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Spring wild turkey hunting licenses remain in North Dakota

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota hunters who didn't land spring wild turkey licenses in the lottery drawing have a chance to try again for a permit.

More than 600 licenses remain in nearly a dozen units, according to the state Game and Fish Department. The governor's proclamation allows a maximum of two licenses, and hunters who did not apply in the first drawing also are eligible.

Remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 19. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply.

The spring turkey season opens April 12 and runs through May 18.

Turkey populations statewide are relatively stable, though population trends have changed in recent years due to changes in land use and habitat, Stan Kohn, upland game supervisor for Game and Fish, told The Bismarck Tribune.

The southeastern and western portions of North Dakota once were the hot spots for turkeys, but numbers have stabilized in those areas and the odds of getting a spring tag are best in the middle of the state, Kohn said. Unit 21, which includes most of Adams and Hettinger counties in the southwest, is closed to hunting again this year because of poor turkey production.

A lack of snow cover in most parts of the state has provided turkeys and other upland game birds decent access to food, and they should have come through the winter with few ill effects, according to Kohn.

"They really are a tough bird," he said.

The state this year made 5,880 turkey licenses available, a drop of 50 from last year. Hunters who want to apply for one of the remaining licenses can get an application through the Game and Fish website, at www.gf.nd.gov, or by calling (701) 328-6300.

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