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Illinois hunting: Spring turkey season down

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turkeybeard.jpgThe cold wet spring

put a downer on Illinois' spring turkey season.

Here's the word from the IDNR:

Hunters Bag 14,133 Birds During 2013 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season

Cold and wet weather greeted turkey hunters for much of the season

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 14,133 wild turkeys during the 2013 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth seasons. The 2013 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 15,941 in 2012. Hunters took a state-record 16,605 turkeys during the spring season in 2006. Youth hunters took a second-highest season preliminary total of 923 birds, down from the 2012 record of 1,300 turkeys harvested.

Four new counties were opened for spring turkey hunting in Illinois for 2013 - Ford, Douglas, Kane and Lake. This brings the total of counties open for spring turkey hunting to 100 of Illinois' 102 counties.

Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,494 wild turkeys during all seasons in the South Zone, a decrease from the harvest of 7,006 last year in the south. The North Zone total of 7,639 wild turkeys compares with last year's total of 8,935 in the north. During the 2006 record year, harvests were 6,530 in the south and 10,075 in the north.

"Many hunters commented on the cold and wet weather making hunting very difficult," said Paul Brewer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wild Turkey Project Manager. "Breeding activity was delayed, and gobblers were not very responsive for much of the season."

As an example, in Jo Daviess County, typically one of the leading counties in spring turkey harvest, there was some rain or snow every day of the first five-day season segment. For all five seasons combined (32 days) in Jo Daviess County, there was rain or snowfall on 20 days of the season, while wind gusts exceeding 20 mph on 21 days, as well.

Statewide, the month of April was the fourth-wettest April on record in Illinois.

"Cold and wet springs are typically not good for turkey production, and we have experienced those conditions for six of the last seven years," Brewer added. "The long term key in improving wild turkey populations continues to be habitat management, particularly restoration of open oak woodlands for nesting and brood rearing."

The 2013 Spring Turkey seasons were April 8-May 9 for the South Zone and April 15-May 16 for the North Zone. Youth Spring Turkey Seasons were March 30-31 in the South Zone and April 6-7 in the North Zone.

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2013 were Jefferson (411), Pope (360), Marion (344), and a tie for fourth with Randolph and Wayne (333). The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (552), Pike (396), Fulton (328), Macoupin (293), and Adams (290).

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 20, 2013 5:19 PM.

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