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Idaho Fish and Game

Turkey Controlled Hunt Applications Due February 15

The deadline for submitting applications for spring wild turkey controlled hunts is rapidly approaching. February 15 is the last day to apply, so those of us who have put it off are running out of time. Hunters can apply through license vendors, at Fish and Game offices and on the department Internet web site at or by calling 1-800-544-8685. A fee of $6.50 per applicant is required and successful applicants will pay a $6.50 permit fee in addition to the turkey tag fee. This application period is for spring controlled hunts. The Fall 2001 hunt will be a general hunt for the first time. Turkey seasons and hunting rules for all of 2001 are included in the wild turkey booklet available now at vendors, Fish and Game offices, and on the department web site. I expect most turkey hunters will be pleased to see the new format for controlled turkey hunts. In the past, two separate controlled hunts were held prior to the general season. Hunters were placed in the position of guessing in February which week long controlled hunt in April would have the best weather. The hunts had only a few weekend days, so an applicant had to anticipate which week would afford the most time off work to hunt...and to plan around Mothers Day and Easter and other family days. In short, it was very complicated to pick which hunt to apply for. The 2001 Panhandle season format includes a controlled hunt which opens on April 15, which is two weeks before the general season. However, the hunt then continues throughout the entire general season closing on May 25. Much of the guesswork about weather and work schedules etc are no longer a concern, making the controlled hunt tag a much more desirable option than it previously was. There are 525 permits available, and I expect they will be popular. A hunter who does not draw the controlled hunt tag will have the general season from May 1 through May 25. A second tag can be purchased to hunt the latter part of the general hunt from May 10 through May 25. The second tag may be purchased by anyone including those who were drawn in the controlled hunt drawing. Are there many turkeys to be hunted? Turkeys continue to expend their range and numbers of turkeys continue to grow. However, many are found on private land. This is the time to be talking to landowners on whose property you hope to hunt. Some landowners are tired of cleaning up after turkeys, and therefore welcome all hunters. Other landowners limit the number of hunters they allow. Asking now might provide more opportunity when this winter gives way to spring and the gobblers are gobbling from the treetops at daybreak. I can't wait.