Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

April 29, 2002

Gobbler hunting becomes reality

Back in the early '90s or maybe even the late '80s the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources began transplanting wild turkeys into our area and into others areas with appropriate habitat in Minnesota.

Most of the turkeys came from southeastern Minnesota where a good wild turkey population was in place.

At that time the project was kind of an experiment. Nobody was really sure if the transplanted turkeys would adapt, take hold, and survive.

Needless to say, today the transplanted wild turkeys have more than survived. They have adapted well to our area and have thrived in areas of good habitat.

Looking back again, I can fondly remember two transplants I was involved in.

One was in a heavily wooded area south of Litchfield. In that area, the turkeys have done well. The other was in an area, just south of Lester Prairie. This transplant was mostly funded by Les Kouba and National Wild Turkey Federation. A sign identifying the site stands in the area today and can be seen just off McLeod Co. 9.

In that area, the turkeys have done very well. The population has grown, expanded in range, and it's common to see turkeys in that area.

Other transplant areas included a few in Wright County on the north fork of the Crow River, and a few more in the Kimball area.

For the most part, the project has been a complete success. In our area today, wild turkeys can be seen on a regular basis, and hunting opportunities do exist.

For the first time that I know of or can remember, this column has included a photo of wild turkey harvested in the area, an 18 1/2-pound gobbler taken by Leonard Kieser of Winsted. He called the turkey in while hunting on the South Fork of the Crow River Thursday morning. The turkey actually hopped the river in response to Kieser's call.

Also, I know of another wild turkey that was harvested near the north fork of the Crow River.

This season five permits were issues for each spring season in our area. Maybe next year or in upcoming years that number will be higher.

Hunting or not, it's great have the bird as neighbors and know the wild turkey transplant project is a wildlife success story we can all be happy about.

Outdoor notes

­ The trapshooting season at the Lester Prairie Sportmen's Club is off and rolling and this year, the club has 40 teams participating, the highest number ever in the 25 plus years of trapshooting at the club.

­ The Waverly Sportmen's Club trapshooting season, I believe is set to start in early May.

­ The Minnesota fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 11, less than a few weeks away.

­ High winds and cold temps put a damper on area fishing last week and slowed down the spring crappie action. Look for the crappie to pick up with warmer weather and calm days. Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake reported lakes Ann, Howard and Washington have been giving up a few spring crappies.

­ Get your dog checked for heartworm and put on a heartworm preventive medication.

­ Look for fishing action on the Crow River to pick up as the water level drops and the current slows down. Several anglers have reported excellent fishing for catfish on the river.

­ Good luck to other area wild turkey hunters.

­ Take a DNR certified firearms safety training class this spring. The course teaches a lot more than just firearms safety. For example, the group currently taking the class at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club recently had sessions on black powder hunting, archery, duck boat safety and waterfowl.

­ Take a kid fishing - you will have fun, and so will he or she.

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