By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept.
From Christmas through the back side of January, I felt like I was on some kind of winter nightmare “loop of life.”
Real or perceived, it was work, blow snow, work, blow snow, sleep, blow snow, work, etc. My neighbor confirmed over coffee on a Sunday afternoon it wasn’t just me as I suspected, but it included just about everyone else in the eastern part of North Dakota.
I wasn’t alone in my exasperation and realize that save for the snowmobilers, skiers and various other winter-snow-dependent recreation, most people were ready for mid-winter break from more snow and cold.
Personally, a week or two of more seasonal temperatures, and noticing that when I was blowing snow the daylight was extending past 5:30 p.m., I smiled a little nod of acceptance that the signs of turning the corner on winter – or putting more winter behind than in front – were evident.
When the spring turkey season was set recently, that made it more of an official sign of spring. While the season doesn’t open for a couple of months, the Feb. 12 application deadline is coming up soon.
For the 2020 spring turkey season, the North Dakota Game and Fish Deparatment is offering 6,230 licenses, 205 more than last year.
Seven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2019, five have fewer and nine remain the same. Unit 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2020 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2020-21 hunting license, as last year’s 2019-20 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a general game and habitat license.
Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license. These are required licenses and Game and Fish will hold back sending turkey tags to successful applicants until those licenses are purchased.
First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for any open unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.
Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. Per legislation, an additional four spring wild turkey licenses are made available to the Outdoor Adventure Foundation and three to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Thankfully, as I type I realized the Minnesota Twins baseball spring training is also just days, and not weeks, away. No matter if the groundhog is snowed over and frozen in, or doesn’t see its shadow, my North Dakota Outdoors calendar shows the spring turkey season is set to open April 11.
Before all of that, don’t forget the deadline is Feb. 12.
And now, it’s back to shoveling, blowing and working.
Leier is an Outreach Biologist with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department.
Featured Photo: With the spring turkey tag application deadline of Feb. 12, it is likely that there is more winter behind us than ahead of us. NDG&F Photo.