WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 31, 2014, 09:44 AM

Small harvest in Fargo’s turkey hunt

FARGO – Turkeys were added to Fargo’s in-town bowhunting program last year, but hunters didn’t exactly gobble up the new offering.

By: Erik Burgess, Forum News Service, INFORUM, Forum News Service

FARGO – Turkeys were added to Fargo’s in-town bowhunting program last year, but hunters didn’t exactly gobble up the new offering.

With a delayed and shortened season for hunting the birds, only three turkeys were harvested, according to a report from Fargo police Lt. Gene Anderson, who oversees the city’s wildlife management program.

Turkeys were added to Fargo’s in-town archery hunting program last year because they became a nuisance in the winter of 2012-13, when about 100 of the birds invaded north Fargo neighborhoods.

In his report, Anderson said lengthening the schedule for turkey hunting could make for a more successful season next fall.

Last fall’s turkey hunt was supposed to start in September but was delayed to mid-October due to miscommunication with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. In-town deer hunting began in late August.

The small harvest could also be because turkeys were a new offering, Anderson said. When in-town deer hunting first began, those harvest numbers were also low, he said.

“As the participants returned year after year, they became more proficient at harvesting deer during the urban hunt,” Anderson’s report states. “It is reasonable to assume we will experience a similar increase in harvest as participants gain experience with turkey pattern activities.”

Anderson recommends that the City Commission keep turkeys in the program for 2014-15, but change the season dates and hours to be identical with the deer hunt. He said the Game and Fish Department has already approved the request.

The commission will look to approve the recommendation today . In a memo to the commissioners, Police Chief Keith Ternes recommended they approve the new schedule.

Forty-five turkey permits were available last year – 20 in a south Fargo region and 25 in north Fargo – but there were only 24 total turkey hunters, Anderson’s report shows. Five turkeys were shot at, with three being harvested.

A total of 236 turkeys were reported spotted, but Anderson said this number could include the same bird being counted multiple times.

Overall, there were 45 deer permits given out and 45 deer hunters last season; 25 were successful and 20 were not, the report states.

A total of 50 shots were taken, and 38 deer were harvested: 30 does and eight fawns. Seven deer were hit but went unrecovered.

Anderson proposes the turkey and deer hunt this season run from noon Aug. 29 through a half-hour after sunset on Jan. 31.

Like last year, 25 deer and 25 turkey permits will be available in Region One, the area along the Red River between 16th and 35th avenues north. There also would be 20 deer and 20 turkey permits available in Region Two, an area along the river between 21st and 58th avenues south.

Legal shooting hours run concurrent with Game and Fish Department regulations – a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Participants in the city’s wildlife management program must pass an archery safety course, obtain a permit from the city and obtain a special archery license and tag from the state Game and Fish Department.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518