Turkey Hunting in Minnesota

Back to All State Reports
  • C
  • 70,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 58,084

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) reports that with the exception of the heavy forest north of U.S. Highway 2, you'll find Eastern wild turkeys everywhere else in the state.

The Southeast hill country has been the classic, longtime turkey range in Minnesota since birds were re-introduced here in the 1970s, but a new stronghold is developing: the state's extensive farmland-forest-prairie fringe country in the state's central areas; roughly a wide swath from the Twin Cities north and westward.

But it hasn't been easy establishing turkeys in this state bordering Canada.

As with other states, particularly with northern states like Minnesota, the wild turkey's expansion beyond its original range is a wildlife management success story. The MDNR says Minnesota's last native turkey was spotted in 1880 before modern redistribution methods were employed.

After several re-introduction attempts starting in the 1920s, successful trap and transplant efforts began in 1971. A favorable habitat mix has pushed the wild turkey range well beyond its pre-settlement location, the MDNR says, formerly limited to southern Minnesota.

The Turkey Draw 

Minnesota is a draw state, with A-F, archery and youth seasons available by lottery. Tags are over-the-counter, online and by phone after.

The number of permits issued across all license types decreased in 2021 from 63,194 hunters in 2020 to 58,084 in 2021. 

As hunting locations go, the MDNR reports that permit areas 507 and 508 saw the greatest increase in turkey take, but 501, 503, and 510 all had near (or more) than 1,000 birds tagged. 

During the 2021 spring turkey season, 12,070 turkeys were taken. The harvest total dropped when compared to the 2020 season (13,944 birds). However, this remains the third highest season kill total for Minnesota's modern turkey hunt.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Minnesota © Tes Randle Jolly photo

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.