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Maine to start spring turkey hunt early amid stay-home rules

A full moon sets behind Hunt Mountain at the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument near Patten, Maine, Aug. 7, 2017.
A full moon sets behind Hunt Mountain at the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument near Patten, Maine, Aug. 7, 2017.Robert F. Bukaty

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is opening its spring turkey hunt early this year as part of an effort to provide more outdoor activities while the state is under a stay-at-home order.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has said outdoor activities, such as fishing and hiking, are still allowed in Maine as long as residents practice social distancing. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife said Tuesday it's moving the start of the turkey season from May 2 to Saturday.

The season typically begins with a day reserved for youth hunters, and that had been slated May 2. This year, it will happen on two days - Saturday and April 27. The main season will then open on May 2, which is two days earlier than had been planned. The season still ends June 6.

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The state is also suspending the requirement to register harvested turkeys, the department said. Suspending the requirement will allow hunters to practice social distancing after they bag a bird, the department said.

The extra days of hunting will “provide a welcome break during this unique time,” said state wildlife commissioner Judy Camuso.