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Expanding Horizons: Minnesota Hunters Embrace Crossbows for Enhanced Turkey Hunting Opportunities

Thayne Muthler

In Blaine, Minnesota, the spring turkey hunting season will begin in just a few weeks. This outdoor activity gained popularity during COVID-19, and with recent changes, it may attract even more young people interested in hunting.

Sam Oftedahl expressed that the previous year had a negative impact on them and the entire industry due to a lack of winter weather in the region. Due to inconsistent cold weather, sales for ice fishing gear at Capra's Sporting Goods dropped significantly. The uncertain climate greatly affected the demand for these products and had a major impact on overall sales.

Oftedahl explained that the ice was too thin for anyone to safely walk on, and it plummeted. He described it as flimsy, with a high risk of walking on it, saying that it just tanked.

A milder winter in Minnesota is beneficial because it implies that there will likely be more grouse, pheasant, and turkeys. Oftedahl believes the increase in the turkey population might help improve the situation.

Oftedahl pointed out that in the cities, you can spot these critters right in your own backyard. The population of these creatures is on the rise, as are the folks chasing after them.

Hunters attract turkeys using special calls and typically hunt with guns or bows every spring. However, this year there's a new addition – crossbows. Oftedahl believes that more young hunters will be interested in joining the sport because of this exciting change.

When it comes to turkey hunting, crossbows have remarkable attributes: precision and silence. However, their inaccuracy at times can render them ineffective. Oftedahl explained the numerous benefits of using these sophisticated weapons: improved accuracy compared to traditional firearms or longbows; reduced noise emissions that disturb wildlife less during pursuit; and enhanced stealth capabilities for greater chances of success. Using a crossbow equips hunters with unparalleled advantages over other conventional means of harvesting turkeys.

Fred Ardhoff, a turkey hunter, excitedly shared that his eldest child is planning to use a crossbow for their April hunting from the blind. Ardhoff proudly stated, "My boys have been having a blast with this for like forever. Blake bagged his first turkey when he was just seven, can you believe it? And Zachary nailed his very own at the ripe age of six."

Despite Oftedahl's awareness that certain hunters who prefer traditional methods may not choose to use a crossbow, they have been selling exceptionally well. Currently, Capra's is completely sold out of them.

"Our aim is to draw folks into hunting, be it for deer or turkey," Oftedahl stated with the goal of attracting people to hunting.

This year, turkey hunters using blinds on public land must adhere to a new rule. They are required to cover their blinds with bright orange material measuring 12 feet by 12 feet.