Military veterans could get a shot at Camp Ripley's turkeys next spring if a special hunt proposed by the DNR becomes reality.
The hunt would be the first turkey hunt at Camp Ripley and would take place May 3-4.
"The special hunt would be open to 20 disabled veteran hunters and their partners," said Beau Liddell, DNR area wildlife manager at Little Falls. "The special deer hunts have been a success, so we expect a turkey hunt could generate similar interest. There is the option of expanding the hunt in future years."
The DNR and the Department of Military Affairs would run the hunt. The National Wild Turkey Federation-Wheelin Sportsmen and the St. Cloud Veterans Administration Hospital would administer it. Hunters with permanent disabilities and are armed forces veterans would be eligible to apply. All disabled hunters would be accompanied by an able-bodied partner who would not be allowed to hunt.
Disabled hunters would be allowed to take one bearded turkey, only during the special hunt and only at Camp Ripley. Hunters would be allowed to use legal shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns and archery equipment.
Interested hunters would not apply through the regular spring turkey hunt lottery but apply directly to one of the sponsoring organizations that would select participants. Permits and licenses issued for this hunt would be separate from those issued during the regular spring lottery.
"The number of wild turkeys harvested is expected to be small," Liddell said. "The disabled hunt would not affect permit levels for the regular spring hunt that occurs outside Camp Ripley."
Turkey populations on the military installation have increased dramatically and are healthy at this time, Liddell added.
Comments on the proposed hunt should be submitted by July 30 to Beau Liddell, DNR area wildlife manager, 16543 Haven Road, Little Falls, MN 56345; phone (320) 616-2468; or e-mail email@example.com.
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