandiyohi County.
There will be fewer, young birds for the taking this year as compared to previous years.
On the positive side, Dahlke noted that the mild winter has meant the turkey flock enjoyed good survivability. There will be decent numbers of older and smarter birds.
The record breaking warm weather has kicked the mating season into high gear and some turkey hens are already laying eggs. Some could be on nests as the first season gets underway, he noted.
That gives hunters some advantage, as the toms will be calling to fewer interested hens.